Our education programs for over two hundred of California's public and independent schools have introduced thousands of students to environments as diverse as the… Independent Schools Charter Schools Public Schools Waldorf Schools Montessori Schools Who do we serve ?
Pygmy Forest of Sonoma Giant Forest of Sequoia Sonoran Desert Colorado River Catalina Island
Naturalists at Large draws it’s instructors from all over the United States. These are men and women with 4-year university degrees who have proven experience working with youth in the outdoors and in the classroom.
With their high comfort and experience in the outdoors, their passion for teaching, and a commitment to safety first, we have the foundation for a fantastic experience for you and your students.
Morro Bay State Park features lagoon and natural bay habitat. The bay’s most prominent landmark is Morro Rock. The park has opportunities for kayaking, hiking, and bird watching. The park museum has exhibits covering natural features and cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography. On the bay’s northeast edge is a pristine saltwater marsh that supports a thriving bird population.
The sheltered estuary at Morro Bay, bordered by nature preserves, is prime habitat for beginning paddlers, as few areas provide such sealife, scenery, and solitude so close at hand. The largest coastal wetlands in the area south of Elkhorn Slough, the bay, which encompasses the fertile salt marsh of Morro Estuary Natural Preserve, is among the West Coast’s better birding spots. Over 250 species have been recorded in the area with winter migrants flocking in by the tens of thousands. Paddlers also see harbor seals, sea lions, and otters, and, after a short crossing to the sandspit in Morro Dunes Natural Preserve, they are treated to remote beach hiking with great ocean views.
Montana de Oro State Park, a few miles south of the bay, features over 8,000 acres of rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. Naturalists and backpackers enjoy the solitude and freedom found along the park’s trails. There are also mountain biking and equestrian trails. The best-known beach is Spooner’s Cove, across from the campground. The park’s name, "Mountain of Gold," comes from the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. Wildlife in the park includes black tailed deer and the black oystercatcher. The park includes primitive and equestrian campsites.
Food Meals are wholesome affairs providing the nutrition needed for active participants There’s a variety of menu options from which to choose
Allergies and Special Food Needs Program meals offer vegetarian food options. For those with specific needs due to allergies or personal reasons, we suggest discussion with your faculty. Naturalists at Large can help guide those with special diets to supplement their meals in ways which everyone can most easily manage.
A focus of most all Naturalists at Large programming is the interaction of the individual with the group. The needs of both must be met through the development of cooperation, leadership and problem solving skills.
The facilitation of activities, with the emphasis on our interaction with the environment and each other, promotes awareness of each individual’s role in making the group experience a positive one.
First timers to seasoned paddlers can explore the 15 miles of protected waters in the beautiful Morro Bay Estuary/Bird Sanctuary. Morro Bay is composed of 2300 acres of mud flats, eelgrass beds, tidal wetlands and open water. Morro Bay is a major West Coast wintering area for over 100 species of birds. Its waters are home to California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals, which use the mud flats as a hauling out area. Many types of marine invertebrates and fish are also abundant in the bay. The sand spit, which forms Morro Bay, is an excellent place to walk among the dunes, beachcomb, picnic or simply enjoy the solitude of over five miles of quiet beach. Easy flat-water access coupled with the abundance of nature make Morro Bay an ideal kayaking destination.
Because of the user friendly conditions and kayaks, groups of all experience levels are certain to have a great time. Many school biology and natural history programs come out with us due to the unique estuarine environment and scientific potential.
Explore the sand dune spit that protects Morro Bay
The Museum of Natural History is located in Morro Bay State Park and is within minutes of the Heron Rookery, Montaña de Oro State Park, the El Moro Elfin Forest and Audubon's Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. The Museum overlooks Morro Bay which is both a State and National Estuary. Entry fees are $2 for adults and free to children 16 and under. The Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the year.
And a few other optional activities… Journal & Reflective Activity Map & Compass Orienteering Animal Tracking
26 miles north of Morro Bay is… Hearst Castle And another 5 miles further north is the elephant seal colony at Piedras Blancas, which is currently 7,500 strong and a rich educational opportunity. Optional Day Trips
Ask about… Allergies, Medications, and Special Dietary Needs
Equipment Reminders Follow your equipment list. Pack together. Adult and student can double check the contents of the gear bag. All clothing should fit in a medium size duffle. A day pack is essential to move about the program with water, some food, extra layers of clothing, and personal incidentals. Utensil Kit that may be reused for each meal and a cup that can handle hot & cold liquids.
Rain gear is a must. ( water-proof shell) Rain Ponchos are fine. Comfortable closed toed shoes are required. Light weight hikers or tennis shoes with a few pairs of good outdoor socks (non-cotton). A good water bottle (quart or liter). The proper sleeping bag (check your equipment list for specifics). A ground pad for underneath you and your sleeping bag.
Plastic bag protection. A half dozen, 1 or 2 gallon storage ziplocks are good for protecting clothing in a gear bag from moisture. Along with a couple hefty 15 to 30 gallon bags to line your gear bag and sleeping bag (& daypack). Don’t send gear that you could not afford lost or broken (expensive cameras, cell phones, and other electronics). A handy disposable camera would be just fine. Follow your equipment list, ask questions, borrow from friends.
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