Reflections on Summer Camp

August 31, 2010 at 4:50 pm Leave a comment

As summer begins to wind down and students return to school, the museum feels a little quieter. I know that our exhibitions will soon be filled with the excited sounds of school groups but I cannot help to feel a little sad to see summer camp pack up for the year. You see, this was my 10th year working with summer camp at Fernbank Museum of Natural History and it is, by far, my favorite time of year.

We are incredibly fortunate to have many campers that return year after year. In fact, we also see campers’ siblings, cousins, classmates and friends. It is wonderful to watch children grow from timid kindergarteners to strong, confident 5th graders. By the end, most campers have enough knowledge about the museum to serve as fully-trained docents. I imagine that many parents are also able to quote dinosaur names, reptile land speeds and the relative distance of planets after their children share all of the details of camp at the nightly dinner table.

We work hard to have a different topic every day of the week and, through the years, we have covered just about every topic under the sun (and even a few that are far beyond the sun). Campers are allowed to try on different “scientist hats” and get a small taste of a variety of sciences that many students do not experience until high school. I often wonder how many future scientists and engineers were inspired by our summer camp. This summer, we explored herpetology, paleontology, ecology, entomology, archaeology and astronomy. Campers spent lots of time in the “lab” with real scientists but also were able to play outdoor games and create art projects to take home as a souvenir for summer camp 2010.

As I look through photos from this past summer and finish packing up supplies, I cannot help but start to brainstorm for next summer.  What sciences or cultures will we explore?  What new projects will we create?  Oh, the places we’ll go….

Cindy Sheehy, Director of Family & Children’s Programs (and always a summer camper at heart)


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Skipping Ahead Water, Water Everywhere

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At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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