Middle school campers recently got knee-deep in Finger Lakes ecology during Water Worlds! Science in Action Camp. Hosted by the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and sponsored by a grant from Finger Lakes Wired, Water Worlds! let campers explore the water life in the lakes, streams and ponds in the region.
“Our campers are able to see microscopic creatures, like plankton and zooplankton, and learn how crucial they are to keeping the regional waters healthy, said Christine Moskell ’08, environmental education intern at FLI and coordinator of Water Worlds!
Campers learned this and so much more because of the FLI experts who worked with them. On their first day of camp, the excited Water World! group headed down to Buzzuto Boat House on Seneca Lake with their counselors and a special guest, Assistant Professor of Biology Meghan Brown.
“The goal is to get the students exposed to the ecology here on the lake, said Brown. “The shore is very accessible and has a neat biology for campers to study. We spent the afternoon collecting samples of plankton then got them under Finger Lakes Institute microscopes to practice identifying samples.
But that’s not where the science-packed fun stopped for these campers. “One of the best parts of this program is that these kids are actually visiting a lot of great sites in the Finger Lakes area, explained Sheila Myers, education outreach coordinator at FLI.
“For instance, we took the campers to Canadice Lake to go canoeing and took field samples like scientists. Campers also traveled to Finger Lakes National Forest, Cayuga Nature Center, Taughannock Falls and Sandy Bottom Beach at Honeoye Lake, where they hiked, canoed, gathered water life samples and water temperature readings, swam in local waters and played many environmentally centered camp games.
Wrapping up their water-filled week, campers made T-shirts with fish images, sorted mussels and reflected on what they learned.
Water Worlds! was one of two week-long session within the Science in Action camp program. The second session, What’s a Botanist to Do?, will take place from Monday, July 30 through Friday, Aug. 3.