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What does a typical ESF SCIENCE camp week look like?
ESF Science Corps

A) Example schedule for a typical summer camp week

Day

 Location

Programs

Monday

Elmwood Park

Theme
Global topics focusing on energy, climate change, ecological impact and consumption

Stewardship Projects
Dr. Chris Nomura’s biodegradable plastics experiment

Activities
Animal name game
Global heat trap
Ecological footprint
Capture your earth
Setting track plate
Nature journaling
Biodegradable plastics experiment
“Ticket out” evaluation

Tuesday

Elmwood Park

Theme
Terrestrial and water ecology of Elmwood Park

Stewardship Projects
Dr. Ted Endreny “Stomping after Stormwater” experiment, Stream survey exercise

Activities
“Ticket out” discussion of previous day
Check track plate
“Stomping after Stormwater” experiment
Long haul
Stream survey exercise
Nature journaling
“Ticket out” evaluation

Wednesday

Montezuma Audubon Center

 

Theme
Montezuma Audubon Center program focusing on importance of wetlands for migratory and residential birds

Stewardship Projects
Pond exploration with Montezuma Audubon Center

Activities
“Ticket out” discussion of previous day
Migration game
Pond exploration
Collect insects
Feed live animals and nature journaling
“Ticket out” evaluation

Thursday

Onondaga Lake

Theme
Onondaga Lake ecology and wildlife

Stewardship Projects
Fish exploration with Onondaga Lake Stewards

Activities
“Ticket out” discussion of previous day
Onondaga Lake history and pollution history
Onondaga Lake fish exploration
Nature journaling
Fishing instruction and experience
“Ticket out” evaluation

Friday

SUNY-ESF campus

Theme
Thinking globally, thinking locally, and envisioning yourself as an environmental professional

Activities
“Stomping After Stormwater” experiment wrap-up
“Biodegradable plastics” presentation and experiment wrap-up
Liquid nitrogen ice cream
Green house tour and scavenger hunt
Journal wrap-up, presentation of awards
Final “Ticket out” evaluation

B) Activity Descriptions
Several activities were adapted from Project Learning Tree© (http://www.plt.org/) and Project Wild© (http://www.projectwild.org/
)

Monday- Global theme

Global topics focusing on energy, climate change, ecological impact and consumption.  This day will get students to focus on and understand the greater global community.

Animal Name Game

An icebreaker name game that will help the students warm up, get comfortable, and learn each others names.

Global Heat Trap

A game designed for the purpose of teaching the cause and effect of global warming.

Ecological Footprint

A game that is modified from the Ecological Footprint computer model where students can see and realize how many earths it takes to support their daily choices and consumption.

Capture Your Earth

A game modified from “Capture the Flag” where each team tries to place an ecological footprint on the other teams’ earth. We will discuss afterwards why each consumer choice leaves a carbon footprint on the earth.

Track Plate

This activity is a way for the students to see what creatures visit the park at night and to see evidence of life through tracks left behind.

Nature Journaling

Nature journaling activity will either reflect the ecological footprint game or will be notes reflecting the biodegradable plastics experiment.

 

Biodegradable Plastics

This is Dr. Chris Nomura’s (ESF) experiment where we will be looking at the degradable rate of corn starch packing peanuts vs. Styrofoam peanuts. The students will pick the substrate they are interested in working with (i.e. soil, sand, gravel, water, leaves) to see which substance biodegrades the peanuts faster.

“Ticket Out”

This is part of our evaluation where everyday we ask a poignant question about the students place within the environment. We hope that through this method we will be able to gauge where the students are within their understanding of the activities. 

Tuesday- Local theme

Taking a look in our own back yard, students will have a great understanding of the local terrestrial and aquatic ecology that make Elmwood Park in Syracuse, NY a local green gem!

“Ticket out” Wrap up of following day

We are hoping to begin each day with a quick follow up on the “Ticket out” that was written the day before.  This follow up will be a way to keep the communication flowing between counselors and students and to update the group on some of the more poignant thoughts expressed within the following days “Ticket out”.

Track Plate

In the morning we will open up with a nature trek to the track plate to see what creatures have visited during the night. This activity is meant to help the students take the global scope of Monday by beginning to look locally within their own backyard on Tuesday.

Stomping after Stormwater

This is Dr. Ted Endreny’s (ESF) experiment where we will be looking at the effects and the importance that stormwater has in urban areas and how it affects the Onondaga watershed.

Long Haul

This activity is used to open the student’s eyes to the fact that fresh drinking water is not always available or easily accessible in other areas of the world. This is a lead up activity to get the students warmed up for the stream ecology program.

Stream Survey Exercise

Students will have the chance to get up close and personal with all aspects of the stream in Elmwood park.  We will be exploring where the stream comes from, where it is going, as well as the water chemistry, life found in and around the stream as well as how life such as plants,  insects, and fish can be biological indicators helping us to understand the health of the stream.

Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling activity will hopefully reflect the work done and data taken from the Stream Ecology Exercise.

 

“Ticket out”

This is part of our evaluation where everyday we ask a poignant question about the students place within the environment. We hope that through this method we will be able to gauge where the students are within their understanding of the activities. 

Wednesday – Wetland ecology at the MAC

Montezuma Audubon Center program focusing on importance of wetlands for migratory and residential birds/Carpenter’s Brook Fish Hatchery program ties in the exploration of restocking the local fish populations within Elmwood Park and Onondaga Lake as well as gives the students a visual and a tour of a working and successful fish hatchery.

“Ticket out” Wrap up of following day

We are hoping to begin each day with a quick follow up on the “Ticket out” that was written the day before.  This follow up will be a way to keep the communication flowing between counselors and students and to update the group on some of the more poignant thoughts expressed within the flowing days “Ticket out”.

Migration Game

This activity teaches students about the perils and rewards of migration for wetland birds.

Pond Exploration

This activity will take the students to a wetland pond where there are many macro invertebrates and vertebrates to explore; the follow up will include identification and microscope use.  We will also use this time to tie the Steam Ecology exercise to Pond Ecology and look at the similarities and differences between the two and why.

Collect Insects

This activity will be a two fold activity where the students will utilize insect nets to understand the diversity of insect populations within a field as well as collect edible insects for the live turtles, frogs and salamanders that the MAC hold for viewing purposes.

Feed and sketch live animals in Nature Journal

The MAC has expressed how lively the animals are when fed and we thought that it would be great to give the students a chance to connect with these animals through feeding and then tie in Nature Journaling to reflect that connection.

“Ticket out”

This is part of our evaluation where everyday we ask a poignant question about the students place within the environment. We hope that through this method we will be able to gauge where the students are within their understanding of the activities. 

Thursday- Onondaga Lake ecology

This day will focus on Onondaga Lake. The Onondaga Lake Stewards have designed a full day program for the students to enjoy and learn from.

Friday – SUNY ESF day

Thinking globally, thinking locally, and envisioning yourself as an environmental professional.

“Ticket out” Wrap up of following day

We are hoping to begin each day with a quick follow up on the “Ticket out” that was written the day before.  This follow up will be a way to keep the communication flowing between counselors and students and to update the group on some of the more poignant thoughts expressed within the flowing days “Ticket out”.

“Stomping After Stormwater” experiment wrap-up

This will be a wrap-up session where the students will meet with Dr. Ted Endreny (ESF) and have a quick share of the data acquired and the information learned with Ted who is working professionally in the field of stormwater science.

 “Biodegradable plastics” presentation and experiment wrap-up

This will be an informative addition to the biodegradable plastics experiment done in the field.  The students will learn more about the science behind biodegradable plastics as well as be able to share information and data collection with Dr. Chris Nomura (ESF) and also learn from a leading scientist within the field of chemistry. 

Greenhouse Tours and Greenhouse Scavenger Hunt

Using a simple scavenger hunt idea we are hoping to get the students more focused in the greenhouse by allowing them to look around for themselves for certain leaf structures and different plants during the tour.

Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream!

Through this activity the students will learn all about amazing liquid nitrogen as well as eat delicious ice cream.

Journal Wrap-up, presentation of awards and final “Ticket out”

Our ending wrap-up will include looking at journals, giving awards and handing out evaluations and the final “Ticket out”.


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