Living in Cache Valley gives residents access to arguably the most beautiful place on earth, Logan Canyon. Nestled along the Logan River, and just barely up the canyon is the Stokes Nature Center.
Stokes Nature Center is home to many education programs. Consequently, this summer they have been involved in different and unique summer programs. One of which included the Citizen Science multi-day summer camp that ran from July 14-16.
The camp structured by Erin Anzalone, Director of Education, and Ru Mahoney, Executive Director, included education on water quality, wildlife, and air quality. The three camp leaders, headed by the Utah Conservation Corp intern Katrina Slabaugh, then created a program incorporating the three areas.
While at this camp participants learned how to be contributors to the scientific community. They learned about birding and a program that allows people to submit the data they collect of the birds they see. Once they identify the birds, they then figure out the population of the birds. This program allows scientists the ability to see the change in bird population, migratory pattern, etc.
“[Campers feel] they are providing and helping out with the research of these different projects,” Anzalone explained.
Additionally, students were given the opportunity to learn about macro-invertebrate species, also known as water bugs. Campers searched through the Logan River looking for these bugs. By sifting dirt, turning over rocks, they were not only searching for the bugs but they also learned to identify them. As part of this, they learned how to take the temperature of the water and find the ph. This was then connected to how temperature and ph affect wildlife and water dwellers.
Another aspect of this program involved learning about endangered species of Utah. While discussing the possible causes for endangerment, they also discussed possible solutions promoting problem solving thinking.
In addition to all the learning, they also did arts and craft projects. One such project involved rubber tracks stamps and paint.
For Slabaugh, the most rewarding aspect of her job is teaching the kids.
“Seeing kids get really excited about the science…being in nature and actually wanting to do something with it.”
For more information about the Stokes Nature Center and its programs visit <a href=”http://www.logannature.org/summer_youth.html” target=”_blank”>www.logannature.org</a>.