Young Observers: August 2023


by Mateo, 10th grade

The Hottest Month of All Time

Here in Southern California, the weather during the summer season is notorious for getting extremely hot. In the past few years, we have seen temperatures climb to the mid-100s here in Fullerton and surrounding areas, and in other parts of the state, such as Death Valley, it got even hotter.

This summer does not seem particularly out of the ordinary regarding heat, as the temperature has stayed at a rather average level despite humidity making it feel even hotter. However, record-high temperatures are being recorded every single day in places all over the world. In fact, during four days from July 3rd to July 6th, the record for the hottest day ever (based on average global temperature) was tied or broken each day.

This extreme heat can be deadly to people living in certain regions of the world, as areas that are not used to temperatures as high as the ones this July are not adequately equipped to handle the heat. Tools such as air conditioning systems are not available in these regions because they have never been necessary in the past. So, what is causing this unbearable heat?

Most environmental organizations agree that the recent worldwide heat waves result from a combination of increased greenhouse gas emissions and the return of a weather phenomenon known as El Niño. Greenhouse gases have been a problem for decades now, as they trap heat within the atmosphere. These gasses continue to build up more and more in the atmosphere, allowing more heat to be trapped and causing temperatures to rise.

On the other hand, El Niño is not so much of a constant threat but rather one that recurs about every two to seven years. El Niño occurs when the trade winds blowing west along the equator weaken, thus causing warmer waters to be pushed toward the East. This change in the climate can cause strange weather patterns to occur for months on end. These include dry, warm weather in the northern U.S. and flooding in the southeastern U.S. Although El Niño only dramatically impacts the Americas, it still contributes to the recent increase in global temperature. So, due to the lasting effect of greenhouse gasses and the unfortunate return of El Niño, extreme heat waves are burning up the world and threatening the lives of millions.

The sad truth is that it will likely only grow worse in the years to come unless more efforts are made to thwart the progress of climate change and global warming. In the meantime, apply sunscreen and stay safe while in the sun as you enjoy the rest of your summer.

Summer Travels

by Jules, 8th grade

The Garden island

Aloha! Greetings from Kauai, one of the eight Hawaiian Islands located in the Pacific Ocean.

This summer, I visited Kauai, known as Garden Island, because of its vivid and lush landscapes. Here are some interesting and fun experiences in Kauai. Kauai’s majestic landscapes range from tropical rainforests to vivid blue waters. There are plentiful thrilling adventures to get your adrenaline pumping.

The tropical rainforests feature a Zipline over cascading waterfalls and forest canopies. You can also hike numerous trails, like the famous 11-mile Kalalau trail on the beautiful Nā Pali Coast. Kauai’s majestic waters are perfect for wading and relaxing in, but they also have plenty of potential for adventures.

Hanalei Bay, the most popular spot for surfing in Kauai, is known to have large swells and excellent surfing conditions. Kauai is also known as one of the best places in the world to snorkel, with its clear water and reefs. Though the Pacific Ocean’s appeal will prepare you to jump in, there are also many different water activities to experience in Kauai’s many rivers and manmade bodies of water. If you’re up for a ride, Kayaking along the Wailua River will be perfect for you, with its path winding through the vast jungle and streaming waterfalls.

Another exciting experience is mountain tubing through Kauai’s old sugarcane canals, where you will ride through remote parts of the island. Though there are plenty of existing adventures in Kauai, the island’s natural beauty entices many visitors. Here are some of nature’s beautiful landmarks to see in Kauai.

Shipwreck Beach, located in South Kauai, is made up of limestone sea cliffs that have been eroded for millions of years by sand, wind, and salt. Opaekaa Falls, a stunning 150 ft waterfall in the West Kauai Region, is a popular spot because of its easy access and flowing year around. In Kokee state park is the Puu o Kila Lookout, a magnificent view of the Kalalau Valley and the Alakai Swamp.

The Puu o Kila lookout can be found in West Kauai. The most popular place to visit in Kauai is the Nā Pali Coast state park in the North and West Kauai Regions. You can see breathtaking views of the Nā Pali Coastline in the park. This view can be accessed by land, sea, and air. In Kauai, you can take adventures and experience new things that are great to get outside your comfort zone and spend quality time with your family. Some of my favorite things to do in Kauai are hanging out at the beach, eating shaved ice, and, most importantly, having fun and relaxing, creating memories in paradise! Let’s explore the world together.

Preserving Beauty

by Irene, 12th grade

The Wild West

This past summer, my family and I trekked the deserts of Phoenix and Utah. Embarking on an extensive road trip that would span over 50 hours of pure driving, we followed a five-day itinerary that included a visit to the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Monument Valley, and Bryce Canyon. The sweltering heat and the intense wind made it a physically exhausting trip but, nonetheless, an enlightening experience. With seldom access to functioning internet, it would be no exaggeration to say that I was literally “disconnected” for the next few days of my adventure. This, however, allowed me the privilege to truly embrace the scenic views and value the rather grueling hikes without distractions from social media and bustling cities. And more than anything, I appreciated the opportunity to learn about the vast history of the land and the people occupying these regions.

On the third day of our travels, we took a private guided tour led by a middle-aged man, whose name I, unfortunately, do not know, through the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Located within the Navajo Nation, this valley flaunts unique sandstone buttes and vivid colors. Our incredible guide, a member of the Navajo community himself, took us through areas within the park that are otherwise restricted to other guests. He informed us of the relevance and history of each of the buttes, sang us a memorable Navajo “travel song” in his native tongue, and encouraged us to immerse ourselves in nature.

This travel experience reinforced the importance of preserving these beautiful cultures and understanding the impacts that tourism places on these local indigenous communities. After visiting these beautiful parks, I have more reason than ever to advocate for the rights of indigenous people and the reservations they inhabit. I look forward to exploring the history of the Navajo Nation, and for all the readers, my best advice for any vacation goes: “Study and appreciate the culture.”

Rosie LeeFeatured Pet

by Rosie, 7th grade

Meet Darcy!

Five years old, Darcy is a husky who has two different colored eyes. One is the soulful, sinking, charming shimmer of blue, and the other is a steady, down-to-earth, earthy tone of honey-brown. Energetic and bright, Darcy will thrive in an environment where her mind will be stimulated and exercised. Excruciatingly polite around adults, she is looking for a home where she will be the only pet. (No division of attention for her!)

Animal ID#: A1812968

Visit or Call (714) 935-6848 to schedule an appointment today! (Walk-ins welcome)


by Lukas, 9th grade

Summer Wishes

Staring at the swelling waves crash along the shore, Yearning for summer forevermore.

The blissful peace of the water, Cannot be in your presence much longer.

The thought of school torments your mind;

Run to the sea for comfort;

mist sprays your face, Salty water provides a rough embrace.

School thoughts briefly dismissed.