Camp Mixes Learning With Outdoor Expeditions

Sixth-graders snorkeling on Catalina during science camp.

Reading their beautifully composed essays to the school board, science camp participants Will Clark, Cromwell Anaya and Francis Pillsbury each described different aspects of their Catalina Island experience, such as learning about marine birds before kayaking out to see them, snorkeling to view the fish they read about, hiking and identifying plant life, recording everything in notebooks and dissecting squid.

Thurston Middle School principal Jenny Salberg described the success of the annual outdoor science camp for sixth graders during this past week’s school board meeting. In all 264 students, 54 parent chaperones and six teachers, as well as Asst. Principal Mike Modeer, convened on the island for an experience that trip veterans deemed one of the best ever.

“We had an amazing group of sixth graders,” said social studies teacher Carl Nelson, seven-year science camp veteran, who posted a blog and photos about their adventures for the parents. He said that the students exhibited such natural curiosity and were so engaged that “the learning that happened this year was just off the charts.”

Even the night snorkeling expedition, which usually involves some arm-twisting to round up participants was so well attended that they needed to assign more chaperones to the larger-than-expected contingent of kids. Nelson called it an educational and super-fun experience that met all the criteria for what he calls “edutainment.”

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