We will be driving from Hays, Kansas to Arches National Monument in Utah! On our way, we will explore wildlife and ecosystems from prairie to mountains to rocky deserts. We will camp at different locations along the way, and use tools such as GPS units, black lights, spotting scopes, and aspirators (tiny insect vacuums) to learn about how professional scientists investigate the natural world. Students will explore how plant and animal life interacts in remarkable, unique ways bursting with opportunities for discovery! We will also introduce essential concepts in ecology and evolution that are key to understanding how living systems and organisms work, change, and interact. Along the way, we will emphasize discussion of ideas and critical thinking skills, helping students build knowledge as well as mental tools to tackle complex subjects. This camp is perfect for any middle school students with a love for wildlife and the outdoors. We can’t wait for you to join us!
Tuition is $660 per member, and $740 per non-member.
For questions about the Sternberg Science Camps programs, contact Education Director David Levering at DALevering@FHSU.edu, or 785-639-5249.
– Student applicants must be ages 11 to 13 as of June 2018.
– 1 page (2-3 paragraph) letter of interest from the student applicant.
– Letter of recommendation from the non-family member for the student applicant.
– Financial aid application paperwork (if applying for financial assistance).
– Complete online registration.
– Submit correctly filled out, signed waiver and release form.
To understand the differences we observe in organisms, an understanding of evolution is absolutely necessary. Students are presented with an initial lesson on how populations of organisms evolve, and how selection over time can lead to new species. We continue lessons on evolutionary biology throughout the program, always relating back to the essential concepts of heredity, selection, and relating genes to physical features. From beak shape and feather colors in birds to the shapes flowers, we will be discussing evolutionary biology frequently, in great depth.
Studying the interconnected nature of organisms to each other and their environment is crucial for understanding the structure of that ecosystem, and why organisms have evolved as they have. Within the extremely broad field of ecology, we make sure to touch on the following during the program, tailored for abilities of a junior-high student audience:
– Population ecology
– Community ecology
– Niche ecology
– Trophic ecology
– Behavioral ecology
Human environmental impacts are a huge concern, even in the typically arid lands of the southwest. The majority of our hikes and exploring will take place in habitats set aside to protect them from destruction and pollution. Even still, human environmental impacts can still be easily found in all the ecosystems we visit. Students will participate in lessons and discussions about the importance of habitat and biodiversity conservation, including how to approach these topics in the 21st century.
A majority of our field lessons and exploring will require 2-4 hour hikes through the rocky desert, with a lot of heat and bright sun. In order to stay safe and healthy, students will receive instruction on properly packing their backpack, optimal attire, hydration, footwear, use of sunscreen, self-awareness and group safety. Weather in the desert is typically hot during the day, and cooler at night (and we do go out on night hikes to look for nocturnal wildlife – owls and foxes and kangaroo rats!). Preparation is key, and we will make sure your student has the information to be prepared.
Taking initiative, staying organized, and effectively communicating are all important skills for working with a team in the field. Over the course of the program, students are coached on developing these areas. With guided opportunities to lead portions of field work, students are encouraged to develop their voices, organize team efforts, and build confidence in their abilities.
From staying hydrated to dealing with bad weather, students are introduced to the hazards of field work and how to effectively, safely deal with them. Staff provide lessons on safety through discussion, making sure students have a clear understanding of problems that can arise and how to effectively avoid them, or mitigate their effects afterwards.
Knowing some basics of camping is essential to field work. Scientific field work is often done in remote or semi-remote locations, making camping skills necessary to being able to do field work at all!
– Putting up tents
– Camp cooking
– Setting up and breaking down camp
– Leave No Trace strategies
– Efficiently loading and unloading field vehicles
– Environmental injury and illness mitigation
– Building and safely managing a campfire