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Impressions Magazine

The Upstream Downstream Connection Summer Camp Begins Second Year June 11th

06/12/2012 10:01 ● By Kathryn

A North Carolina Loggerhead Sea Turtle

The Upstream Downstream Connection summer camp program begins its second year on June 11th. This collaborative effort between Love A Sea Turtle and A Time For Science provides free outdoor, STEM-focused, environmental and experiential learning for the five Pitt County Boys & Girls Clubs.

Casey Sokolovic and her foundation, Love A Sea Turtle, sponsor the summer camps. Additional local funding has been received from Wells Fargo, Davila & Velazquez, Greenville Subaru, Flanders Corporation, Sheetz, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s Cares, and United Way. A matching grant from The Outdoor Foundation provided funding for the purchase of kayaks.

Each Boys & Girls Club will send 14 students to A Time For Science in Ayden for a one week day camp. Returning youth from the Ayden Club will participate in an advanced level camp that includes a scuba diving class instructed by Rum Runner Dive Shop.

Campers will learn about water quality and its importance to our planet. The pH levels, turbidity, pollution, water source points, water run-off, and global water issues are based on the theme of the camp - "The Upstream Downstream Connection". Campers will use calculators, computers, Excel spread sheet programs, triple beam scales, water quality testing and sampling kits. They will apply scientific methods to perform the research and then publish a video to show the results of what they did through a power point presentation. On days four and five, they will learn new skills that will physically challenge them and other skills like problem solving, teamwork, and confidence building. Day four includes a kayak trip on the local river along with field observation of water and trash clean up along the way. Day five's focus is a coastal marine field study of the ocean, including seining & collecting of samples found in the ocean and on the sound side marshlands. The camps blend technology, ecology and life experiences through hands-on fun STEM experiments.

Two additional one-week camps are being piloted this summer with ECU’s FoodMASTER program. Campers attending the first 2 weeks of camp will participate in one week of the Upstream Downstream Connection camp and then one week of the FoodMASTER camp on East Carolina University’s campus.

High school student volunteers serve as camp counselors. Most of the students who volunteered last summer for the Upstream Downstream Connection camps are returning and were recognized as the 2012 Service Learning Project of the Year by the National Youth Leadership Council. Other recent Love A Sea Turtle awards and recognition include Project Earth Winner, Sea World Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, Green Living Student Film Project, Scuba Diving Magazine May “Sea Hero”, and Youth Service Challenge Winner.

Come out to the City Pool on Thursday, June 14th at 10 am as returning campers from the Ayden Boys & Girls Club will be scuba diving! Rum Runner Dive Shop will be instructing them in a "Try-Scuba" class as part of their camp week activities.

Article from Dan, Kay & Casey Sokolovic

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