The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Summer Camp Builds Enthusiasm for Science

Posted by
Sophia Troeh
| August 21, 2019 | Filed under: Program Reports

This summer, as a NOAA Hollings Scholar, I traveled more than 3,000 miles to the reserve from my home in Washington state so I could take on the role of Summer Camp Assistant. It was a real pleasure to be in Wells.


Hollings Scholars work on a personal research project during their placements, which for me meant looking into science confidence and how today's youths view scientists. Wells was the perfect place to study this, as the reserve combines both research and education in one setting.

I asked week-long campers, ranging in age from 5 to 14, to complete surveys before and after their experience. During their camp week, they were involved with different forms of education related to science, including:

  • Meeting and learning directly from scientists
  • Investigating outdoor environments
  • Working with equipment in a research setting

Campers learned how fun and accessible science is! Surveys showed campers at every age were more enthusiastic about outdoor activity, held greater science confidence, and became more interested in science-related careers by the end of their camp week.

On both surveys, I asked campers to draw a scientist. One camper drew a lab scientist before camp but afterward drew a field scientist discovering a new species of butterfly. This illustrates a change in perspective of who a scientist is and what they do.

A child's depictions of a scientist, before and after a week of summer camp at the Wells Reserve. Before camp, the child drew a lab scientist (a person holding flasks). After camp, the child drew a field biologist discovering a new species.

I was impressed by the camper’s abilities to absorb information and their genuine interest in the subject matter. I wouldn’t be surprised to find many of these campers in science-related fields in the future.

After obtaining my biology degree from Gonzaga University, I hope to go into environmental education and outreach so I can keep inspiring enthusiasm for nature and science in the next generation. I had a great summer in beautiful southern Maine and hope to return soon!

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