University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


And that’s a wrap! Staff Training 2018

OCG Staff Training 2018

OCG Staff Training 2018

Written by: Kyle, Science Mentor & USF College of Marine Science Master’s Student

The Oceanography Camp for Girls 2018 kicks off next week on Monday, June 11th! Over the past two weeks, our science mentors and counselors have been hard at work preparing for this summer’s campers. From learning lesson plans, engaging in daily “Energizer” activities, and inventorying field trip supplies, it really wasn’t too difficult having a bunch of focused fun in preparation for having a bunch of more fun.

Our staff is a special mix of ocean-lovers comprised of counselors and science mentors. Our counselors are rising juniors or rising seniors from a variety of high schools across the county while the majority of our science mentors are current PhD or Master’s graduate students at the University of South Florida College of Marine Science. I asked a few of my fellow staff members to reflect on their favorite part of training or previous camp experiences. A diversity and distinct experiences are captured below!

Our field trip to Fort DeSoto was my favorite day during training. My thesis project is centered on studying carbon storage in mangroves, which is why I was so excited to learn about it from a camper’s perspective. When doing my own research, I’m so focused on a single perspective, that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. OCG training helped me to regain my focus on that big picture and made me excited to share a piece of my research with the campers.
-Carey, Science Mentor & USF College of Marine Science Master’s Student

I was camper in 2016 and one of the experiences I remember most clearly is Shell Key. We kayaked out to Shell Key in partners. The water was so clear and beautiful. Halfway there was a sandbar, allowing us the chance to get out of the kayaks and explore a little bit more. Horseshoe crabs, rays and dolphins surrounded us. Once we got to Shell Key, we began collecting and identifying shells. We wrapped up the day as a group, giving the feeling of a family.
-Giulietta, Counselor

Nine years ago, I attended OCG as a camper. These past two weeks in Staff Training re-learning activities and lessons has rekindled for me countless great memories of being a camper while also illuminating new perspectives I have now that I find myself as an aspiring marine microbiologist graduate student at the USF College of Marine Science–a trajectory I’m not sure that would have been realized if not for my summer at OCG. It’s amazing how much I remember from the camp and all the great memories I’ve kept dear. I am excited to share these experiences with the girls and lean on the new knowledge I have gained since. Once camp begins, I’m most looking forward to is the Fort De Soto field trip. Fieldwork is the best way to immerse yourself and absorb the most information.
-Makenzie, Science Mentor & USF College of Marine Science Master’s Student

An experience that I will always remember from when I was a camper in 2015 was being able to go on the research vessel. It was the first time I had ever worked in a lab and it was really cool to do small experiments. I really enjoyed being able to test the water and collect water samples. I hadn’t been on a research vessel ever before and I had an amazing time. It opened my eyes to the several different types of jobs and specialities in the area of Oceanography. I was interested in Oceanography before I came to camp, but after camp I knew it was what I was truly passionate about.
-Bella, Counselor

OCG is an opportunity to have hands on experience with the ocean through labs, cruises, and trips. It’s also a chance to interact with girls from all over Florida. I especially remember the labs held at the USF College of Marine Science.  We were given permission to try expensive machines used for official real-life scientific research. There were microscopes that allowed me to see all the detail on a bee and understand the construction of salt. I thoroughly enjoyed attending this camp and seeing things in a totally different perspective
-Wynn, Counselor

I was a camper in 2016 and one of the experiences I remember most was kayaking to Shell Key. We launched our tandem boats and headed out to shell key with a partner. It was so much fun and a great way to learn more about the person you were sharing your boat and paddling responsibilities. Since we were assigned to teams, this allowed for an opportunity to work with someone who I might not have met or become friends with otherwise. When we were kayaking, dolphins began swimming next to us and under our kayaks, and we were able to easily see them because the good water clarity. It was truly amazing and is still, and will probably always remain as one of my fondest memories! Once we arrived at Shell Key, we learned about birds, their feeding types, and different characteristics. The experience made me feel connected to nature and made our small beach-up feel even more meaningful.
-Savanna, Counselor

Returning as a counselor has had me reflect on the many awesome and impacting experiences during my time at camp and I’m looking forward to reliving many of them while sharing my knowledge as a counselor. One of my favorite experiences was being in the beaches activity during our “Concept Rotations” day working with the different layers of the ocean. I’m looking forward to next week being able to help campers learn about the beaches and how tides occur. I was very happy to be a part of another great summer with OCG.
-Sterling, Counselor

Characterizing shells at Shell Key

Characterizing shells at Shell Key

My favorite activity during Staff Training was our day at Shell Key. Before we launched from shore, we were given a clipboard, sheet of paper, and small painting palette. After we had paddled away from the island, we turned the bows of our kayaks towards the shores. As our last activity of the day, we dipped our paintbrushes into the ocean water and created a watercolor painting of how Shell Key looked from our boats. It was a nice opportunity to really take in and appreciate our surroundings after scurrying around looking for shells and birds. I appreciate everyone’s unique embellishments and personalized details. For example, earlier in the day we spotted a manatee and numerous cow nose rays so I incorporated those into my painting. I think this will be a really awesome memento that the campers and staff can both hold on to and look back on while connecting our science lessons to art.

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Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.