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Kids learn science in the garden

June 29, 2012 12:00AM

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Hannah Eckstein shows off some of her harvest at the Nature Reach summer science camp Tuesday.

Several eager young gardeners rushed to the raised vegetable beds at the Pittsburg State University Natural History Reserve Tuesday to measure, record and harvest this week’s bounty. Clipboards in hand, the students measured how their peppers, onions, beans and okra had grown in the past week.

Earlier, the students learned about the natural cycle of water and before they left the garden, they made sure the vegetables were watered.

Science Day CampThe students are participants in a summer science day camp sponsored by the PSU Nature Reach Program and the Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society. Delia Lister, director of the Nature Reach Program, said this year’s camp is a departure from previous summer camps held at the reserve.

“In the past, the camps have generally been one or two weeks,” Lister said. “But we thought that with this year’s theme, ‘Science Through Gardening,’ it would be more beneficial to have the students meet once a week throughout the growing season so they can see the garden grow and learn from each of the stages.”

The students seem enthusiastic about the hands-on learning the camp offers. They sat in the grass as a flock of chickens hunted for insects around them and carefully selected which of the carrots, banana peppers and onions they believed might be ready for harvest.

“I like carrots,” said 8-year-old Jesse Stone. “I don’t eat onions, but I’m going to give them to my grandpa.”

Chickens at the science day campLister said that while the camp might not get the youngsters to eat onions, it could encourage them to be more adventuresome in their eating habits and more knowledgeable about a health diet.

“We definitely know that when kids are involved in growing their own food, they are more likely to at least try the things they have grown,” Lister said.

The camp continues through July, with the exception of July 3. For information, call Lister at 620-235-4727 or send her an e-mail at dalister@pittstate.edu.

©2012 Pittsburg State University