Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Science Camp 2009

It's the second week of June, so it is time for the American Museum of Science and Energy's Science Camp. This is our 20th year for these camps. I've done every day of them except 3 (a few years ago)! Science Camp is full of adventures each year, we never know what will happen! The camp is held at the historic Freels Cabin on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The cabin was built in 1803 and is still in remarkably good shape. It is located on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge. There are several hundred acres of undeveloped land, a pond and the lake surrounding the cabin. What a wonderful place for 21 rising 5th - 7th graders to explore!

Each day we start out by doing an activity called Habitat Hunters. The campers go to a different habitat each day and look for animals or signs of them. I take a group to the field where we look for signs of deer, rabbits, lots of different insects, etc. Another counselor takes a group to the pond and lake. We set a turtle trap in the pond the night before (with smoked Vienna sausages!) and see what gets caught overnight. Yesterday and today we caught several turtles, including this little Eastern Mud Turtle (left). When I looked it up in my reptile ID book, it didn't look quite the same, the one in the book had been cleaned up and wasn't covered in algae!

Today we had a museum employee who is a part-time taxidermist come out and talk to the campers. These two boys couldn't resist trying on the bison's horns that he brought!

We also had 2 K-9 officers from the Oak Ridge Police Department come out and talk to the kids about their 4-legged partners. The bite sleeve attack demonstrations were a big hit with the kids! I wore one a few years ago and had the dog bite it, that was an experience I wasn't willing to do again, even for the sake of science! :0

Yesterday one of the girls found this Octagonal Casebearer Moth larva (right) dangling from a silk thread near the cabin porch. The kids were a bit taken aback when I told them the caterpillar makes its home out of tiny bits of its poop (called "frass") and silk! Click on the photo and you'll be able to see the fine craftcaterpillarship (I really can't say craftsMANship!) put into the case. :) The caterpillar is stretching out of the case trying to flip itself back over.

I'll share more camp experiences later on in the week!

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