Monday we set out on an adventure.
Before the sun rose, we were loading buses with three classes sixth graders. Excitement permeated the air.
As the buses turned the winding roads nearing the camp, I couldn’t help but be excited too. It had been years since I had been to the Headlands Institute in Marin. I was in fourth grade and it was only a day trip.
I was worried I wouldn’t get to see Chase at all, as I would be in the girls dorm and had a group I was chaperoning. I saw him a few moments — here and there.
But it was a fantastic trip. The Nature Bridge field educators were awesome. The views spectacular. The animals wonderful!
My group’s educator was Elisa. When she wanted to get the group together, she’d blow into a little flute. It was magical.
Our first stop, was to the Ocean Lab. We touched sea stars, hermit crabs, snails, sea urchins and watched little crabs.
We grabbed our packs and headed out on a hike. We walked around the Lagoon where the cormorants sun themselves. We crossed the bridge to the beach. We talked about the beach, the sand and what the destination was. We hiked up ice plant ridge — a steep narrow path along leading to the batteries of the old military compound.
The battery is covered in graffiti, some more artistic than others. We had lunch on top of the battery.
Unfortunately, one of the girls felt ill. I volunteered to bring her back.
She slept for two hours. I had nothing to read as I figured I would have no down time.
So I grabbed my phone and played with Instagram. Finally I got her up and we all headed to the beach for a group photograph and to let the kids play on the beach.
After dinner, we left for our night hike. The light was beautiful. This night, Casey was our educator. She brought us to the top of another ridge — her listening place. You could see the Golden Gate bridge. The Point Bonita lighthouse lit the way for ships. The wind blow the cool, salty air across our faces. Casey had us close our eyes. She had us taste the air. Listen to the sounds. Slowly open our eyes and scan the horizon looking for things we hadn’t noticed before. Casey also read us two poems. It was a great hike. One the way back we saw three deer.
The next morning, we headed to breakfast. Let me tell you, the food was great. On our second day, Kalila was our leader. Again, we passed the lagoon, the beach and transversed the ice plant ridge. We dodged poison oak. Furry caterpillars were found on plants as well as the morning dew.
As we made our way to the Point Bonita lighthouse, we found harbor seals resting on the rocks below. There is a tunnel that leads to the lighthouse. Back in the day, three Chinese workers used pick axes to create the tunnel, making a foot of progress for each man everyday. It is a great feat.
To get to the lighthouse, you travel through a small tunnel dug out in 1876 by Chinese workman, who had previously worked on the Transcontinental Railroad in the Sierras. They dug a 118-foot tunnel through the rock with pick axes. Everyday, the combined efforts carved three feet out.
The wildlife is abundant in the area. Puddles show proof of this. We were treated to a bobcat sighting on our way to lunch. It was awesome! I thought they were bigger. Not much bigger than a house cat.
We headed back down the trail. More fuzzy caterpillars. A red tailed hawk rode the breeze. Once back on the beach, games were played.
We headed to the Marine Mammal Center where baby elephant seals were being treated. So many of the animals from the ocean are treated here by hundreds of volunteers and staff.
On our final day, there was a Chase sighting. I even got a picture with him! lol
Our group headed back out on the trail. Passed the lagoon. Over a hill. We answered questions that drew upon all we had learned this last couple of days.
We made a toast to everything we loved about the trip.
We met a banana slug. Some were brave enough to join the Banana Slug Club. A kiss is required.
When we finally arrived at Rodeo pond, we met Anne. She explained the BioCube. We learned how to gather specimens and what to look for. All sorts of critters were found. The new project was only a day old at Nature Bridge Golden Gate. The kids met National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager and Smithsonian biologist Chris Meyer to examine the living creatures in one cubic foot as part of a project. Here is a link to one of the videos. Pretty cool stuff.
Then it was time to leave. The kids graduated and boarded buses back to Lodi. Chase was able to get a photo with his educator, John. I think Science Camp was a huge success!
Here is a little video I took…
<p>Vinewood Elementary School experiences Science Camp at the Nature Bridges Golden Gate campus located at the Marin Headlands Institute. They saw marine and coastal animals. Learned about preserving the world we live in. Became scientist in the BioCube project.</p>