Join us at Pillar Point in Princeton, Half Moon Bay, where MSI instructors will guide students over wet and rocky terrain on a mission to find and identify an amazing array of tidepool creatures. Some have shells, some have spines, some have scales, and most can be touched and handled by students! We can provide instructors for up to 60 students. The program is 2.5 hours in length and must be scheduled according to the tides. Students in third grade and above can participate in MSI's on-going intertidal monitoring program.
During this hands on exploration students will see animals from several different environments between the high and low zones. These are regions of constant and radical change. The intertidal zones extend from the highest wave-splashed rocks down to levels that are only uncovered by extreme low tides. There are five basic strata:
The splash zone is the uppermost zone that is closest to the cliff area, and is only partially covered during very high tides. It receives wind blown spray, which moistens animals such as blue-green algae, periwinkles, limpets and acorn barnacles. This area may have large rocks and boulders, which during winter storms can pound the animals at this level.
The middle tide zone covers the area between the high tide zone and the “zero” tide line. This zone is less physically stressful, as exposure may last for 12 hours or less. The animals found in this zone are adapted to the daily tidal rhythms and may actually require it to survive.
The low tide zone is often only exposed during times of the new or full moon. It is during this period of the lunar cycle that the tides are most extreme. Consequently, the low tide zone is exposed during only the lowest tides. This zone is often the largest and has a complex diversity of animals competing for food and room to grow.
The subtidal zone, as the name implies, is almost never uncovered by water; therefore animals that are unable to tolerate air exposure for any length of time live in this area. The space is crowded with animals and competition for food and space is fierce.
This is an adventure your students will be sure to remember! Pair this program with a Discovery Voyage, Inland Voyage, or Ocean Lab for a comprehensive learning unit on marine environments!
2.5 hour programs
Up to 30 students -- 2 instructors -- $300 ~ $350
31 to 45 students -- 3 instructors -- $390 ~ $440
46 to 60 students -- 4 instructors -- $490 ~ $540
(sliding scale depending on need)