Something big is coming from a galaxy far, far away… Awaken the force in you on Saturday, September 2nd, from . Meet members of the 501st and Rebel Legions. Compare the natural history of our home planet to those of the Star Wars universe.
All Star Wars Day actives are included with the price of admission and free for FHSU students.
Hays, KS – Most of us find intrinsic joy in being out in nature, and for some, thinking about the science of the natural world brings them even more joy. Middle and high school students who are fascinated by science topics like why there are so many species or how animals live in severe environments can satisfy that curiosity at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History Science Camps. Each summer, David Levering, Director of Education at the Sternberg, leads camps in which students can immerse themselves in paleontology and biology.
The camps are equal parts education and adventure. Camp students have explored the sparkling white sands in the Chihuahuan Desert, stunning rock formations at Arches National Park, and areas full of fossils right here in western Kansas.
Over the past three years, the Sternberg has offered Field Naturalist Camp and Paleontology Expedition Camp for middle school students, and Southwest Biology Camp and Sternberg Paleontology Camp for high school students. The two paleontology camps make use of the rich fossil resources in Kansas, while Field Naturalist Camp takes students to Utah, and Southwest Biology Camp take students New Mexico.
The benefits of attending one of the camps are many. Jackson Stanton, a high school student from Hays who participated in the Southwest Biology Camp said, “I have found a calling for my life.” Stanton plans to pursue a career in herpetology, the study of amphibians and reptiles.
For Emiri White, a middle school student who attended the Paleontology Expedition Camp, getting to find and identify fossils the way a paleontologist would was a “great learning experience.” White added, “That was probably the part I most enjoyed about the camp.”
The popularity of the camps is due to how they are structured. Camp students learn science techniques by being allowed to try them out for themselves. It’s not uncommon for a camp student to hold a wild bat or dig out part of a mosasaur fossil – under supervision, of course.
At first some students may feel a bit unsure or uncomfortable working outside, holding animals, or operating equipment. Those feelings quickly fade as students get practice doing these new techniques in a safe environment. After returning from camp, students reported feeling more confident when approaching new challenges.
Levering and the other camp instructors welcome and encourage questions from participants, and hold regular discussions to enrich each student’s understanding of science. These conversations complement the field-based portions of the camps by building the educational foundation behind the activities in which students take part. “This [structure] sets our program apart from the way other programs operate,” Levering said.
The instructors also talk about college and career paths – topics that are especially timely for the high schoolers. Christopher Noll, a student from California, participated in the Sternberg Paleontology Camp and didn’t expect to hear about these topics, but commended the instructors for talking about them. “I am better prepared for college in general having spent . . . two weeks at camp,” Noll said.
In addition to the regular biology and paleontology camps in 2017, the Sternberg will offer Expedition: Ecuador Camp, featuring a trip to the Andes Mountains during which students will observe and document the unique plant and animal life in the region.
Maggie Wolf of Kansas City is planning on attending the Expedition: Ecuador Camp. Ecuador is home to hundreds of amphibian and reptile species, hundreds of mammal species, and over a thousand bird species (many of which, Wolf is eagerly looking forward to seeing). Getting to explore an area with such biodiversity is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the camp students. Wolf said, “I’ve never been to an area like where we will be going and the animals will be entirely new to me, so I can’t wait to see all there is to see!”
Next summer will be Wolf’s third year in a row of attending one of the Sternberg Museum Science camps. In fact, a number of students – “camp veterans” – come back year after year. Wolf said that she benefited from returning because she was able to ask “more informed and thoughtful questions” about the topics that interested her. Arabelle Konrad, another camp veteran from Michigan, said having prior knowledge from the previous year made getting into the swing of things easier the second time around. “I still remembered the fundamentals and I knew what to expect when out in the field,” Konrad said.
The students also enjoy seeing friends they’ve made in previous years and creating new friendships. “We all are interested in biology,” Wolf said. That common interest keeps the camp students learning and growing together.
Registration for the 2017 Sternberg Museum Science Camps is now open at sternberg.fhsu.edu/active-learning/camps. If you are interested in supporting the camps, visit the donations page: sternberg.fhsu.edu/active-learning/camps/donate-scholarships/
Please take just a few minutes to tell us what you think about the science camps we are currently offering as well as what camps you would like to see in the future! We want to make sure the best camps are offered based on your opinions and the wants of you and/or your kids!
Click here to read the official Press Release!
On April 1, 2016, the Sternberg Museum launched a fundraising campaign to raise money to renovate the fossil preparation lab at the Museum.
To kick things off, we brought in world famous paleontologist Dr. Jack Horner to give public lecture on the Fort Hays State University campus. Dr. Horner gave an enthralling talk, “Dinosaurs of the Past, the Present, and the Future”, to an enthusiastic audience of all ages. During his talk, he explained how our view of dinosaurs has changed over the past 100 years, and how our view of dinosaurs will change in the very near future thanks to genetic engineering. Much of the research presented on dinosaur biology and behavior is the result of Dr. Horner’s impressive career, and a result of his involvement with the Jurassic Park franchise. After his 60-minute talk, Dr. Horner stayed for another hour, answering every question from the audience!
The following evening, the Museum hosted its Inaugural Museum Gala; Dr. Horner joined us for a second night as the special guest of honor. Featuring dinner, drinks, dancing, live animals, a silent auction, and demonstrations, it was a night to remember! Museum members, FHSU faculty and staff, and community members came out to support the Museum and have a ball. With all proceeds from both nights benefitting the prep lab renovations, we are on our way to an enlarged and improved space for hands-on learning, visitor interactions, student training, hosting workshop, and conducting scientific research! If you couldn’t join us for the Gala this year, we hope to see you next year – it will be a ROARing good time!
The first signs of spring are in the air, and that means the Howard Reynolds Nature Trails are stirring back to life. The nature trails are a great place to come relax, let the kids explore (and burn some energy), and get some fresh air. As we get further into spring and summer, all kinds of plants and animals will begin to arrive, emerge, and become active. From the gorgeous flowers to the birds, bugs, and lizards, the nature trails at the Sternberg Museum are a great place to spend some time outside as the weather warms up!
The Sternberg Museum of Natural History offers many exciting and unique volunteer opportunities for members of our community. Current volunteer possibilities include: Education assistants and on call tour guides, exhibits and archival work, and light administrative work.
The museum volunteer program is open to all interested individuals, retirees, working persons, or students. The only requirement is that volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Younger volunteers may be considered on a case-by-case basis, but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Our volunteers come to us with a diversity of skills and interest. Whether you have an interest in natural history or just enjoy working with people, there are numerous opportunities to expand your horizons. Experience is not required. We will ensure that you have the training and support needed.
Contact Museum Outreach Coordinator, Ian Trevethan at (785) 639-4738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
This exhibition explores the science and sensation of the Galápagos—the “cradle of evolutionary biology.” This remote archipelago inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, serves as living laboratory for ongoing scientific research, and became the very first UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Sternberg Museum hosts the North American premiere of a new exhibit developed by the Zoological Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Opening Fall 2016.
Once you’ve seen the exhibit, go see the Galápagos Islands themselves. Join our special 10-day eco-travel adventure. You’ll hike, bike, kayak & snorkel your way to buy drugs from Canadian pharmacy on topcanadianpharmacy.org, visiting each of the 4 inhabited islands. Stay in quaint hotels and dine in local restaurants off the beaten path. Climb an active volcano, explore an ancient lava tunnel and learn about the delicate environment from an authorized Naturalist Guide. View unforgettable landscapes and enjoy many up-close encounters with diverse wildlife. Departing in Spring 2017.