Last Day of Summer Camp!

August 11, 2017

Today was a bittersweet day here at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center! It was the last day of camp for the summer! We are sad to leave these campers and each other, but we are so happy and thankful for all of the memories we’ve had this summer! Today, the Greens had their field trip to Jonathan Dickinson State Park! The Loggerheads and the Leatherbacks stayed on campus and finished up their education!

The Greens packed up and headed off campus today to spend their final day of camp outside exploring at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. The morning began with a hike up Hobe Mountain Tower to understand the importance of endangered species in the pine scrub ecosystem. The area, one of the largest left of its kind with some of the rarest species yet alive, used to stretch to Miami but has since suffered due to development and human impact. Campers stopped to talk about different species of plants/animals, and then they observed the barrier island and mainland Florida from the top deck. After lunch, we headed to the Loxahatchee River to kayak for the afternoon. We wrapped up our day at the education center participating in a scavenger hunt. Park rangers were kind enough to let us observe their Florida Pine Snake, named JD. Finally, we loaded the bus to return to Loggerhead Marinelife Center after an active day in the sun.

For an excited and fun filled last day of camp, the Loggerheads enjoyed a Predator/Prey themed day. This started off, as always, going over turtle notebook questions covering yesterday’s curriculum. They then got a short presentation about predator-prey relationships in the marine ecosystem, followed by a fossil dig for shark teeth and stingray barbs. This activity allowed them to see what fossils look like and taught them how to identify shark teeth! After that, they had a bit of free time, and then they got to pay a visit to our turtle patients in the turtle yard! After lunch, campers listened to the older Leatherback group practice their marine science project presentations! They then made some shark tooth necklaces decorated with colorful beads while watching “Planet Ocean.” After that, campers got the opportunity to see real shark jaws up close while Miss Vanessa gave a lesson on each type of shark’s behavior. They then got a special tour of the hospital from Miss Gillian! They learned all about the equipment the hospital staff use on our sea turtles and were even able to see some hatchlings!! The rest of the day was a bit more relaxed- campers had fun doing marine debris themed crossword puzzles and painting crafts. Finally, they burned off some energy at the playground before witnessing a really cool feeding of the Lion Fish and Eels at the exhibit hall!

The Leatherbacks had their conservation and pollution reduction day today. They started the day finishing up their week-long beach threat projects they would present later that day. After that, we went to the turtle yard so the campers could finish their ethogram behavior observations of their specific turtle. We then ate lunch out on the back deck to get some sunshine. When that finished, our campers gave a mock presentation of theirĀ  projects to the Loggerheads so they could practice for their presentation later today. Once that was completed, we headed out to the turtle yard to bring together all of our observations from the week. Each camper stood by their specific turtle and educated the public on the turtle’s behaviors, characteristics, and the reason they are here at LMC. The campers then finished the education portion of the camp with a presentation by Miss Savannah on the importance of conservation for marine life. Once that was finished, campers brainstormed ideas for a conference with LMC employees. During the conference, each department sent employees to teach the campers about what it means to work in research, rehabilitation, education, and conservation. The conference ended with the campers asking their own questions about each of the chosen career paths. It was a great way for the campers to learn about the different careers in marine biology. Finally, our day ended with each camper presenting their marine life project as their parents came in to pick them up.

The counselors are extremely sad to leave, but we look forward to hopefully seeing your campers next year. We’re so thankful for getting to know your amazing kids! We hope they have a great school year.