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If being a marine biologist isn't all it's cracked up to be, what similar fields can we look into? And, how to foster DD's love of the sea?

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DD12 has stated all this past year that she wants to be a marine biologist. I know she is absolutely clueless to what this entails. I'm not sure marine biology is exactly the field she's looking for, but I don't quite know the correct field either (marine ecology, maybe?). She loves swimming, the beach, and the ocean. She gets all yelly angry (complete with fire in her eyes and angry fists at her sides) when we study anything to do with climate change, the plastic ocean, generally anything that has to due with man harming sea life and the environment due to big business/greed. She has visions dancing in her head of dedicating her life to saving sea life...she just doesn't know what kind of sea life to save yet.

I would like to foster this love of the sea and move toward providing her with experiences and skills that she can use to develop a hobby (to get her away from computer games and devices), build her high school resume for college entrance, and generally develop some unique professional skills that might help her in job searches (whether they relate to marine biology or leading snorkeling tours off a catamaran in Hawaii, I don't really care...lol).

Anyway, I searched the archives and found this thread. Many people state that marine biology isn't all it's cracked up to be. What other marine-related fields can we look into? I would also like help in creating a list of experiences/skills (big and small) that we can work on. I am extremely interested in learning of all-girls residential marine summer camp opportunities. Bonus points, if there's one that caters to Girl Scouts.

Here's some things I've thought of... (By the way, we live in the Midwest, so this requires some creative thinking. We are willing to travel/plan our vacations around opportunities, though.)

Restart swim lessons and move toward becoming lifeguard certified
Look into scuba lessons
Look into marine-related zoo encounters
Look into state department of conservation aquatic education opportunities

Edited by pitterpatter
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Your plan sounds good.

 

I’m not sure if anything is all it’s cracked up to be. 

Can she attend summer programs that would help her to learn about marine biology, oceanography, or related fields?

Are there any bodies of water creeks rivers lakes in your vicinity where similar types of work would be being done?

 

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I have one like that for herpetology, who is slowly transitioning and focusing on animal behavior and cognition, as well as education and outreach. The best thing we did was to start attending conferences, which let her connect with herpetologists and ecologists and people working in the field, and she got to hear the good, bad, and ugly of various paths and tracks. She also started to realize that the ecology stuff that really gets her emotionally fired up may not be the best place for her because it DOES get her so emotionally fired up and it's just plain hard on her.

Other things we've done that might be of use:

DD did a camp at Sea World focused on careers in biology-not just marine bio, but also things like animal nutrition, behavioral training, animal rescue, etc. It was a good experience, although she found it a little frustrating because most of her cabin was a group of girls who already knew each other.

Look for state level professional orgs first-those tend to be the ones that will connect you with local fieldwork experiences. The state Wildlife and fisheries department may be an excellent resource. State and National parks often have good classes and opportunities-look for ones aimed for adults, not kids. Jpurnals are good.

Go to any interesting talks for colleges nearby. Look for freshwater biology, icthyology, herpetology (there's a decent amount of overlap-to the point that herpetologists and icthyologists do their major US conference together annually), ecology, etc.

Social media is also worth following, even if you do it as a parent and filter for your child. Dr. David Shippman @WhySharksMatter is a marine biologist who is very active on Twitter and FB, and does a lot of outreach. Sarah McAnulty @SarahMackAttack is a doctoral candidate working with squid, and is extremely active in science communication. She is the founder/creator of @SkypeAScientist, which connects students and classrooms with working scientists in the field, and is an excellent contact. She is also planning a scicomm tour to talk about squid this coming year, so you may be able to meet her in person. 

If she hasn't done the Athena's Jr Instructor Marine Bio classes, they'd be a good thing to do. She may well be beyond them, but it would let her get to know Emma, who has been on a similar path since she was your DD's age, and those classes seem to get a pretty good number of knowledgeable, passionate kids who just want people to understand them, so it's a nice, relatively inexpensive chance to talk with others who "Get it".

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Aquariums have programs run by marine biologists that she can attend in the summer where she will have opportunities to learn, ask questions, snorkel in the ocean and observe ocean life on a guided expedition with biologists etc. There are a few such programs in the west coast.

As for careers, my son's science teacher has a master's degree in marine biology. He spends his weekends kayaking in the pacific and volunteering at the rescue centers for marine mammals.

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There is an Engineering discipline I did not know existed, until several years ago, when I read an article about a woman who is an Astronaut.  She graduated in Ocean Engineering, from, I think, Texas A&M University.

There is (or was before a Hurricane) a Texas A&M University Marine museum in Port Aransas or Aransas Pass TX.  I forget which town it was in. It is East of Corpus Christi, where the ocean  going ships come in from the Gulf, to go to Corpus Christi Bay.   After seeing some of the things (huge Sea Snakes for example) that are in the Gulf of Mexico, one might have less interest in swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Congrats on the interest!

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Kayaking! That's a good and perhaps easily doable one around here. DD has canoed (on lakes) several times with Girl Scouts. So, at least some kind of exploratory youth kayaking class might be worth looking into. Or, a family class. DH would like it too. I think volunteering somewhere would be a good one too. It wouldn't be easy for us where we live, but there's bound to be some kind of short-term opportunity to explore.

15 minutes ago, mathnerd said:

Aquariums have programs run by marine biologists that she can attend in the summer where she will have opportunities to learn, ask questions, snorkel in the ocean and observe ocean life on a guided expedition with biologists etc. There are a few such programs in the west coast.

As for careers, my son's science teacher has a master's degree in marine biology. He spends his weekends kayaking in the pacific and volunteering at the rescue centers for marine mammals.

 

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She would benefit from a week long camp at the Seymour Center of the Long Memorial Laboratories in Santa Cruz, CA, and that’s a great area to vacation in.  The Seymour Center is the public arm of the marine biology department at the University of CA in Santa Cruz.  

Their summer camps are fantastic.

I have never investigated whether the Monterey Aquarium has internships or summer camps, but you can get quite an education there just studying their exhibits over a period of several days, and it’s not that far south of Santa Cruz.

I don’t know whether marine biology is a great career or not, but it can be a great avocation either way.  The Seymour Center has volunteers that staff the touch ponds, and their training in marine bio is quite extensive.  I am pretty sure that that’s something I’ll be doing if I ever retire.  

Something to consider is whether she wants to live in a marine environment.  Sounds obvious, but it’s something that I didn’t take into account enough in life.  I always always wanted to live in the mountains, but I didn’t think that was doable.  The truth is, I could have organized at least part of my education around that goal and it would have been great.  Also, I always thought it would be kind of neat to live in a lighthouse.  Luckily that one I figured out—if you live in an abandoned lighthouse, it is certainly going to be in an area of frequent miserable storms, and a place where foghorns and modern beacons disrupt the peaceful setting constantly.  Dodged a bullet for sure, LOL.  Anyway, some marine environments are often stormy and cold and overcast.  Others are usually hot, sticky, and humid. Personally, although I love visiting the coast, I don’t want to live there in NorCal.  The ground is mostly sandstone and subject to erosion and very susceptible to earthquakes.  I find the frequent overcast skies to be kind of depressing as a steady diet (grew up in San Francisco, so I really do know this for sure.)  It’s really, really important to consider what environment you’re willing to live in in making a decision that drives you into a limited number of places.

 

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She could also learn sailing and take all the boating safety courses.  I have no interest in working in that field but I do want to do the great loop someday, and sail down into the Caribbean.

We have a family friend that is a water microbiologist.  When I met him he was working for a lab in one of the state universities, then got a job with the state (in the Midwest), and after a few promotions I think he's head of the water microbiology program for the state.  I'm not entirely sure what this all entails now, but at a lower level his job was going out to state waterways and testing water.  This means looking for toxic runoff, toxic algae blooms, making sure lakes are safe to swim in, calculating how many of which fish are safe to eat from different waterways, etc. IDK if in management he's spending much time in water any more, but the family has been upgrading their boat each year.

Another field to look into is environmental engineering.  I have a couple different college friends who do this.  One of them works for a Mid-Atlantic state in management and basically oversees the other environmental engineers who issue directives on the state's EPA issues.   The other owns a private firm and is called in to give directions on how to fix a variety of issues in relation to construction.  Sometimes it's cleanup.  Sometimes it's ensuring the safety of a threatened species when developing an area nearby. 

All 3 of them make pretty good money and work reasonable hours, and at least until they were in management weren't tied to a desk.

 

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I'd recommend looking for scout based sailing opportunities. GSA has Mariners as a special interest group and BSA has Sea Scouts as a separate branch. Both of them spend some time on water based careers. If that is something that appeals to your dd, check out schools like Texas A&M Galveston Branch. They offer several marine science majors combined with the training needed to get a Third Mate's License. That opens lots of ocean based jobs both in long distance shipping and port operations. 

Actually, TAMU-G offers summer camps to high school students to explore their marine science and engineering majors. That might be a good option if you're willing to fly (or drive a looooonnnnnngggg way). There are probably similar programs available on the Great Lakes. 

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Thank you for this. Somehow I didn't know/remember about the GSA Mariners program. (Of course, DD is just getting old enough for it.) I looked it up. It's not well publicized in our council. I am going to send an e-mail for additional info. 👍 There are a couple of Girl Scout marine-related Destination trips that DD will be eligible for next summer. They are both two weeks and out of the country. Not sure whether she'll be ready for two weeks away from home by then. And, I'm a little nervous about her going out of the country without us. Something to think about.

It looks like TAMU-G offers many marine-related opportunities. Bookmarking it! Good idea about the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan area would be an easier drive/cheaper flight than Galveston.

39 minutes ago, chiguirre said:

I'd recommend looking for scout based sailing opportunities. GSA has Mariners as a special interest group and BSA has Sea Scouts as a separate branch. Both of them spend some time on water based careers. If that is something that appeals to your dd, check out schools like Texas A&M Galveston Branch. They offer several marine science majors combined with the training needed to get a Third Mate's License. That opens lots of ocean based jobs both in long distance shipping and port operations. 

Actually, TAMU-G offers summer camps to high school students to explore their marine science and engineering majors. That might be a good option if you're willing to fly (or drive a looooonnnnnngggg way). There are probably similar programs available on the Great Lakes. 

 

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My dd was also interested in that when she was younger, and she attended the Oceans and Oceans 17 summer camps held at University of North Carolina, Wilmington. They were great camps and taught her a lot about field research. They emphasize marine science over marine biology, though they have that, too, and they explore different career options. Lots of great family vacation things to do around there - great beaches and history.

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Are you near the great lakes? Not marine, obviously, but many things will overlap regarding studying aquatic creatures, plants, etc. I'd look for stuff like that, that is local, if at all possible. And yes, boating, swimming, scuba, etc. 

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If Lake Michigan is more doable, Grand Valley State University ( Allendale, MI)  has a research vessel that goes out on Lake Michigan often.  They might offer summer camps as well.

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I know it would be years down the road, but Maine Maritime Academy has a very good Marine Biology program...https://mainemaritime.edu/academics/undergraduate-programs/ocean-studies/

And a little closer to now there is the Acadia Institute...https://www.acadiainstitute.com/marine-science-camps

 

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I grew up in the Midwest and spent the summer after high school working for the Youth Conservation Corp on the Mississippi River. Both of my supervisors had biology degrees, and I learned quite a bit that summer. It’s not the ocean, but at least water related.

In Oregon, you could check out the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon State, and the University of Oregon for possible summer camps. My husband’s aunt was a marine biologist and did her graduate work at OSU.

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Keep an eye on the NOAA website. Check the usjobs dot gov website for positions that may pique her interest. I realize she's only 12, but with your resources and eyes you can open up the world to her. Just ideas. Like someone else mentioned, look into Texas A&M. They have a campus in Corpus Christi she may be interested in. It is a hard university to get in to and pricey. My daughter-in-law is graduating from the main campus this summer. Woohoo!

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Have you ever watched The Aquarium?  Dd and I are really enjoying it.  I never new there were vets who specialize in marine life.  Aquarists also have fascinating jobs.  Look at various marine institutes:  VIMS, Woods Hole, Texas A & M Corpus Christi, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, etc.

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I think it is cool that she wants to be a marine biologist at 12! That's great!

I think interests and obsessions chain to others. Even if you don't redirect her, she'll probably end up somewhere else by the time she's at college.

My 14yo son is obsessed with birding right now. He literally wakes up every morning at 6 to go to a nature preserve and bird; he memorizes bird songs and con hold his own with experts. But even now I see it chaining to other things. I've notices a lot of internet searches related to camera lenses (photography?) and he's working hard on Spanish so he can bird in South America after hearing an 18-year-old talk about how he set up a summer job for himself scouting birds in a remote part of Peru. 

I love all the ideas about Sea Scouts and such. Do you live near marine environments? I've personally lived in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. I hated one and loved the other. 😉 So there are good and bad places to be a marine biologist, IMO.

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what about a fisheries officer https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/602162/fisheries-officer-recruitment-information-package-2018.pdf

 they are at the beach every day and  out in boats , doing diving etc. they are the police of the coastal regions  and help stop pollution dumping and over-fishing. I know someone who is a fisheries officer - she absolutely loves it. She does dolphin diving cruses on her weekends off ( as in she takes tourists to see dolphins .

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2 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

what about a fisheries officer https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/602162/fisheries-officer-recruitment-information-package-2018.pdf

 they are at the beach every day and  out in boats , doing diving etc. they are the police of the coastal regions  and help stop pollution dumping and over-fishing. I know someone who is a fisheries officer - she absolutely loves it. She does dolphin diving cruses on her weekends off ( as in she takes tourists to see dolphins .

Many of them seem to be part time/semi volunteer here though.

 

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We're about six hours from Chicago, so something super worthwhile along the southern half of Lake Michigan would be doable. Something super duper worthwhile elsewhere within the Great Lakes region would be doable with greater effort. Lol.

13 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Are you near the great lakes? Not marine, obviously, but many things will overlap regarding studying aquatic creatures, plants, etc. I'd look for stuff like that, that is local, if at all possible. And yes, boating, swimming, scuba, etc. 


Thanks, I'll look into this. I'm dying for breakfast at deBoer's Bakery in Holland again. 😍

12 hours ago, Ottakee said:

If Lake Michigan is more doable, Grand Valley State University ( Allendale, MI)  has a research vessel that goes out on Lake Michigan often.  They might offer summer camps as well.

 

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5 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

Not around my area. It is a full time job. Though we do have an abalone industry here  as well as a fishing fleet and LOTS of illegal poaching

Definitely full time in Florida- it is actually a law enforcement position. But it isn’t just marine it is fish and wildlife. One of the romance novels I wrote featured a wildlife officer as the heroine. 

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3 hours ago, pitterpatter said:

We're about six hours from Chicago, so something super worthwhile along the southern half of Lake Michigan would be doable. Something super duper worthwhile elsewhere within the Great Lakes region would be doable with greater effort. Lol.


Thanks, I'll look into this. I'm dying for breakfast at deBoer's Bakery in Holland again. 😍

 

If you come to Holland, I will meet you for breakfast. 🙂 

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2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

Definitely full time in Florida- it is actually a law enforcement position. But it isn’t just marine it is fish and wildlife. One of the romance novels I wrote featured a wildlife officer as the heroine. 

 

Yes, I have a cousin who works for Florida Fish and Wildlife.  In some parts of the state that's out on the ocean.  In others it's essentially a game warden. The problem with those jobs is they can be difficult to get into unless you 1) have military experience and 2) got your law enforcement training working as a prison guard first.   And they don't pay well compared to a lot of jobs with graduate degrees.  But if DD wants to start doing something like Coast Guard and doesn't mind Florida's prison system it's an option.

Has she looked at Merchant Marines and Coast Guard, or is it all about wildlife?

 

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I agree that nothing is ever "all it's cracked up to be".  My aunt and uncle, after their children were launched, gave up their lives and moved to Humboldt CA (from central CA) and both got their master's in marine biology.  Why?  Because it's such an interesting field.  Neither one of them will probably ever work full time in the field, but it was a very brave step they did! 

There is a great passage in Julie Bogart's new book (Braveschooler) where she talks about how tweens/teens often times suddenly develop that fiery eyed passion about a controversial issue- be in veganism, a change in religion, human rights, pollution... and that this is a great thing- it means the child is developing a social conscience and really seeing the world for the first time.  She suggests:  Run with it!  Being passionate about marine biology doesn't have to be a life-long thing, but let it be a passion for as long as the fuel is there for the fire.  

Finally, perhaps she can save up or raise money to keep her own fresh or salt water aquarium.  This requires a LOT of research and care to do well, and can bring home the lesson about the repercussions moving through a system with small changes.  

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University of Rhode Island has a couple of neat looking summer camps - one of them is Naval Science and Technology that looks interesting. https://web.uri.edu/camps/ocean-exploration-naval-science-and-technology-camp/ 

She also might be interested in the 4Ocean company- they clean up oceans around the world, pulling out plastic. They sell bracelets made from recycled materials and each bracelet they sell "pulls a pound of garbage from the ocean". They're a neat company and I love the bracelets: https://4ocean.com/

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She definitely has no interest in the military or law enforcement. I think she's most interested in working to preserve a species...at the science level, not through lobbying or fundraising, etc.

1 hour ago, Katy said:

 

Yes, I have a cousin who works for Florida Fish and Wildlife.  In some parts of the state that's out on the ocean.  In others it's essentially a game warden. The problem with those jobs is they can be difficult to get into unless you 1) have military experience and 2) got your law enforcement training working as a prison guard first.   And they don't pay well compared to a lot of jobs with graduate degrees.  But if DD wants to start doing something like Coast Guard and doesn't mind Florida's prison system it's an option.

Has she looked at Merchant Marines and Coast Guard, or is it all about wildlife?

 

 

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On 6/17/2019 at 12:31 PM, Lanny said:

There is an Engineering discipline I did not know existed, until several years ago, when I read an article about a woman who is an Astronaut.  She graduated in Ocean Engineering, from, I think, Texas A&M University.

There is (or was before a Hurricane) a Texas A&M University Marine museum in Port Aransas or Aransas Pass TX.  I forget which town it was in. It is East of Corpus Christi, where the ocean  going ships come in from the Gulf, to go to Corpus Christi Bay.   After seeing some of the things (huge Sea Snakes for example) that are in the Gulf of Mexico, one might have less interest in swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

Congrats on the interest!

Yes, that was what I was going to mention too.  Also there are people studying marine bioengineering--- like the bacteria that ate the oil spill and the other bacterias that are eating plastics too.

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DS13 is interested in penguins so we attended the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s open house (https://www.mbari.org/about/mbari-open-house/). He realized after the open house that he doesn’t want to be a postgraduate in marine sciences. That his love for penguins would be a hobby/volunteer work rather than a vocation.

We do have teen volunteer programs at Monterey Bay Aquarium and that DS13 is keep in viewing because they have penguins there. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/education/teen-programs

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Check out some citizen science projects related to ocean/water/marine: https://www.citizenscience.gov/catalog/#

If none of those suit, poke around the site and try different categories related to animals and the environment. Saving a species is almost certainly going to be tangled up with environmental issues, so everything learned there is pertinent. 

 

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I've never heard of this. Thanks for posting.

8 hours ago, katilac said:

Check out some citizen science projects related to ocean/water/marine: https://www.citizenscience.gov/catalog/#

If none of those suit, poke around the site and try different categories related to animals and the environment. Saving a species is almost certainly going to be tangled up with environmental issues, so everything learned there is pertinent. 

 


Has anyone participated in any of these? I would be interested in hearing about your experience. I find the site a little difficult to sift through. I'm not sure why one can't filter by geographic region. Would participating in these kind of projects (even the small-scale ones), be good resume builders for homeschoolers? I'm thinking about trying out the Backyard Bark Beetles one with DD when she gets home from camp.

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11 minutes ago, pitterpatter said:

Has anyone participated in any of these? I would be interested in hearing about your experience. I find the site a little difficult to sift through. I'm not sure why one can't filter by geographic region. Would participating in these kind of projects (even the small-scale ones), be good resume builders for homeschoolers? 

We did some simple ones, like counting and reporting sightings of certain animals. I'm about to get trained to help with a local one that involves sampling lake water.

My youngest did some environmental service and education stuff through a local group in her teens, which led to her being selected for a semester-long project led by a coastal restoration group. It was a mix of seminars, field trips, and service projects. They got to meet lots of  working scientists and advocates, it was interesting. 

She also did the inaugural Ocean Heroes Boot Camp last year - science education, a focus on plastics reduction, they brainstorm ideas for different ongoing projects. Thus far, it has been free, including room and board, but you pay for transportation to wherever it is. It just so happened to be in our city, so she was a day camper, but they provided all food. When camp was over, a local Ocean Heroes group for kids/teens got started. dd was heading to college and never participated in that, but it was still going last I heard. You may want to see if there is a group local to you. Both groups and individuals can apply for grants to fund specific projects. 

Regarding the citizen scientist site: yes, weird you can't filter by region, but you can search by city name, state name, etc. Not perfect but might help a bit. 

Any activity is a potential resume builder. If she sustains her interest in science and environmental issues, you can group all those activities together. If she doesn't, it gets put under generic volunteering or maybe drops off the list. Just get a notebook and write down all of her activities and ECs including minor ones. You wouldn't list something like volunteering for a one-day cleanup of a park on its own, but in four years you may realize you have several of those one-offs and you can list it that way: Participated in various service projects each year such as XYZ Park Cleanup Day (you can say various, several, more than a dozen, whatever applies). 

I tried to track their activities as though they might be part of a resume some day, but I tried to approach them as though they were not. Write everything down, yes, but don't try to push certain activities if the student isn't engaged anymore. Do what truly interests them, even if that changes every year; that is what will help them truly learn and grow as a person. 

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12 hours ago, Arcadia said:

DS13 is interested in penguins so we attended the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s open house (https://www.mbari.org/about/mbari-open-house/). He realized after the open house that he doesn’t want to be a postgraduate in marine sciences. That his love for penguins would be a hobby/volunteer work rather than a vocation.

We do have teen volunteer programs at Monterey Bay Aquarium and that DS13 is keep in viewing because they have penguins there. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/education/teen-programs

That is a really cool exhibit.  Has he been to the penguin area at the San Francisco Zoo?  The cool thing about it from my perspective is that there is a ring of water that they swim around, and you can see them from above—which clearly shows that their ‘fins’ are actually wings being used in water rather than air.

When DD was younger she took a stuffed penguin of another species to the Monterey Aquarium exhibit.  She held it up to the glass to see if they would try to make friends with it, like they did with stuffed penguins of the same species.  They recognized it as alien and got very agitated and tried to drive it away as an intruder!  I found this fascinating.

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Thank you for relaying your experience. So often, science labs feel so pointless. I like the idea that perhaps some of these projects could be used as science labs...that our hours of observation and collecting data may potentially go somewhere besides the trashcan.

I'm so glad I posted this thread. Homeschooling can feel so isolating. Education so meaningless without an outlet in which to use it. I remember sitting on our back steps as a teen, particularly during the summers, wishing I had something meaningful to do. I'm feeling very excited and motivated that DD is finally getting to an age where there might be some meaningful opportunities for her to participate in.

I appreciate your tips on resume building as well! 😊

27 minutes ago, katilac said:

We did some simple ones, like counting and reporting sightings of certain animals. I'm about to get trained to help with a local one that involves sampling lake water. ...

 

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11 minutes ago, Carol in Cal. said:

That is a really cool exhibit.  Has he been to the penguin area at the San Francisco Zoo?  

 

Yes, he has been there.

We also went to the California Academy of Sciences and he loves the penguins there too. They have a penguincam. https://www.calacademy.org/learn-explore/animal-webcams/live-penguin-cams

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If you want to go to the keys on vacation there are several summer camp opportunities. John Pennycamp has Sea Camp, which lots of my friends went to as kids. 

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For long range vacation planning - there's a tiny college in Bar Harbor Maine, the College of the Atlantic, that runs a family nature camp during the summer.  You stay in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, and they do a range of ocean-facing and ecology-facing programs, most of them utilizing the Acadia National Park facilities and some of them on the private whale watch and other boats and local ventures.  It's *really* great -- I took my kids year after year growing up, with various combinations of relatives and girlfriends (my husband was constrained on vacation time in those days, but everything's organized so it's easy-peasy -- relaxing, even -- to go solo).  If you're able to make it that far, I'd highly recommend -- both the program itself, and also there are lots of faculty and former students of COA around so she'd have a good opportunity to get a sense of what the student experience is like (it's TINY!) and what kinds of jobs they get upon graduation.  Also, Acadia is one of the loveliest places in the country.  (The Appalachian Mountain Club also runs a family camp on another part of Mt Desert Island, which I've investigated/ considered but always ended up back at COA.  I've done AMC camps elsewhere and recommend them as well.  My sense though is that their program is more hiking & ecology, and less marine biology, focused.)

When she gets a smidge older, both the Sierra Club and AMC, as well as several national parks, have teen maintenance crew opportunities that might be a good way to get a taste of some aspects of ecology & environmental work. 

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Thanks for posting. This looks like a neat place. I think DH and I had planned to visit Catalina Island as part of a larger vacation to California many years ago, but it fell through for some reason. I don't remember why now. I think some cruise ships travel in and out of there as well.

5 hours ago, Kebo said:

I think it is all co-ed, but my son loved his school trip to Catalina Island, and they offer summer camps.  

https://catalinaislandcamps.com


I think I saw this family camp in a magazine years ago. This is exactly the type of place I wanted to take DD to when she was younger. We got wrapped up in taking cruises and forgot all about it. Thanks for the links and recommendations. I'm going to go through and bookmark all of the links in this thread in a special folder. So many great options!

1 hour ago, Pam in CT said:

For long range vacation planning - there's a tiny college in Bar Harbor Maine, the College of the Atlantic, that runs a family nature camp during the summer.  You stay in the dorms, eat in the cafeteria, and they do a range of ocean-facing and ecology-facing programs, most of them utilizing the Acadia National Park facilities and some of them on the private whale watch and other boats and local ventures.  It's *really* great -- I took my kids year after year growing up, with various combinations of relatives and girlfriends (my husband was constrained on vacation time in those days, but everything's organized so it's easy-peasy -- relaxing, even -- to go solo).  If you're able to make it that far, I'd highly recommend -- both the program itself, and also there are lots of faculty and former students of COA around so she'd have a good opportunity to get a sense of what the student experience is like (it's TINY!) and what kinds of jobs they get upon graduation.  Also, Acadia is one of the loveliest places in the country.  (The Appalachian Mountain Club also runs a family camp on another part of Mt Desert Island, which I've investigated/ considered but always ended up back at COA.  I've done AMC camps elsewhere and recommend them as well.  My sense though is that their program is more hiking & ecology, and less marine biology, focused.)

When she gets a smidge older, both the Sierra Club and AMC, as well as several national parks, have teen maintenance crew opportunities that might be a good way to get a taste of some aspects of ecology & environmental work. 

 

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I remember being deeply disappointed at about 14 or 15 on learning that astronomers mostly did math all day instead of just looking through telescopes at the stars, and that they might get 2-3 weeks of good telescope access per year.  I was very good at math but found it very boring; I loved space but was waaaaaaaay too afraid of heights and speed and etc. to be an astronaut and so that whole dream died.

I read something by Mark Twain that helped at the time, or was told it, maybe (I am from MO so Mark Twain is a big deal) - something like, before he was a steamboat pilot, the Missouri River was mysterious and grand and awe-inspiring, and once he'd learned the intricacies of it as required by his profession, it lost the awe and the spirituality that it had had for him.

Not that the trade off isn't worth it, esp, for people who also enjoy the mundane and the calculations and the work, but it did make me feel better about not becoming an astronomer.

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