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Bio


About Us

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Bio


About Us

 

Delphinus School of Natural History is a unique, regional, outdoor science program in San Luis Obispo, for elementary and middle school students.  Our programs are engaging, interactive, and student driven, which fosters self-expression.  

Our explorations and adventures engage all the senses, and allow each explorer to create personal relationships with nature, based on their own interests.

Although we fully embrace the tenets of the "Natural Cycle of Learning", our camps are often unstructured, but have a scientific undertone that informs and instructs in ways that encourage individual investigation.

 Our explorations  facilitates retention of scientific knowledge; as related to natural processes among plants and animals, and promotes further exploration.

We firmly believe that students who develop a deep personal relationship with nature, become environmental stewards of nature; instead of casual observers of nature. 

 
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Our Director/Program Supervisor


Our Director/Program Supervisor


  John L. Sanders

John L. Sanders

John L. Sanders

Director/Program Supervisor

It all started when...

My journey as an outdoor educator began three decades ago while I was a graduate student in marine science at UC Santa Cruz.  In collaboration with the Dean of Summer Programs, the Assistant. Superintendent for Instruction for Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, middle school instructors, and community activists, and KTEH, a PBS affiliate In San Jose, I designed a summer residence program for 6th - 8th grade students considered to be underachievers.  

As a result, the UC Santa Cruz Summer Science Program was born, with the goal of exposing students to collegiate life as a way of motivating them to excel in science courses, that would lead to college entry.

While cruising Monterey Bay on a whale watching trip, my students and I witnessed an attack by over a dozen Orcas (the largest of the dolphins), on a Grey whale and her calf.  No textbook or video could have had a similar impact on the students or ignited their interest in marine science, as this experience. It was at this moment, that I became committed to experiential, outdoor education

As an Outdoor Educator/Naturalist, for the last 15 years; with the Kern Environmental Education Program (Camp KEEP) in Cambria, California, I've interacted with thousands of 5th and 6th graders from Kern, San Luis Obispo, and Monterey Counties. 

In 2011, I founded Delphinus School of Natural History, as a regional, Summer Science-Exploration program for 6-12 year olds. Our programs focus on nature awareness, promote environmental stewardship, and offer instruction in Natural History, Animal Behavior, Estuary Science, Coastal Geology, and Freshwater Ecosystems.

Asst. Director-Lead Naturalist


Asst. Director-Lead Naturalist


  Amy Hinshaw-Zingo

Amy Hinshaw-Zingo

Amy Hinshaw-Zingo

Asst. Director/Lead Naturalist

Amy has been involved with Delphinus School since 2011. She is a welcome addition to our program.  As the Assistant Director/Lead Naturalist She is tasked with curriculum development for our "Friday Field Trips", with local schools.  She brings a wealth of knowledge in invertebrate marine biology and natural history.

 Amy has extensive experience in outdoor education, having been in the field for over a decade. Her career as a Naturalist began with the LA Unified School District at Camp Hess Kramer, in Malibu, California.  She has been with the Kern Environmental Education Program (Camp KEEP) for 10 years, as Naturalist and Medical Officer.

 Amy is also tasked with designing a Delphinus School newsletter to keep you all updated on coming events. 

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Historical Relationships


Historical relationships with the land among indigenous cultures

Historical Relationships


Historical relationships with the land among indigenous cultures

A SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAND

For indigenous people, the land is the source of life – a gift that nourishes, supports and teaches. Although indigenous peoples vary widely in their customs, culture, and impact on the land, all consider the Earth like a parent and revere it accordingly. ‘Mother Earth’ is the centre of the universe, the core of their culture, the origin of their identity as a people. She connects them with their past (as the home of ancestors), with the present (as provider of their material needs), and with the future (as the legacy they hold in trust for their children and grandchildren). In this way, indigenousness carries with it a sense of belonging to a place.

At the heart of this deep bond is a perception, an awareness, that all of life – mountains, rivers, skies, animals, plants, insects, rocks, people – are inseparably interconnected. Material and spiritual worlds are woven together in one complex web, all living things imbued with a sacred meaning. This living sense of connectedness that grounds indigenous peoples in the soil has all but disappeared among city dwellers – the cause of much modern alienation and despair.

The idea that the land can be owned, that it can belong to someone even when left unused, uncared for, or uninhabited, is foreign to indigenous peoples. In the so-called developed world, land is in the hands of private individuals, corporate investors, or the state and can be sold at the will of the owner. For indigenous peoples land is held collectively for the community (though competition between communities, and with outsiders, for rights of use, has sometimes led to conflict). According to indigenous law, humankind can never be more than a trustee of the land, with a collective responsibility to preserve it.

The predominant Western world view is that nature must be studied, dissected, and mastered and progress measured by the ability to extract secrets and wealth from the Earth. Indigenous people do not consider the land as merely an economic resource. Their ancestral lands are literally the source of life, and their distinct ways of life are developed and defined in relationship to the environment around them. Indigenous people are people of the land. This difference has often led to misunderstandings. Many have assumed that indigenous people have no sense of territory because they do not necessarily physically demarcate their lands. However, indigenous people know the extent of their lands, and they know how the land, water, and other resources need to be shared. They understand only too well that to harm the land is to destroy ourselves, since we are part of the same organism.

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Environmental Stewardship


Our philosophy mirrors that of ancient indigenous cultures, who believed "nature awareness" involved understanding the natural cycle, and its' interconnections.  Their lives were guided by what they called the "Original Instructions", which informed their interactions with the natural world.

Environmental Stewardship


Our philosophy mirrors that of ancient indigenous cultures, who believed "nature awareness" involved understanding the natural cycle, and its' interconnections.  Their lives were guided by what they called the "Original Instructions", which informed their interactions with the natural world.

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 Examining crayfish up close.

Examining crayfish up close.

 Exploring Stenner Creek while searching for Steelhead fry and crayfish.

Exploring Stenner Creek while searching for Steelhead fry and crayfish.

 Examining tidepool organisms @ Hazards Reef

Examining tidepool organisms @ Hazards Reef

 Examining uplifted rock formations formed on the ocean floor.

Examining uplifted rock formations formed on the ocean floor.

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Scientific Observations


Scientific Observations are integral to our programs.  Students learn the scientific bases of the natural cycles in nature.

Scientific Observations


Scientific Observations are integral to our programs.  Students learn the scientific bases of the natural cycles in nature.

 Beach scavenger hunts reveal much about the life cycle of birds and animals around the estuary.

Beach scavenger hunts reveal much about the life cycle of birds and animals around the estuary.

 All of the marine organisms we examine have unique adaptations for survival in their ecosystem.

All of the marine organisms we examine have unique adaptations for survival in their ecosystem.

 Searching for invertebrates in freshwater creeks, students learn a good deal about the insects that inhabit riparian ecosystems.

Searching for invertebrates in freshwater creeks, students learn a good deal about the insects that inhabit riparian ecosystems.

 Examining pillow lava @ Port San Luis, students see the effects of underwater volcanic activity.

Examining pillow lava @ Port San Luis, students see the effects of underwater volcanic activity.

 Observing animal behavior among Northern elephant seals

Observing animal behavior among Northern elephant seals

 Students learn the importance of water quality in the health of riparian habitats, and how human behavior can have both positive, and negative effects.

Students learn the importance of water quality in the health of riparian habitats, and how human behavior can have both positive, and negative effects.

 Water quality testing @ San Luis Obispo Creek to check pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and phosphates.

Water quality testing @ San Luis Obispo Creek to check pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and phosphates.