MARS to Monterey
Twice annually, in January and February, Marine Science students and teacher chaperones have the opportunity to go to Monterey to observe marine ecosystems. During the trip, the students visit places such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and, for the first time this year, the Long Marine Lab run by UC Santa Cruz.
“At the UCSC lab we got to see what past marine science students are doing now at the college level,” said senior Julian Howard. “It was cool to see because it’s like a continuation of what we’re learning at PHS.” The students also get to experience the Pacific Ocean runoff through kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough, where they often encounter otter mothers and pups and seals.
Apart from the scheduled events, the trip is a great bonding experience for the students. “It was great to be able to do all this stuff with my close friends. It made the experience that much more fun...and just being with them in the room and throughout the day was a great bonding experience,” said Howard. “It was also great to be able to put a visual with all of the stuff I learned.” For many students at Petaluma High School who take Marine Science, the trip to Monterey is the highlight of their year.