Sea Otter Savvy Youth Program
" I love going to the schools because kids are the future and the best way to enforce conservation of wildlife is to embed its principles into the minds of the next generation. I find it so fulfilling and enriching to teach and learn from children of all ages and to see what they know and what they can teach me." – Ashley Y. Sea Otter Savvy in the Classroom volunteer
Young people are not only our heirs to the planet and the challenges we leave behind, they are influencers and activists of today. They have the power and the will to make a difference now.
Sea Otter Savvy is bringing our message of awareness, appreciation, and respect for sea otters to the youth of the central California coastal counties. Our Sea Otter Savvy in the Classroom program currently offers visits to grades 3, 4, and 5 classrooms in San Luis Obispo county, and we are seeking “test” 3rd and 4th grade classes for the preliminary startup of our Monterey county school program.
Our classroom program is designed to follow California state curriculum requirements for science for 1st through 6th grades. Led by Sea Otter Savvy volunteers and staff, the 45-minute program is designed to engage students in the learning process with activities, hands-on displays, and thought-provoking discussion.
Elements of the program include:
Class presentation (15-20 minutes)
- Learn about the unique characteristics of sea otters
- How do sea otters keep warm?
- What do sea otters eat?
- How much time each day do sea otters have to sleep?
- Sea otters help maintain healthy kelp forests.
- How do scientists study the effect of people on sea otter behavior?
Group activities: the class is divided into three smaller groups which rotate through activities. (20 minutes)
Try on a blubber layer! Students get to feel for themselves how not having a protective layer of blubber makes sea otters more vulnerable to cold.Click Read More to learn how to do the blubber activity yourself!
Be a sea otter spotter! Watch step by step as a group of kayakers approach and disturb a raft of sea otters. Students become sea otter scientists as they watch and discuss real video and learn to recognize the signs of disturbance.
The kelp connection activity links sea otters, kelp, sea urchins, and other members of the kelp forest community. Students act as members of the kelp forest community web of life and actively demonstrate the important place sea otters hold in keeping that web together. We also offer an eelgrass connection version of this activity.
Conclusion and Discussion (10 minutes)
- What activities do sea otters have to do every day to survive?
- How do sea otters help kelp forests? Is that important?
- Is it important for biologists to study sea otters?
- What can students do to keep sea otters from being disturbed?
"The students got a lot of knowledge out of the presentation and were able to write about what they learned. Many were surprised by the fact we are disturbing the sea otter's sleep when we get too close. Know that you have a new group of students who will be on the lookout to help protect our sea otter friends in the bay. " — Ms. Kirby, 4th grade teacher, Monarch Grove Elementary
If you are a teacher and would like to arrange for Sea Otter Savvy to visit to your classroom, please fill out and submit the online form below.
Check out this list of vocabulary words to help your class get sea otter savvy before our visit.
NEW! Sea Otter Citizen Science Field Activities
Sea Otter Savvy staff and volunteers meet students in the field in Moss Landing, Monterey, or Morro Bay, for educational demonstrations and activities, lessons in sea otter observations, and a hands-on session collecting data on sea otters and human disturbance. Students learn about sea otter behavior, ecology, and conservation, increase their awareness about their own impacts to wildlife, and participate in scientific research. The program is designed for older students (grades 6-12), college students, or adult groups. We invite you and your class to get outside and take advantage of Central California's opportunities to observe sea otters in the wild!
We need volunteers! If you are interested in fostering wildlife stewardship in young people, have some teaching experience, and have time to volunteer at least once a month, we need you! Please visit our volunteers page and fill out our application.
"I enjoy teaching young children about all forms of California marine life, but particularly California sea otters. It's fun to watch the children's enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Hopefully our activity will instill a love of the outdoors and help create the next generation of conservationists." – Joan T. Sea Otter Savvy in the Classroom volunteer