Summer 2010 Environmental Science Camp

Snakes we fed, fish we saw, tadpoles and minnows we captured in jars, long-legged centipedes we screamed at in disgust, crayfish, grasshoppers, bees, spiders, cicadas, dragonflies, ants, millipedes, fungal tree bark, roots, rhizomes and tree sap—this is just a snapshot of the science portion of the 2010 Summer Urban Environmental Science and Sports Skills Center at Gloria J. Parks.

Over the course of seven weeks in July and August, children from various community centers, churches and other organizations came to the Gloria J. Parks Community Center for fun, interactive urban environmental science exploration. They filled their own, handmade journals with observations, questions, samples, colorful pictures and tons of creativity and wide-eyed wonder. They explored the nature all around them in the neighborhood surrounding our community center—growing up between cracks in cement, buzzing overhead, perching on a blade of grass. The children learned that you don’t have to leave the city or go to a park to experience and explore nature. Nature is all around you. Wherever you go—in a web in the windowsill at home, squeezing up through the sidewalk in front of your house, in your backyard—you can find nature. It was a delight to see children return the next day with critters they had found at home.

We even went on trips to special places, like Glen Park, where we caught crayfish with nets (and then let them go), Bird Island, and University District’s own Shoshone Park. The program was facilitated through a partnership among Science Firsthand, Gloria J. Parks Community Center, Houghton College, and WNY AmeriCorps. We would like to thank M&T Bank for their generous support.