Oscar and I are feverishly putting together the final touches of what will be the Mona Lisa of our summer. The masterpiece of interpretive work is a 3-day program for campers of the OSU H4 summer camp and will, essentially, provide the students an opportunity to become citizen scientists. Oscar and I were lucky enough to have been put in contact with Mario Magana, a professor at Oregon State University, who is responsible for coordinating a series of summer camps for Latinos of the Salem area. The camps are held in a forested paradise in the Willamette Valley near the city of Salem. The kids are connected to nature through outdoor activities like fishing and birding to name a few.
We had previously attended the camp to introduce Latino campers to the world of birding. We started with a presentation “Why Birds Matter?” highlighting the importance of birds and the services they provide to people followed by activities focused on teaching the use of binoculars and ended with a bird-walk around the park. This time, we are setting our sights a little higher, we will actually be attending the camp for its entirety. This gives us a lot of flexibility to build program upon program and really reach depths the we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise, not in an hour and a half time slot. I am extremely excited to provide these students with this experience to explore the scientific method and conducted meaningful observations, which for some will be their first time.
Our program will consist of 3 one and a half hour segments spread out through the 3 days that we will be there. Our first segment will concentrate on bird adaptations, with activities inspired by US Fish & Wildlife and some we put together ourselves. The following section is focused on introducing the campers to constructing a hypothesis and supporting it using lines of evidence, with activities inspired by Yaquina Head’s tide pool programs. Our final day, will consist of campers learning about local bird species and going on a bird walk to gather observations to input into eBird. All in all, the campers will have participated in the process of discovery, Critically thought of the natural world around them and contributed to a world wide citizen science project all in time to still make lunch!