- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Sixteen teenagers, all of junior high school age, spent the week of June 17 through 21 absorbing all things science at UC Davis. Ranging in age from 12 through 14, they came from the greater Sacramento area and as far away as Arizona in a camp organized and directed by Tabatha Yang, outreach and education coordinator at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.
“It was a great group of kids and we did a lot of cool stuff,” Yang said. They prepared museum specimens; spent the night at the Sagehen Field Station, operated by UC Berkeley; and toured the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis and the adjacent Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden.
Laidlaw staff research associate Billy Synk opened the hives and let each person handle a drone, a male bee. They also sampled honey.
Graduate and undergraduate students assist with the annual BioBoot Camp, now in its third year. They conduct many of the sessions, sharing their experiences and knowledge.
“Due to popular demand, this year we added a high school camp,” Yang said. The high school activities included birding; identifying insects and plants; conducting a butterfly survey at Putah Creek; and touring the Botanical Conservatory.
Excerpts from two of the essays:
A 14-year-old boy: “I've wanted to be an entomologist and herpetologist since I was five. I like to find and collect insects, reptiles, and amphibians. Since I plan on getting my degree from UC Davis, I think this would be a fun and interesting way to learn about the entomology program.”
A 13-year-old girl, a returnee: “By far this is the best camp I've attended. I felt like I belonged there, with all the other kids that like science and animals. This camp gave me a chance to totally be myself! I could be as involved with science and nature related stuff without worrying someone would bother me about it being weird. It was such a relief! I can't wait till camp starts again... BioBoot Camp is the best.”