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 Week of Nature: Creeks, Wildlife, and Whales

A group of 15 fourth- and fifth-graders who will be attending Camp Cuyamaca next year received scholarships March 20 because of their creative and well-written essays about positive experience they've had outdoors.

To celebrate nature, outdoor education and these creative students, we're going to feature three of their essays each day this week. Here are three more:

Divya Vetticaden
Torrey Hills Elementary School
Del Mar Union School District

The sun beat down on my neck, and the early morning light filtered through the heavily wooded trees that were behind my backyard.  The plethora of leaves on the many trees were just turning orange and golden signaling fall.  The sun, just rising, was orange and glowing with radiance.  Birds twittered and sang, hidden in the trees.  I stopped for a moment to take in the beauty surrounding me.

Suddenly, I heard a faint gurgling noise.  "A creek!"  I exclaimed with growing excitement.  I trudged up a hill and pushed aside some long, whippet-thin branches.  What I saw took my breath away!

It was a beautiful, picturesque scene.  A long, winding creek, so clear you could see the glimmering fish, and the small tadpoles within.  Lush trees cast a shadow around the creek and golden light danced on the crystal clear waters.  To top it all off a majestic towering stag stood at the creek's bank, surveying its surroundings.  Then, in one graceful motion, the stag bowed its head and drank from the creek.  Finished, the stag drew itself up to full height and galloped away.

This moment changed my life forever.  Now, I appreciate nature more than I used to.  I'd like to go to sixth grade camp because I want to experience more moments like these and "unplug."  I realize that we, as people, spend more time nowadays on our electronics instead of stopping and looking at the natural beauty that's right in front of our eyes.  That is why I would like to go to sixth grade camp.


Shreya Choksi
Torrey Hills Elementary School
Del Mar Union School District

"Aaah, just smell the fresh air, feel the cool breeze," spoke my dad, with a big smile plastered on his face.  "That's the third time you've said it," I groaned.  It was summer and my mom, dad, brother and I were in Utah going hiking.

"I really don't see what the big deal is.  Disneyworld would have been a much better vacation," I complained, as we strolled down the path.  My mom put a hand on my shoulder, "Honey, just trust us, you'll love hiking."  I didn't believe my mom.  All we had seen so far were two birds.  We continued walking, swatting hungry flies.

Suddenly, my dad stopped in his tracks.  He put a finger to his lips, then whispered, "We are here, this is where the adventure begins and everyone needs to be silent."  We tiptoed in silence down the path, until we heard a rustle in a tree, and two brightly colored birds popped out.  I let out a gasp of excitement and my dad clapped his hand over my mouth.  "Shush, this is just the beginning," my dad hissed.  Another two birds came out and they began singing a melodious song of chirps.

Soon things began happening all at once, a deer came out, and began eating grass, brightly colored fish started jumping in nearby ponds, and delicate butterflies with intricate designs on their wings perched on flowers.  A happy feeling surged through me as I took in all of my surroundings and I couldn't have felt more content.

This wonderful experience was important to me because if I had not gone on this hike, I would have never found my hidden love for nature, and all Mother Earth's creations.  Because of this, I feel 6th grade camp is the perfect opportunity to restore that emotion, the surging, happy feeling hidden inside me, which fulfills my desire for nature.


Galen Heuer
Capri Elementary School
Encinitas Union School District

It was a cold, brisk day at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and my mom, dad, sister and I were going whale watching.  It was my first time seeing whales and my first time on a large boat, so I was thrilled.  I wondered if I would get seasick because my dad had told me earlier that he did sometimes.  We got on the boat, with about 15 other groups, and I ran to the front.

"Where are all the whales?"  I asked my mom.  She told me that we would see some as soon as we got moving.  Suddenly, I felt a vibration under my feet, and heard the humming of the engine.  "We're starting!"  I shouted as I ran to the very front of the ship.  I gazed out at the waves lapping against the sides of the boat with a "splat, splat" noise.  The wind blew my hair off of my face.  We were off!

As the ship bounced on the small waves, I saw a whale spout shooting up from the surface of the water.  The ship headed toward it.  I was excited to see my first whale.

"Look!" someone shouted.  I squinted in the direction they were pointing and was amazed to see the giant tail of a humpback whale jutting out from between the waves.  BOOM!  The tail made a loud noise as it hit the water.  Another tail rose from the water, and then a huge grey spotted head!  I stared at it in awe.

I was so distracted that I almost didn't hear the captain's voice over the loudspeaker.  "Blue whale, to starboard!"  I whipped around to see if it was true.  It was!  I saw a giant blue back rising out of the sea like a giant slab of rock.  The blue whale, the largest animal in the world!  The back was followed by an enormous majestic tail.  How could this day get any better?

On our way back to the harbor, the sun started to go down.  The sky turned red and orange.  The water was black and the waves were small.  In the water of San Francisco Bay, hundreds of orange jellyfish glowed in the dark like lanterns.  I couldn't stop thinking about how much fun I had and how I couldn't wait to go again.

I would love to go to Outdoor Education so I can have more awesome experiences in nature like the one I had that day.