Tzu Chi’s Summer Camp Takes a Field Trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific

National Headquarters  |  July 8, 2023
Under adult supervision, Tzu Chi Summer Camp participation can touch marine life during a field trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California. Photo/Michelle Young

Written by Michelle Young
Translated by Ariel Chan
Edited by Patrick McShane

The Tzu Chi Education Foundation’s 2023 Summer Camp for children in California offered an eight-week program encompassing talent development and humanistic courses. The highlights for the enrolled campers were the outdoor education activities and field trips. 

On June 26, 2023, campers and teachers embarked on a journey to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, where they explored the marine life found in the tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean. The kids had the opportunity to see and touch living marine creatures at the aquarium, making it a rich and fulfilling day.

Getting In-Touch with Marine Animals

During the two-month summer break, children learned arts and humanistic values during Tzu Chi’s eight-week camp. The program’s outdoor education activities and field trips allowed campers to visit resource-rich educational venues, broadening their horizons and putting the ancient saying, “Read ten thousand books, travel ten thousand miles” into practice. 

During this field trip, taking them to the Aquarium of the Pacific, the children saw marine life from coastal Southern California and the North Pacific Ocean, as well as marine creatures from the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean. They also visited the Aquarium’s three-story-tall tank and saw its 88-foot-long model of a blue whale.

Guided and accompanied by teachers and volunteers, children learned while having fun. Student Aliana Gao shared, “At the Aquarium, my favorite part was the movie because it was very interesting. I had a great time today.” The enthusiastic voices of children who couldn’t hide their joy echoed in the Aquarium. Albert Liu said, “My favorite animal is the jellyfish, and we can touch marine animals. I touched a jellyfish.” Each child had their favorite sea creatures and animals they learned about for the first time, which sparked a new interest in marine life. Emmett Nguyen said, “I saw stingrays and sharks, and I want to see zebrafish.”

Caring for the Ocean Starts with Awareness

Sensory experiences were particularly enriching for the campers. Teacher Gabriela Li shared, “Because they can interact with marine creatures face to face through their direct senses, they understand marine life better.”

Teacher Edlyn Navarrete added, “The most unforgettable part of this trip is that they could touch or gently pat many marine animals themselves, like jellyfish, sharks, and stingrays… they could even feed the Australian parrots. Because they could interact with animals, the children were very happy.”

Outdoor education and field trip activities for Tzu Chi summer campers enrich their learning experience, influenced by the places they visit. For the camp teachers, such activities inspire them to offer more creative and spontaneous instruction opportunities as they constantly strive to expand their students’ knowledge and awareness. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach broadened students’ understanding of the ocean through close observation and even touch, nurturing children’s appreciation for colorful and vibrant marine life. The seeds of environmental protection naturally sprouted in their young hearts.

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