Summertime drums up the connotation of play, leisure, vacations and
The beauty of the world of camp is that there’s a theme for just about
everything and everyone: from band camp to science camp and everything in
between. There’s even sea lion camp -- otherwise known as Camp Pinniped.
Camp Pinniped is an exciting camp for kids, ages 8 to 12, in Laguna
Beach at the Friends of the Sea Lion Marine Mammal Center.
The Center is an active rescue/treatment/rehabilitation facility for
seals and sea lions, which in the taxonomy scheme of things fall into the
pinniped group. The name was derived because pinnipedia means feather
footed and it refers to the shape of their flippers.
Children will learn about pinnipeds through facts, games, application
and gain an education about marine life and conservation.
Beate Litz is the education director for the center and she heads up
the camp, lending both her practical experience -- she has been with the
center for five years -- and her academic expertise -- she earned her
degree in marine biology from the UC Santa Cruz.
The camp is a week long and is limited to 15 students per session.
“It’s capped at 15 per session because we don’t want to hinder their
experience here,” Litz said.
The camper’s day is broken into downstairs time, which is like lab
work with the animals and classroom time.
“In Camp Pinniped the kids learn how our animal care team
rehabilitates our pinniped patients by performing mock duties such as
rescuing, weighting, feeding and cleaning pens, said Litz said.
The students will be garbed in their protective waterproof gear of
boots and slickers for this portion of the camp. Although the student
will spend a lot of time in the intensive care unit, there is no direct
contact with the animals for the child’s and animal’s safety.
After breaking into smaller teams, they will weigh the fish out for
the pinnipeds and will blend them into fish formula for patients not
strong enough to eat on their own. From there the students watch and
learn how a tube feeding is done.
The children virtually learn every facet that goes on at the center
even down to cleaning and doing laundry for the mammals. The students
start learning all about seals and sea lions including the clinical
terms, vocabulary and physiology.
They also learn of the pinniped’s role as both predator and prey, as
well as about whales and dolphins. They also build models out of clay so
the children discover how the environment shapes the mammal’s body. On
oceanography day they study water samples of the ocean through
microscopes and learn about different types of waves.
The campers get to see the sea lions’ progress and Litz enjoys
watching the children’s excitement over their sense of involvement.
This year the camp has added an additional program of extended camp
hours until 5:15 p.m., which gives the camper and parent some options.
The first week of camp, which runs through July 12 is full. The second
session runs from July 15-19 and has three spots available. There are two
spaces available for the July 29 through Aug. 2 camp. The final camp,
Aug. 5-9, has plenty of room.
WHERE: 20612 Laguna Canyon Road
PHONE: Beate Litz, 494-3050