Birch Aquarium Launches In-Person Education Programming

After nearly two years with no in-person school programs or Outdoor Adventures, Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego’s Education Team is ramping up to offer a full slate of programming including Winter Camps, Tidepooling Adventures and School Programs both onsite and in-schools.

Birch Aquarium Launches In-Person Education Programming

“Birch Aquarium is thrilled to be able to engage with learners in-person and at schools to accommodate teachers’ and caregivers’ needs”, shares Director of Education, Megan Malaska Medley. “In transitioning back to in-person programming, safety is our top priority but we are committed to offering interactive STEM experiences, including connecting students to our animals in a variety of ways.”

School Programming

Discovery Labs. Instructor-led, hands-on Discovery Lab programs are held in classrooms at Birch Aquarium and are available weekdays January 18-June 3, 2022 for students in grades PK-12. Through guided explorations, students can learn about ocean habitats, observe live animals, or explore structure and function through a dissection, all while building investigation skills. All programs are Next Generation Science Standards-aligned.

Beach Teach Join expert educators on a two-hour Beach Investigation for grades 3-5 or Tidepooling for grades 6-12 at the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve (La Jolla Shores). Winter is a great time to visit our local shore habitats. The beaches are less crowded, tides are getting lower, and the beach wrack – the piles of algae that wash ashore – is full of discoveries! Dates are available from December through March and are tide-dependent.

Aquarium Express Outreaches. The Aquarium Express van travels to schools across the county, bringing with it the wonders of the ocean, Earth, and atmosphere. Students will experience a variety of hands-on programs, all in the comfort of their own classrooms. Available weekdays through June 3, 2022, between the hours of 8AM and 3PM.

Self-Guided Visits. School groups can explore the aquarium at their own pace. Offered weekdays during regular aquarium hours with required pre-registration.

Virtual Education Programming. For those unable to visit the aquarium in person, Birch Aquarium is continuing to offer Virtual School and Youth Group Programs through December 17, 2021. Educators zoom live into the classroom and feature some of Birch Aquarium’s favorite aquarium animals! Available weekdays through December 17.

Financial Aid. Financial aid is available for all School Programs and all grade levels. More information on scholarships and the application process can be found online here.

Public Programming

Winter Camps. Join Birch Aquarium naturalists for an oceanic winter wonderland! Winter Camp programs, held for three consecutive days during the winter holiday weeks, will give young learners the opportunity to have fun and connect with other campers. Kids in grades K-3 will explore marine habitats and their inhabitants, engage with aquarium creatures, and create crafty keepsakes of their discoveries! Camps take place at Birch Aquarium Monday-Wednesday, December 20-22 and 27-29 from 9AM to 4PM.

Note: Registration for Winter Camps begun Nov. 22 for Birch Aquarium Associates members, Nov. 27 for all members, and Nov. 30 for the general public.

Tidepooling Adventures. Venture to local tide pools with Birch Aquarium naturalists to learn about these amazing habitats and the organisms that make the tide pools their home. Groups of up to 6 can participate in this guided exploration and learn about how we can protect this important coastal ecosystem. Program dates are tide-dependent and run December-February.

Safety continues to be a priority as Birch Aquarium follows guidance from local and county health agencies, including UC San Diego Health. As such, all Birch Aquarium staff must be in compliance with UC San Diego’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, in addition to conducting a daily self-screening for COVID-19 symptoms. Staff are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors and follow sanitization protocols before, during, and after programs. All program participants are also required to wear a properly fitted mask during the entirety of the program, regardless of vaccination status.

For more information on Birch Aquarium and all of its programming, visit here. For questions relating to Education programming, call 858-534-7336 or email here.

See you there, San Diego!