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Our Future Sanctuary Stewards
By Stefan Marti
Mid August marks the end of Sanctuary Explorers Camp, where young, curious kids from diverse San Francisco backgrounds come to Crissy Field to learn about the ocean and marine conservation issues. Each summer FMSA, supported by the Department of Children, Youth & their Families, offers the camp to children from SFRP Recreation Centers throughout the city, including the deaf and visually impaired children of Project Insight.
Our Instructors lead the students on a weeklong adventure up and down the coast, discovering the many creatures that live in our Sanctuary. The students explore tide pools, monitor sand crabs, visit aquariums and kayak in Richardson Bay. By the end of the camp, the 8 to 13-year-olds are junior stewards, attuned to the importance of protecting our vital oceans.
This year FMSA extended its ocean-protecting spirit into the community by hiring a few high school interns to help teach the younger children. A diverse group, the interns included Joseph Gin from the Sunset District of San Francisco, Andrena Pearson from Ingleside, and Anna Sparer from Berkeley. Exploring and discovering the local coastline, this group will pass on their knowledge to other high school students in San Francisco as well as their friends and families.
On the final week of summer camp, I sat down with these new marine stewards and talked to them about their experience learning and teaching at the Sanctuary Explorers Camp.
SM: How has this experience changed your attitude towards the ocean?
Joseph: It makes me aware of how our actions, what we eat and throw away, affect the ocean. We saw animals choking on plastic.
Anna: Working with young kids, I realized how little they know about the ocean.
Andrena: Don’t litter! Now if I see someone litter, I tell them to pick it up, and not to litter. When my Dad threw something out of the car, I made him stop and go back and get it.
SM: What is the coolest thing you experienced or learned during camp?
Joseph: It was really cool to see the kids' faces when they found things in the tide pools like crabs.
Anna: California Sheephead fish start as females and turn into males.
Andrena: That two elephants can stand on a blue whale tongue with the mouth closed.
SM: What have you learned about teaching?
Joseph: How to get a kid’s attention by signaling to them. It’s interesting to see kids from different backgrounds and neighborhoods, and how different they are from your personal life. Yet we all learn together.
Anna: That children have different needs and ways of learning. Some need extra attention. Some do better with active learning.
Andrena: Patience. Patience. Patience.
SM: What are your career goals?
Joseph: Engineering. Maybe something to do with Biology.
Anna: I want to work with the ocean. I don’t want to be stuck in an office. Maybe marine biology.
To learn more about our Sanctuary Explorers Camp and internships, contact Sara Heintzelman at 415-561-6625 x304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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