Logo by Ben Brose, photo by MJ Munsey
Empowering Future Generations
Natural resources cover our planet. They are necessary, they are beautiful, they are invaluable, they are the source of both life and commerce. While natural resources are plentiful, access to these life sources is a privilege. To access the waters of the “Bay of Angels”, one must have the skills and equipment to swim and snorkel, a boat or “panga,” and money to cover the gas and natural park fees.
Photo by Brent McGrath
By providing snorkeling and swimming lessons, frequent “boat days,” and a participant-driven curriculum, the Aventureros program aims to educate and empower the youth of Bahía de los Ángeles (BDLA) to be the next generation of conservation leaders. Aventureros is designed to help local kids and teens to discover Bahía’s marine and terrestrial ecosystems, how humans impact these ecosystems, and the importance of balancing human needs while working toward solutions to conservation problems. We believe that with exploration comes wonder, with wonder comes inspiration, and with inspiration comes knowledge, care, pride, and protection.
Doing is learning, and The Aventureros are always getting outside to do something fun! Aventureros are discovering their marine and terrestrial ecosystems year-round. In the summertime, water exploration skills are emphasized, Including: basic swimming, water safety, snorkeling, and rowing. Wintertime brings opportunities for hiking, field trips, and campouts! Teambuilding and leadership skills are woven into every activity.
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The Aventureros are a group of young “ecowarriors” who eagerly team up with local and international conservation efforts to learn about, participate in, and promote one another’s missions. They have contributed to ongoing research on whale sharks with VSI, sea turtles with Grupo Tortuguero , microplastics with The Big Microplastic Survey. In these instances Aventureros are often trained citizen scientists who contribute local data to worldwide research efforts. The Aventureros have also worked with ProNatura and the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas to learn and grow local conservation efforts.
This is a five week summer intensive program where local youth between the ages of 7 and 16 come everyday from 10AM-2PM to learn outdoor skills, participate in conservation research projects, practice English and explore the natural wonders of Bahía. Participants not only explore the sea, but also the careers and trades of local entrepreneurs, hiking trails and their sense of community and self.
- Learning to Snorkel
- Swim Lessons
- Sea Kayaking
- Leather Working
- Cookie making and decorating
- Nutritious cooking lessons
- Sea turtle tagging (see photos)
- Microplastics surveys
“My dream for each of these kids is that if they wish to stay in Bahía, they can do that – while also supporting themselves, their families, and the natural ecosystems.”
– Meghann McDonald,
School Year Program
While 2020 presented many challenges for our regularly scheduled programs, it created an incredible opportunity for this local program to grow and thrive. We love learning from our adventurers everyday, and we have been fortunate to be able to help them transition to remote schooling during these pandemic times. Access to the internet and devices is rare in this remote town, and like so many around the world, BDLA families struggled with how to best equip their children for success. In response to school closures and the need for student support during this time we have expanded the usual summer program.
The participants are here Monday – Thursday until noon working on their remote learning for school. We have some laptops, but not enough. We provide internet, a quiet work space and school support. Then, we prepare lunch together and do a 15-30 min activity about a particular topic.
On Friday, or Super Viernes, we do an all day activity that draws upon the skills learned throughout the week. For example, one week the theme was birding. Monday – Thursday after their studies, the Aventureros learned about bird ID, morphology, data collection, and use of binoculars. Friday, they met at the station at 5 am, and we traveled together to the estuary for bird watching and identification. Imagine — a group of teenagers showing up ready and on time for an optional 5 am activity!
Other Weekly Themes:
Photo by Meghann McDonald
Photo by Josh Cross
Photo by Meghann McDonald
Photo by Brent McGrath
CALL FOR VOLUNTEER INSTRUCTORS 2021
Interested in becoming a volunteer instructor? Our spring program is February 1 through April 30th, 10AM-2PM Monday through Friday, in person at our sea station. CONTACT US and begin a conversation about how you could bring your own week-long curriculum to VSFS in Bahia de Los Angeles to share with the Aventureros during the 2021 Spring Course. We can’t wait to learn from you!
Thanks to Our Awesome 2020 Volunteer Instructors!
In 2020 we welcomed several volunteer instructors to keep our Aventureros learning and doing. These instructors were key in giving our Aventureros a well-rounded and community based learning experience. Thank you!
For several years we invited local children to join our data collection efforts when there was an open spot on a boat. Word of the wonders of the underwater world spread quickly and soon we had a small group of eager participants. With a permanent presence at the sea station, the participants expressed their interest in learning more about the world around them. With their sense for adventure evident, they have very fittingly come to call themselves “Aventureros” or the “Adventurers”.
Now, thanks to the support of our donors, the Aventureros are a permanent part of the Vermilion Sea Institute and the Vermilion Sea Field Station. Each day brings new learning for us as well as our participants, and we are so grateful for every laugh, smile, and “Aha” moment!
Your contributions help us make these dreams a reality for local youth. We make every dollar count here at VSI, and every dollar is so important. $25 feeds the Aventureros lunch for a week, $250 pays for a panga excursion for a day.
Designed by the Aventureros.
Brought to life by Ben Brose.
We have reduced our number of visiting science participants, and maintain social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention procedures. The kids’ safety is always our top priority and we will continue to adapt and modify our safety protocols to respond to changing conditions. BDLA is a small fishing town, and fortunately has suffered little impact from COVID-19.