FROM THE CLASSROOM TO THE SAND, North Monterey County Middle School and Castroville Elementary students embarked on an educational journey through issues in marine conservation this week. The school district’s partnership with Save Our Shores is a part of their new summer education program, Dream Academy.
“The administrative and instructional staff in North Monterey County is dedicated and inspiring. North Monterey County is creating a summer school program that students may look forward to in years to come, recognizing that educational pursuits outside of the classroom are equally as important as a traditional setting. Staff even decorated the school with an ocean theme to fully immerse students in an ocean conservation mindset. They are thinking outside of the box, and I am so thrilled that we can watch this grow together,” says Program Director, Rachel Kippen.
Students spent a day in the classroom learning about the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and the impact marine debris can have on the ocean and created beautiful ocean-inspired art out of plastic pollution. Later that same week, students had the opportunity to attend a field trip to Moss Landing State Beach! The goal of the trip was for students to build a connection with the ocean, one that inspires stewardship for years to come!
The beach never disappoints… Students were able to spot sea otters pruning each other and also came across the remnants of a Big Skate (Raja binoculata).The skeleton sparked a conversation about the marine food web and the importance of the natural cycle of life.
“The kids were so intrigued with its spiny tail and rows upon rows of teeth,” Save Our Shores Program Associate, Michael Pollacci, explained. “It offered us an opportunity moment to talk about the importance of decomposition in nature, as well as the use of adaptations like a spiny tail.”
7th grader, Abraham also discovered a small bird vertebrae along the dunes.
“Can I take this animal vertebrae home with me?” Abraham asked Matt, Save Our Shores Program Manager.
“No Abraham,” Matt answered, “we have to leave it on the beach for the next people to enjoy…”
Abraham’s excitement didn’t waiver. “But, Matt, it’s a…masterpiece!”