Anacapa School Collaborates with Santa Barbara Channelkeeper to Explore Mohawk Reef

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Joined by a mutual respect of learning about and protecting our local ocean, and desire to explore it deeper, Anacapa’s robotics class was invited to come aboard Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s research boat and cruise out to Mohawk Reef where Anacapa released their OpenROV for the first time. The experience did not disappoint, as the students could watch on their computer from the boat to see the ROV showing them a healthy marine environment, with many fish, lobsters and even a large spider crab that appeared to “attack” the ROV.

Part of Anacapa’s curriculum incorporates an annual, three-day intensive, critical thinking Synthesis Unit and the topic for this year was Ocean Health. During the three days, the students received up-close and personal interaction with a wide variety of professional and field experts on the topic. In keeping with the Ocean Health theme, the Robotics class took the opportunity to construct a submersible ROV. During the unit, Penny Owens, Education and Outreach Director for Channelkeeper, was one of the guest speakers, and with word of our new ROV, a partnership was born.

“Our hope with our Robotics program has always been to connect with people with the common goal of restoring the health of the marine environment,” said Bryan Anderson, Anacapa School’s Robotics, Calculus and Algebra Teacher. “We feel very fortunate to have this partnership with Channelkeeper to help us to utilize our ROV and educate our students in a unique way.”

“Channelkeeper is thrilled to offer this opportunity for Anacapa School students to experience being out on the water, test out their ROV, and to make a connection to our underwater ecosystems,” said Penny Owens. “Since most people are inspired to protect what they know and love, this firsthand experience on the water will strengthen and inspire our youth to better protect the ocean.”

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, a local grassroots environmental group that works to protect and restore the Channel and its watersheds, is offering marine conservation boat trips to local youth. The goal of these educational trips is to increase ocean awareness and stewardship in the community by getting more people out on the water to explore the extraordinary natural wonders off our shore and inspiring them to do their part to protect the marine environment.

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational, WASC-accredited, college preparatory day school for junior high and high school students in grades 7 through 12. Founded in 1981, Anacapa enjoys the best student-teacher ratio of any school, public or private, in Santa Barbara at its historic campus located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara.

Wes, 10th grade, holds the OpenROV.

Wes, 10th grade, holds the OpenROV.

Students control the OpenROV from a laptop on the Channelkeeper boat.

Students control the OpenROV from a laptop on the Channelkeeper.

Students from the robotics class gets ready to launch the ROV, along with Headmaster Gordon Sichi and robotics teacher Bryan Anderson.

Students from the robotics class after a successful afternoon on the water.

Luis, 8th grade, helps guide the ROV into the water.

Luis, 8th grade, helps guide the ROV into the water.