Gone To Earth Day On The Bay At The Marine Science Institute

“We declare that the proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it.”
Barry Commoner, American biologist

April 22nd will be
Earth Day.  Created in 1970, Earth Day was designed as an educational event about the environment in the United States, and now, it’s celebrated in over 175 countries.

Today, the
Marine Science Institute (MSI) held its annual event commemorating Earth Day.  They had arts and crafts, they displayed a variety of marine animals, and a local outrigger canoe club gave rides out on the bay.

The MSI’s mission is “is to cultivate a responsibility for the natural environment and our human communities through interdisciplinary science education.”  They do this by having students come to their location, making presentations and giving them educational boat rides on the bay and educating them on and letting them interact with the marine life that exists there.

One of the features of the event was a two hour Discovery Ecotour on their 90-foot ship.  They had four tours throughout the days events, and I signed us up for the first one at 8am.


After we boarded the ship, all the kids sat in the middle of the cabin and awaited instruction.

After getting our initial instructions and some information about the San Francisco Bay, the largest estuary system on the West Coast, everyone left the cabin to see some marine life.  One of the staff pulled out a baby leopard shark and let all the kids pet it (and some adults too).

They also had the kids help cast a net for fishing, so we could see what kinds of marine life there are out there.



We passed by a local ship wreckage as well.

After a few minutes, they pulled the net back onto the boat.

The most significant creature they picked up was a bat ray.

I got to pet it as well.  It was a slimy little thing.

They also had various fish around the boat available for us to interact with.


We were located in between the San Mateo and Dumbarton Bridges.

The kids played with mud they grabbed from the bottom of the bay.  They even made a mud pledge.


On the way back, we got a presentation on plankton, including a microscope visual of what creatures live in just three drops of water.  That was kind of gross.

The MSI is a great place to learn for kids, and I think the program they run for schools is a great service.  MSI is a non-profit organization that does these programs for school groups.  They get paid partially by schools on a sliding scale, but they don’t turn anyone down.  They get the rest of the funds by fundraising and grants. 

I think it’s important work that they’re doing by getting students in front of the bay environment and making it accessible to as many schools as possible.  I had a lot of fun and the executive director Marilou Seiff and the rest of the staff were all very knowledgeable and friendly.

If you’d like to learn more about the Marine Science Institute, click
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