At Point Fermin Outdoor Education Center, we offer LAUSD students an ocean experience that is far different from everyday life in the big city. Our Science at Sea: Tall Ships Program is high in impact and designed to help children develop problem-solving and leadership skills and to increase self-esteem through team building experiences that are often difficult to access in the classroom. These skills and experiences are necessary to motivate students to stay in school and to become healthy, productive adults who better understand their personal responsibilities as involved and informed members of their community.

Students are provided with real-life challenges not readily available in the traditional classroom. The program takes place aboard the Los Angeles Marine Institute’s (LAMI) twin brigantines, the Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson, two 110-foot classically rigged tall ships (www.lamitopsail.org).

Children explore and gain a better understanding of ocean and marine environments through “hands-on” STEM experiences while aboard the vessels. They raise and trim the sails, stand lookout in the bow of a rolling ship, practice charting and navigation, take the helm and steer the course they’ve set, collect ocean water samples for analysis, and even climb the rigging to furl sails.

This powerful, unique experience fosters self-respect, patience, self-discipline, integrity and tenacity while encouraging students to gain a better understanding of themselves in relation to STEM and the marine environment.