Children's Education Programs
Point Cabrillo Light Station & Preserve
Education programs at Point Cabrillo provide a dynamic and in-depth exploration of the interrelationship of human history and coast ecology. Our goal is to increase awareness and appreciation of marine life, coastal ecosystems, and maritime history, and provide the informational and experiential building blocks that enable students to explore and develop their environmental ethics. Conservation and accountability are introduced by looking at the role of individuals in making history and the preservation work underway at Point Cabrillo. Our field trip programs incorporate hands-on activities that allow students to explore the natural world while challenging their creativity and team working skills.
To schedule an onsite class for groups of children, please email your request to Pam Huntley, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure your email includes your name and phone number, the program title, 1st and 2nd choice dates, number of children, and your group's affiliation, e.g. school, church, club, etc.
Education Program Funding
Our teacher compensation and other class expenses are paid by the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association. We raise the money for these education classes from the annual Whale Festive parking fees and the Whale Festival Raffle ticket sales. Individual contributions to the PCLK Children's Education Program are very much appreciated. Donations may be made online through PayPal by clicking the button below
The Tidepool Exhibits
Our indoor marine exhibits provide a safe, low-impact alternative to
visiting the local tidepools. It’s pointless teaching children to
appreciate the extraordinary life in the intertidal zone, if the very
activity of tidepool exploration is destroying fragile habitat. The
indoor exhibits at Point Cabrillo lighten the load on the area’s intertidal
resources, and make it possible for youngsters, oldsters, and others with
limited mobility, to visit and learn about this fascinating world.
Field trips are 3-4 hours in length including a lunch break. Curriculum
packages for each topic include optional pre-trip classroom activities. We
also provide a homework assignment for a no-trash lunch for the day of the
field trip, an exercise that gives the classroom teacher an opportunity to
introduce conservation and preservation issues, and the impact our
individual actions have on the earth’s resources. Post-trip activities are
also provided. Individual programs can be combined and/or adapted for
different age groups.
“My Home, Your Habitat”
Students learn the difference between wild and
domestic, and that all living things need a habitat to survive. Food, water,
shelter and space are described for tiny barnacles and giant whales,
allowing students to deduce the common concept from extreme examples.
Facilitated interaction with the specimens in our observation tank and
salt-water aquarium, along with puppetry and chalk drawing, help students to
visualize life's many adaptations under the waves. Fits curriculum
standards for 1st grade.
“Whales, Whales, Whales”
Students review the concept of habitat while
studying the natural history of the California gray whales during their
annual migration. Observation skills are emphasized. Students learn
classification of mammals, and how marine mammals exist in their habitat.
Human influences and the history of whaling in North America are also
illustrated. Our life-size gray whale jigsaw puzzle allows students to
visualize the rudiments of whale anatomy along with the team challenge of
assembling 80 odd pieces. During the annual Gray whale migration, we often
combine activities from this program with "Exploring Marine Habitats".
“Exploring Marine Habitats”
Students explore the concept of
adaptation among the plants and animals living in Point Cabrillo’s indoor tidepool observation tank and aquarium, and during a land based nature walk.
Student directed learning activities engage children in discovering both the
unique solutions, and the needs we have in common with the flora and fauna
around us. Fits curriculum standards for 2nd grade. Fits curriculum
standards for 2nd grade.
“Living on the North Coast”
Students take a look at human history on the
north coast from the Pomo Indians to the present. We look at the way
all cultures interact with the land they live on -- they change it, use it,
and are changed by it. Activities include making iris twine and
drilling shells with a pump drill. Students play detective with artifacts
and photos from the days of the early European settlers, and make up their
own stories about life on the coast. They also learn about the lightkeepers, why lighthouses were so important to economic growth, and they
tour the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Fits curriculum standards for 3rd
“The Story of the “Frolic”
The Shipwreck that Changed the North Coast
Forever. Students focus on the story of the “Frolic”, a sailing
clipper that foundered off Point Cabrillo carrying China trade goods for
gold-rush San Francisco. This pivotal moment in California history
illustrates how history is a series of events that are all dependent on each
other, and how we make history every day through our choices and actions.
Students use compasses to navigate, visit the wreck site and the Pomo Indian midden where artifacts from the wreck were identified, and reenact the
Frolic story in costume. Fits curriculum standards for 4th grade. This
lesson plan is also available as an in-class program.
“Restoring Coastal Ecosystems”
Everything in nature exists in interdependent
systems. This program looks at the impact that humans have had on the
environment and the decisions we need to make about restoring or maintaining
the balance of these systems. Students examine and discuss the ecology
of the north coast on land and in the sea. Activities include a food
web game; a scavenger hunt using a plant key and a restoration project where
students can contribute to the ongoing care of the Preserve. Fits
curriculum standards for 5th grade.