Monterey 2014

Hey Everyone,

Hope you’re having a safe and fun rainy season.  Last weekend, we got a break in the weather and enjoyed a great time in Monterey.  We sorta forgot how long the drive was, having taken a bus the past couple years.  And the “storm day” off from school caused us to miss our meeting before the trip sending us into a bit more chaos.  But we had willing chaperones, and a nice group of 33 kids, and the day was a success.
We started off at the Monterey Bay Aquarium at the Open Sea feeding.  It’s really a spectacular show, if you haven’t seen it in the past few years. There’s the usual narrator, but lots of interaction, lots of video, and it’s really fun to see how the fish behave in the million gallon tank.  But it also was our first taste of the crowds.  As the day went on, we noticed how crowded the aquarium was becoming.  It turns out that we were there during a promotion where residents of the three counties around Monterey could all enjoy free admission.  Which is a great opportunity for the community.  But not a good day for us to visit!

Obviously, it was harder to move, and harder to keep track of kids.  But we did our best.  There was a really nice temporary exhibit on cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus, etc.)  Kids loved the touch pools, as usual, and the jellies are always a hit.  It was hard to get shots of kids actuallydoing things, compared to the last trip to Slide Ranch.  But still a great experience in a world-class aquarium.

In lieu of our usual afternoon trip to SLEWTHS, we decided instead to walk Fishermans Wharf in Monterey.  We sampled lots of clam chowder, and then found a guy willing to let us hold any of his many parrots and take photos.  We got to see a wild sea otter at the end of the wharf, who would dive down for mussels, come back up and bang the shells on a boat to help crack them, and then float around on his back to eat.  We watched him for about a half hour, and wandered back to our cars for a snack before leaving.

The slideshow/video of the trip can be viewed here:

January’s trip is back to Año Nuevo to see the elephant seals.  Hope you have a great holiday season, and thanks again for all of your love and support.

Slide Ranch 2014

ESCAPE Club fans,

The ESCAPE Club at DeJean is really rocking this year!  We’re on Instagram (follow us ), we’ve got a YouTube channel, we’re in the newspaper, REI sees us, there’s snow in the Sierras already, our website is almost ready for official release, and most importantly, kids are getting to do some great things outside!

November’s trip was to Slide Ranch near Muir Beach.  8:30am at DeJean and the drive to the ocean was cold, wet, and blustery.  36 kids and 9 drivers ignored the weather, and showed up anyway, hopeful for a fun, worthwhile day.  Driving through the rain, I have to admit I was wondering what I was leading these kids into.  But once we parked the cars and got out, the sun broke through.  We shed our rain gear, and felt once again like we were being favored.

The staff at Slide Ranch divides us up into small groups, and then spends the day giving the kids an intimate look at life on a farm.  In particular, we spent time learning about and discussing sustainable living and where our food comes from.  The groups rotate through several activities, including milking a goat, visiting the chicken and duck coops, making bread and butter, touring and tasting in the organic garden, digging in the compost pile, and seeing how a bee hive works.  Each activity is completely hands on, and a new experience for almost everyone.  The land at Slide Ranch ( ) is open to the public if you ever want to visit.  We’ve just had a great time every time we’ve visited.

After our time was done at Slide Ranch, we walked down the hill to the beach.  The tide was out, but there wasn’t a whole ton of wildlife that captured the students’ attention.  A few starfish, a few crabs, a few anemones.  But that didn’t matter.  It was just fun to climb over the rocks, dodge the waves, and enjoy the sand and the view, and whatever oddity they saw.  Back home by dark, the kids were tired and could look back on a great experience.

Jason’s slideshow video can be viewed by clicking on the following:

December’s trip to Monterey is coming up next week, so we’ll be back in touch soon!