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EcoLab – Not Your Typical Summer Camp!


Most middle and high school students never hold snakes, spot screech owls or track animals in the wild. But for two weeks in June, that was just part of their experiences at PAST’s Hocking College EcoLab summer program. Each one week camp gave students a five day, four night experience they will never forget!

The Challenge

On day one the kids were given a design challenge: choose an endangered species in Ohio and create a website that raises awareness about it.

Experiential Learning

Throughout the week students rotated through learning sessions that offered them hands-on experiences about wildlife ecology and identification, radio telemetry and tracking, and map reading. Some of the skills they were exposed to were totally new to the students.

During the wildlife ecology and identification session students created track castings of animal prints they found while hiking. A visit to an area nature center brought snakes up close and very personal. The kids had never seen a pine snake, timber rattle snake, copperhead and others let alone hold one. They also had a chance to see a red-tailed hawk and screech owl. They were all very impressed with the beauty and power of these animals.

Radio telemetry taught them how to track animals in the wild and use an H-antenna and transmitter to find stationary and moving trackers. During the map reading session the kids learned to how to measure distance by walking, to use a compass, and to read a topographical map (very different than a typical road map). Using these new skills they were able to find animal habitats.

Just For Fun

The kids really enjoyed all their experiences and work, but we also wanted them to have a lot of fun activities each day. Swimming, rock wall climbing, Frisbee golf, bike rides, ultimate Frisbee and classic camp fire activities rounded out a very full week.  Check out more photos from our program here.

Presentation Of Learning

On the last day, students shared their websites with each other, PAST program facilitators at the EcoLab and, via the Internet, with PAST staff and faculty at the PAST facility in Columbus, Ohio. Each web presentation was impressive, and the opportunity to share what they learned made a big impact on students.

To see the websites they created in less than five days, check out the links below!

High School Teams Created These Websites:   Cave Salamander, Indiana Bat, Timber Rattle Snake

Middle School Teams Created These Websites: Black Bear, Ohio Lamprey, Blue Spotted Salamander, Eastern Hellbender








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