Sternberg to host science camps this summer in Kansas and beyond

Paleontology camp Katie Gatlin

04/27/16 rlg
By University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. - Instead of roasting marshmallows over an open fire, science campers with Fort Hays State University's Sternberg Museum of Natural History will once again this summer learn about everything from fossils to plants and wildlife and much, much more.

"I think it's important to give young students opportunities to explore new subject areas," Sternberg Education Director David Levering said. "I think it's important to get them outside, exploring these things. There's a lot of emphasis on technology these days, but there's a lot lost in not getting outside and seeing things in person."

That won't be an issue this summer, the third year that Levering has organized camps at Sternberg. There are day camps for elementary school students and longer camps for middle school and high school students.

The elementary school day camps start June 1 with "Rocks and Minerals." On June 3 it will be "Fun with Fossils." June 6 will feature "Marvelous Mammals," while on June 8 it will be "Reptiles and Amphibians." On June 10 the camp is "Bird Biologists." The final elementary school camp, set for June 13, features "Plants, Insects and Spiders." These camps are for children age 6 to 10 as of June 2016. Drop off is 9 a.m., and pick up is 3 p.m. There will be a maximum of 12 children per camp. Fees are $60 per member and $70 for non-members.

There are two middle school camps. The "Field Naturalist Camp" will be from June 12 to June 17. Students will explore Arches National Monument Park in Utah. As students camp along the way, they will explore wildlife and ecosystems from prairie to mountains to rocky deserts. In the "Paleontology Expedition Camp," scheduled for June 19 to June 24, students will explore the fossils of Kansas, and will visit Castle Rock, a geological formation about a 90-minute drive west of Hays which is known for its fossils. Middle school camps are for children age 11 to 13 as of June 2016. Drop off is 8 a.m. the first day of the program, and pick up is 5 p.m. the last day of the program. Maximum class size is 10 students per camp. Fees are $600 per member and $660 per non-member.

"I think it's important young students know that these are real places," Levering said. "If they value them they're going to protect them."

For high school students there will be two camps this summer where they will go out and explore. In the "Sternberg Paleontology Camp" from July 10 to July 22, students will spend nine days exploring paleontology and natural history of Kansas in the field. With the "Sternberg Biology Camp" June 26 to July 1, students will travel to New Mexico to work with biologists on ongoing bat research. Drop off is 8 a.m. the first day of the program, and pick up is 5 p.m. the last day of the program. Maximum class size is 10 students per camp. The fee for the paleontology camp is $1,240 per member and $1,380 per non-member. Fee for the biology camp is $600 per member and $660 per non-member.

"When it comes to the middle and high school programs we can do a lot in a week," Levering said.

Sternberg also will host two other camps. The "Paleobiology Research Methods Camp" from July 3 to July 8 is designed for self-motivated students looking to do a research project in high school or pursuing a research project as a college undergraduate. The "Fall Sternberg Paleontology Camp" from Sept. 25 to Sept. 30 is something new this year. To help accommodate homeschool students, this six-day camp will explore paleontology and Kansas natural history in the field. The fees for each camp are $600 per member and $660 per non-member.

Sternberg Museum science camps have financial aid opportunities available for 2016. Contact Levering at for information or if assistance is needed to fill out an application.

An online registration form can be found on Sternberg's website at The camp brochure is available at

Cutline: Katie Gatlin, a middle school camper from Oklahoma, shows a fossil fish scale she found at Castle Rock.

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