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Students explore these ecosystems kinesthetically, by formulating questions, developing hypotheses and investigating their surrounding environment by hand, foot, microscope and kayak!


2 Students looking at samples

Our programs seek to both stimulate student interest in science and teach the importance of caring for the marine environment.

Camp SEA Lab Outdoor School

Science, Education and Adventure for Students!

Camp SEA Lab’s goal is to provide hands-on marine science opportunities for students that encourage deeper understanding of our coasts and ocean. Our programs seek to both stimulate student interest in science and teach the importance of caring for the marine environment. To achieve this goal, our programs apply scientific practices of the Next Generation Science Standards while following the Framework for K-12 Science Education and NOAA’s Ocean Literacy Principles.

Residential Programs

Camp SEA Lab offers 3 to 5 day residential Outdoor School programs for grades 5-8. Programs are designed to highlight the unique and diverse Monterey Bay coastline. The extended programs give students an in-depth look at coastal ecosystems including sandy beach, wetlands and open ocean habitats. Students explore these ecosystems kinesthetically, by formulating questions, developing hypotheses and investigating their surrounding environment by hand, foot, microscope and kayak!

Locations Offered

Camp SEA Lab offers residential programs at two beautiful coastal facilities:

Camp St. Francis

Located 15 miles south of Santa Cruz, Camp St. Francis is a private and secluded 15-acre site, overlooking Monterey Bay. The site can accommodate 90 students in 5 dormitories, with a secluded room for teachers or adult chaperones, for 3 day programs. There is a large dining hall, assembly hall and ample space for outdoor activities. Camp St. Francis even has private access to the beach!
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Monterey Bay Academy

Situated on 380-acre site just 17 miles south of Santa Cruz, the Academy is a remote facility that offers private beach access, overlooking Monterey Bay. The site can accommodate up to 39 participants for 3, 4, or 5 day programs. There is a large dining hall, ample space for outdoor activities including a sporting field, and classrooms equipped with marine aquaria.
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Lodging

At both locations, students reside in single-gender dormitories and are required to be under adult supervision at all times. Students and chaperones are provided beds, but should bring a sleeping bag and pillow, in addition to any other nighttime necessities. Each dorm is equipped with single-gender toilets and showers.

Meals

Camp SEA Lab offers well-balanced, nutritious, kid-friendly meals for our groups. We make every effort to provide menu alternatives for students and teachers with special dietary needs (i.e. food allergies) if we are notified of these special needs at least 4 weeks prior to arrival. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are provided for each full day of program, with the exception of lunch on day 1. Teachers, chaperones and students should come prepared on the first day having eaten a full breakfast and with a bag lunch.

Daytime Programs

Beach Exploration: Students explore the biotic community of the sandy beach habitat located at our doorsteps!

Kayaking the Slough: Students learn about watersheds and estuarine environments and their importance to the ocean and humans as they kayak along Elkhorn Slough.

Plankton Lab: Students collect and examine plankton samples taken from the ocean. They learn about ocean currents, plankton adaptations, and human impacts as they explore their samples.

Sand Crab Monitoring: The scientific method is addressed, where students learn specimen and data collection methods as well as work through processing data sets.

Other daytime options include Ocean Currents & Tides, Marine Debris, Watersheds, and Ocean Acidification activities.

Extended 4 and 5 day programs at our Monterey Bay Academy site activity options include:

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium or Seymour Discovery Center visit*
  • Whale watching*
  • Wetlands hike at Elkhorn Slough Reserve
  • Tidepool explorations

* Please call our office for details and additional pricing that may apply.

Evening Programs

Squid-Inside & Out: Students learn and explore the internal and external anatomy of the squid, and includes a calamari feast to follow!

Town Hall Meeting: Students, acting as stakeholders in a simulated town hall meeting, will dress up and represent their role in defining boundaries for a local Marine Protected Area.

Beach Campfire: Students head down to the beach and close the evening with campfire songs and stories. This is a great way to give students some focused play time.

Into the Abyss: Students will learn about deep-sea habitats, adaptations, as well as understand what techniques are used to explore this relatively unknown world.

Shark-Secrets Revealed & Night Hike: Students will get to know some of the top predators in Monterey Bay by using their sense to explore the adaptations sharks possess that make them such effective survivors.

Transportation

Schools are responsible for arranging and providing transportation to the Camp SEA Lab program facility on arrival day and from program facility on departure day. Camp SEA Lab takes care of all other off site transportation during the program.

Supervision

Schools need to provide 1 adult chaperone per every 10 students, in addition to the 1 teacher per every 30 students. Chaperones aid the naturalists during teaching time, and are the primary supervisors during free time, meals, and dorm time (throughout the night).

Cost

Please contact us for current pricing. The cost includes meals, lodging, supplies for programming, instruction, student journals, and arrangement of all program logistics. Chaperones are charged a reduced tuition cost (for each 1:10 ratio), and teachers may attend free (for each 1:30 ratio). If space is available and additional teachers and chaperones would like to attend, they will be charged the full program tuition.


Welcome to Camp SEA Lab YouTube Video

Welcome to Camp SEA Lab Video


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To schedule a program, please visit School Program Request and complete the on-line form. You will be contacted as soon as possible for available openings.

Discovery
In-Depth Look Below
Coastal Hikes
A New Way to See
Scientific Understanding

Photos of Monterey Bay Academy and Camp St Francis - buildings, dorm rooms with many beds, surrounding grounds

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