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Time to shine

The beach has been a place of fun and learning this summer thanks

to the Friends of the Sea Lion and El Morro Village.

Patty Humphreys Waters, director of development at Friends of the

Sea Lion and coordinator for the event, explained it is part of the

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group’s outreach program and gives an ocean and marine life

experience to children who might not normally get such an

opportunity.

“This event brings less fortunate children and adults to the beach

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for educational and fun beach-related activities,” Humphreys Waters

said.

So far five groups have attended the program at El Morro Beach,

including Olive Crest, a home for abused children, Santa Ana Boys and

Girls Club, Community Behavioral Services for adults with

developmental disabilities, and next week a group of about 40 from

Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club will attend. On Aug. 20, the last

group of the summer will be Orangewood, a shelter for abused

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children.

Humphreys Waters’ daughter, Sarah, 8, has been able to participate

with kids at the event.

“I’ve been to three events and I really think its great. With the

first one, which was the Santa Ana Boys and Girls Club, I met a lot

of new friends and learned a lot of new games.”

She was also excited because they saw sea lions and dolphins swim

by just when they were talking about them.

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Humphreys Waters said that during this year’s program some adults

with developmental disabilities spent time at the Friends of the Sea

Lion facility.

“They were able to share what they’ve learned about the animals

with their peers along with what they knew about other marine

mammals.”

Beate Litz education director at the marine mammal center

explained some of the educational games designed for the kids.

“We constructed plankton nets and collected plankton from the

water and were able to look at it under the microscope and learn

about it,” Litz said.

She said they also play a game called the sand-crab dig that

educates them about different life at sea and provides fodder for

discussions.

One of the favorite activities is the day at the races. The kids

form two lines -- one side is designated as sea lions and the other

seals. They have a race in the position the animal would travel on

land. By doing this, they understood the differences between the

animals.

The Great Day at the Beach experience also allows for time to

play.

“We allow free play time to let them run around and enjoy the

beach and enjoy themselves, especially groups like these who might

not have the opportunity otherwise,” said Litz.

The scavenger hunt is a fun way to educate kids on the cause and

effect of littering. They are told to find plastic bags, cans and

littered items. It ends up being a beach cleanup in disguise while

they’re having fun.

Afterward the volunteers go over some of the effects.

“We point them out one by one and ask how they might hurt animals

in a marine environment,” Litz said. “We ask them how they think the

trash got here. The lesson helps kids learn that although they might

not live near the beach, their actions do have an effect here.”

The children wrap up the day by going by Friends of the Sea Lion

for marine mammal viewing.

Donations cover all the costs and make the Great Day at the Beach

possible.

* SUZIE HARRISON is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline

Pilot. She may be reached at 494-4321.


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