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Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543

News

Volume 65 Number 3

Marine biology students work on building sea lions a new barge

by Mary Dawson and Samantha Gordon - 2014-12-18

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Marine bio classes at Chadwick recently had the opportunity in taking one huge step in saving California sea lions in King Harbor.

Sea lions are animals that need to sleep, warm-up, escape predators, and socialize. They utilize very specific spaces to do all of these activities, haul-out spaces. During the summer, the haul-out space in King harbor was destroyed during a storm, leaving the sea lions with no dock. Without a dock to haul out on, sea lions have had to turn to other areas, including boats inside the harbor, so the sea lions can continue to sleep, warm up, socialize, and escape predators.

“When we did our lab on sea lion behavior in King Harbor, we saw the obvious need for more haul-out space for the sea lions. They were all piled up on one buoy that was clearly not big enough for all of them to comfortably sleep and interact,” senior Jillian Solberg said.

After seeing the need for the dock, marine bio teacher Amy Hill and her class decided to take action. Working with Chadwick golf coach Mike Galloway (who owns a boat in King Harbor), they made a plan to try and rebuild the small dock that sank before. The plan includes making the necessary adjustments, such as the use of air boxes to support the dock, to prevent it from sinking like the original one did.

“Our hope would be to see lots of happy, sleeping sea lions on the new dock, and lots of happy people in the harbor who hopefully have a greater understanding of the other animals that share our coast with us,”Hill said.

Before they could build a dock however, they needed permission to do so. On December 5th, Hill, along with eight students, presented the proposal to build a new dock to Redondo Beach Town Councilman Bill Brand and several marina executive directors. After the presentation, which included many questions and thoughtful discussion, the group received approval to the reconstruct the old barge (place where sea lions used to haul out).

Now that they have the approval and they have the plan, the class is working on writing a grant proposal to get funds for the materials needed to build the dock.

The first unit Hill teaches her marine bio class is all about stewardship, the commitment to taking responsibility for a place, and environmental ethics, which include the moral relationships between humans and the world around us. This save the sea lions project exemplifies these first two themes. The class is exercising stewardship by making a commitment to King Harbor by making sure the place provides an adequate living environment. They are being environmentally ethical by realizing that they are the ones who have studied the sea lions in King Harbor and have evidence that it isn’t the best living conditions for those sea lions.

“The class’s compassion for the sea lions, respectful communication of our plan to those in authority, and courage in taking immediate action have all been powerful and inspiring to see” Hill said.


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Article Keywords:

sea, king, harbor, space, dock, lion, hill, class, plan


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