By CASEY S. ELLIOTT Athens Messenger staff journalist
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011
GLOUSTER — Rural Action has found a way to get area children interested in such things as chemistry, watersheds and acid mine drainage through a summer day camp that includes looking at bugs in local waterways and making tie-dye shirts.
Elementary school children from the Glouster, Nelsonville and Athens areas are spending this week learning about water, conservation and natural history during the Sunday Creek Summer Day Camp. Children involved in the program are spending the week in Glouster-area parks and the Trimble Community Forest, as well as taking trips to The Wilds in Cumberland, Burr Oak State Park near Glouster and Wayne National Forest near Nelsonville.
The camp, which has been held for at least the past eight years, is an extension of programs kids ages 8 to 12 experience during the school year, said Rural Action environmental education coordinator Joe Brehm.
“The goal is to go more in depth on the concepts they touch on during the school year,” Brehm said on Monday. “We ask them ‘What is a watershed?’ but then follow up with activities that demonstrate they understand what it is.”
Twenty-five area children are taking advantage of this year’s camp, which also will examine water quality, natural history, energy and sustainability. Camp organizers also have incorporated local foods into the programming, with the help of Rural Action’s sustainable agriculture program.
Children enrolled in the camp learned about watersheds and pH levels in the water and nature photography and incorporated acid mine runoff into the creation of tie-dye T-shirts. The metals in the runoff are dried and used as pigment. On Monday, campers took the dried material, added water to it and then soaked T-shirts in the mixture. When the shirts dried, the children had their own unique fashion statements from the camp.
Incoming fifth-grader Maya Rothwadsworth of Athens said she enjoyed learning about the water cycle — evaporation and precipitation — as well as the tie-dye project.
“I think it’s cool,” she said.
Fifth-grader Maddie Holl of The Plains has been going to the camp for the past five years, and said she likes all of the activities that are offered.
“I really like doing the pH testing, and finding bugs,” she said.
The camp runs through Friday. For information, visit ruralaction.org or call Brehm at 767-2225.