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Archive for April, 2010

Teaching is now in full swing, and just as a reminder that I am working here not just partying it up on deserted islands, I thought I’d share some of what we teach here.  We teach three programs a day, 9-12, 2-5, and 8-9:30 (sometimes 8-10).  Between programs we supervise students at meals, prepare and break-down our boats and classrooms, and check kids off at lights-out in the evening.  On average we work about 60 hours a week.  All for the bargain rate of about $1.70 an hour.  That makes it sound rough (and believe me it is sometimes) but usually it’s fun at the same time.

The most common programs that we teach are coastal ecology, shark ecology, squid dissection, algae community lab, night-wade, and of course our boat trips.  What we teach on boat trips is determined by the weather (where we can go) and by the school group.  Usually we teach near-shore ecology and coral reef ecology on the boats, though sometimes we throw in some algae or seagrass ecology, or with bad weather we’ll teach birds and terrestrial ecology.  Usually I’m teaching anywhere from 10-15 kids during the day, and up to 40 at night.

Now for the fun report!  Last week Ryan and Will came down from Key Largo to visit us SeaCampers!  They trailered Ryan’s boat down with them and seven of us went out to Looe Key (the outer reef here) and snorkeled.  Then after dinner, we went out to a small island called Money Key just off the Seven-Mile Bridge to go camping.  That’s right, we spent the night under the stars around a campfire on a deserted island in the Keys.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Picture:  One of our flattops with the flag they all flew this past Thursday for Earth Day.  Just you can get a better look at our snazzy boats!

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For Easter weekend, Seacamp actually gave us an extended weekend!  I was off Friday at noon and had a whole three days off, back at camp Monday at noon.  I had planned to drive up to Key Largo and meet up with Ryan (previously mentioned dive buddy) and then go up to Ft. Lauderdale with friends to go to the beach.  On the way up there, Ryan and I met at the southernmost tip of Lower Matecumbe Key to help his friend Russell sail his boat back to Key Largo.  Unfortunately we sailed (motorsailed) into a headwind the whole time so the trip of about 25 miles took around 5 hours.  It was still fun though, who can say no to hanging out on a sailboat in the Keys tanning and drinking rum?  Once we made it back to Key Largo we met up with Jamie and Nicole (who both work with me and had also headed north for break) for dinner at a delicious Thai place.  Who knew I’d find good panang curry in Key Largo!  Finally Saturday morning we headed up to Ft. Lauderdale to hit the beach and hang out with some friends.  It was nice to get “off the rock” as they say here.

So back to life at Seacamp…  now that we’re all teaching on our own, it’s time to move up the final step to full “instructor” status!  That would be to coordinate your own group.  Each school group that comes has one instructor designated as their coordinator.  The coordinator is in charge of contacting the school before the visit to work out the schedule of programs and review logistics, making the school’s schedule and assigning teaching areas and nights off to the other instructors with that group, giving all announcements to the group and coordinating any schedule changes with the head chaperone, as well as reviewing the school once they leave property at the end of their trip.  As of today, I’ve made my coordinator call and my schedule, and my next school (the one I’m coordinating) arrives on Wednesday.

On my day off yesterday I went out snorkeling with Ryan’s group of kids to some seagrass beds which were pretty cool.  Ryan teaches at a facility very similar to Seacamp up in Key Largo, along with five other former Seacamp-ers.  On our way off property for lunch, we ran into a group of high-school boys playing with some lizards they’d found in the bushes.  Ryan says to them, “Did you know you can let them bite your ears and wear them as earrings?”  They look at him, obviously thinking he’s pulling their leg, until one of them says, “no way, you first.”  Ryan shrugs and takes the lizard, lets it bite his ear, and I’ll admit I was skeptical, but it just hung there like an earring until he reached up and took it off!  So of course I had to try, after telling the kid that I’d do it if he did it.  Here’s the picture!

Miss you all!  In other news, I’m officially not staying at Seacamp after my internship ends May 29th, but where I’ll be is still completely up in the air.

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