|Marc Stilson, education camp director, sits with participants of the paleo camp.|
It's almost summer and the Emery County Education camps are getting ready to roll. There is still time to sign up for these unique education experiences for elementary through high school students. Ashley Stilson attended the paleo camp last year. It will be held this year from June 16-20. Stilson said, "My heart beat in anticipation as I carefully chipped away more and more of the hard, dull gray rock that covered our quarry site. Leaning down carefully, I thought I saw a small spot of deep, dark, dark black.
"I took a quick drink from my nearby water bottle. The bottle almost slipped from my sweaty hands that shook from excitement.
"As I looked around, I saw my friends also busily chipping away at the rock, searching and searching. One of my new friends, all the way from North Carolina, stopped to take a drink too. We both smiled. This had definitely been worth the money.
"Our tarp riggings provided much needed shade from the hot sun that beat down over our heads, and the breeze from the battery powered fans seemed to blow away most of the heat. Though camp was probably a two-minute hike down, and we had been miles away from civilization for three days, we all felt right at home in the desert sand.
"Another out-of-state digger, from Washington D.C., stopped for a moments rest. I was impressed when I learned about the out-of-state kids.
Who knew people from the other side of the country were interested in our little Emery County camps.
"As I turned back to my project, I saw one of our expert camp directors from the CEU Prehistoric Museum bending down to take a look at my progress. He smiled at me.
"Well, I think you have just found your first dinosaur bone." My smile grew as I hurriedly but carefully whittled off the rock that had surrounded just one of the many pitch black bones that had been buried in the ground undiscovered maybe for millions of years. Until now.
"Later, I learned, we would go back to the CEU dorms to wash up and then on to the lab where we would study the bones that we found. Out of the many fantastic camps that the Emery County Education Council was putting on, this was definitely one of the best," said Stilson.
Another camp which is a big success is the archaeology camp held at Range Creek. This camp is hosted by the University of Utah who has summer camps there for graduate students. The opportunity for high school students to participate in college age field work is a great experience for these younger students. The camps allow them to work alongside the UofU professors and especially Duncan Metcalfe who is the chief archaeologist for the Range Creek site. There have been hundreds of documented pithouses and sites located within the canyon. The students will help with documentation and some excavation has begun at Range Creek. The students camp right at the ranch house and the University provides the learning experiences for the students. They are also treated to lectures by Corrine Springer who is the hostess at the ranch house and an accredited biologist who lectures the students on the Range Creek area. A truly unique experience awaits the high school students who are ready and willing to get out in the field with the experts. The Range Creek camp is slated for July 14-18.
The elementary age students will be able to attend dinosaur day camps on June 16-17. The students will learn all about the dinosaurs and how to excavate bones. They will each receive a dino day packet which includes many hands on activities. Each student will paint their own dinosaur made from a plaster cast.
For junior high age students the CSI: Emery County camp will be hosted by the Emery County Sheriff's Office. The students will learn about finger prints, foot print imaging, crime scene investigation and will learn about the various jobs available within the Sheriff's Office. They will help solve a crime at a mock crime scene. They will learn how to search for clues. They will be provided with a T-Shirt and other souvenirs of their day as a crime fighter. They will be treated to a pizza lunch. The CSI camp is June 20.
Another educational camp will be the computer technology camp on June 24, this camp will be taught by the Emery County IT department and teaches computer literacy. Students will be instructed on computer operations and will learn to design their own flyers and advertisements. They will go through the various computer programs and learn how to apply them in useful applications which will help them in their every day school work.
Marc Stilson is the Education Council chairman he said the council was recently approved for a science grant from the state. "There were $250,000 worth of requests and only $150,000 in grants available and we were able to secure a grant for our science camps. We are very excited about it. Our camps are very worthwhile and offer educational opportunities you just can't get in the classroom. The paleo and archaeology camps are world class and offer unique learning experiences for local as well as students from around the country," said Stilson. Call 381-5576 to register.