Fostering interest in Nature – Presented by the City of Newport Beach

The City of Newport Beach Recreation and Senior Services Department is committed to offering FiiN to our local title one schools for the next decade. Our City is proud to provide this unique opportunity to students, who may not otherwise get the chance to attend an overnight science camp or discover all the wonders that abound in our watershed. Our partnership with the Dunes Resort, playing host to the FiiN program, provided the perfect setting for our students to explore Newport Beach’s Back Bay and harbor. Last year, we were one of the first schools to begin the FiiN program and we were very fortunate to have the generosity of the City of Newport Beach to make this possible. When the Newport Bay Conservancy was selected to work on the FiiN program, we knew we had such a great opportunity to teach some really cool kids about a really special environment. Upper Newport Bay is such a unique place to learn because there’s so much going on here. Unlike other camp programs that might be just up in the mountains or just at the beach, Newport Bay has a little bit of everything. I’ve been teaching in Santa Ana for 25 years, and in those 25 years, our students have never had the opportunity to be afforded three nights, four days of continuous science education, fun and just getting out of their neighborhood. A lot of these kids for the first time have ever left home, let alone be away from their parents. It’s exciting for them, and it’s exciting for the families, to see their children come back and have an amazing experience. We wanted to make sure that the activities were hands-on and engaging, and that they were able to do things that were special from other learning experiences. The most rewarding activities for me was getting the students out on the Harbor Breeze boat, where they were able to see dolphins and sometimes even whales, and having the students out on kayaks, many for the very first time. Year one of FiiN did not disappoint and we look forward to having more activities, games and eyes wide with exploration for the coming years. The first year of FiiN was a huge success, bringing the program into fruition after five years of planning, and we’re excited to watch the program grow as we continue to run the program annually. We also want to plant the seeds that these are our next doctors, engineers and scientists, that take part in science camp at the FiiN program. We look forward to working with the Coastal Commission to assure funding is in place for many years to come, to in turn foster an interest in nature to thousands of young students that will participate in FiiN. It was clear to see this experience forever changed their lives and opened their minds to how they can play a role as stewards of their surrounding environment. Once again, I just want to thank the City of Newport Beach. I want to thank Camp James and all the people that were involved to help make this happen. We’re very fortunate to be a part of it. Thank you very much.

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