Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Junior Explorers Summer Camp

This was the first year that the Port Townsend Marine Science Center hosted campers 5-7 years of age. Each day of the week had a different nature theme to it.

Monday was all about natural history and fossils. One of our volunteers and fossil expert, Roger Wilson came in and talked to our explorers about how fossils are mineralized and very old. They even got a chance to make their own fossil rubbings!

Tuesday was spent learning about invertebrates in the marine exhibit and creating hand crafted marine critters. Beforehand we learned a song about habitats going something like this: "Habitat habitat have to have a habitat, have to have a habitat to carry on!" We learned about 4 major habitats around the Washington area and got chances throughout the week to explore the ocean and forest habitats we sang about! In the exhibit the campers pretended to be an animal and find it in one of our tanks. After I told everyone to put on their imagination hats a few minutes later a kid said "Oh I forgot I had my imagination hat on, my imagine is all runned out!" It was also feeding day at the center so the campers helped feed the animals.

Learning about the chiton

Wednesday we started the day with a song about banana slugs! "Banana slug slug slug! Banana slug, ba-na-na-na-na, banana slug!" The song talked about the importance of banana slugs in our forest ecosystem. The day was spent hiking up to the forest in Fort Worden State Park to explore this habitat. Here we did two different activities about animals and their habitats. They got a chance to make their own 'micro-trail' and learned what animals need in order to survive in their habitat.  

Singing and reading about Banana Slugs!
Thursday was all about Salmon! The campers learned the 5 types of salmon and their life cycle. A stream was set up for the kids to pretend to be salmon and go through their whole life cycle. They started by hatching out of an egg, growing up to be a salmon while trying to avoid the predators and sniffing their way back to their stream to spawn. The day ended by them drawing what a healthy stream would look like and the ways that we can help salmon survive.

Learning about salmon!

Friday was the last day of camp and the campers seemed to look forward to the tidepools. We spent the day on the beach searching through tidepools to find cool animals! Camp sadly ended with some tears as kids did not want to leave!

Exploring the tide pools!

A few things that we learned while working this camp:
5-7 year olds will listen to you instantly if you start reading a story or singing a song
They love the game 'Sharks and minos'
They love to tell jokes. Here was one of the best jokes I heard during camp:
"What did the father bison say to the son bison when he was leaving? Bison! (Bye-son)"

Overall Junior Explorers was a great first success! A big thank you to all the campers for the fun week and making us laugh, and to our camp director Nancy and Aletha our counselor!

Junior Camp Counselors,
Florencia and Valerie

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