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Sternberg Museum Science Camps
Kansas, Oregon & South Dakota

Description:

 

Sternberg Museum Science Paleontology Camps for middle school and high school students are built to inspire, engage, and challenge students excited about life and earth sciences! With only ten students per camp, adventures in the field, labs and classrooms take on a close community feel. Students build knowledge and friendships through hands-on activities and experience-based group-learning activities.

 

Camps are instructed by scientists and science educators, providing a safe, enriching environment for students curious about nature in likeminded peer groups. Students work with teams comprised of an instructor and one or two teaching assistants depending on the camp. They will also get to interact with guest presenters intermittently.

Sternberg Camps are built around a core philosophy of student development and advancement. Students are trained with dedicated lessons and by example, giving them new tools and knowledge to use as they pursue their goals.

 

Paleontology camps are offered at highly productive fossiliferous sites across the United States, including Kansas, Utah and South Dakota. Programs are one or two-weeks long. We offer opportunities to do fieldwork, as well as lab/classroom-centered exploration-focused academic camps.

 

Sternberg camp alumni have successfully pursued earth and life science college and graduate programs across the United States, along with a growing international community.

What to Bring:

Check here for a comprehensive list of what to pack.

What to Expect:

 

Sternberg camps offer fieldwork and lab/classroom-centered exploration-focused academic camps. Students work with teams comprised of an instructor and one or two teaching assistants. They will also get to interact with guest presenters intermittently.

 

The goal for each Sternberg camp is for students to leave better informed and better trained than when they arrived. For field-based camps, this includes training on campsite setup, cooking, field safety, data collection, and preparation. This is a very honest educational experience in the field that includes safely dealing with high temps (or low temps, in some cases), adverse weather like storms, self-management, and overall safe fieldwork operations for the entire team. Students should expect a challenging environment with lots of support to ensure they leave having a robust educational, empowering growth experience.

Indoor programs follow a very similar philosophy, with students presented with robust challenging lessons and problem-solving opportunities for interactive learning. Through a well-paced mix of lectures and hands-on activities, we pursue a balance in telling versus showing to maximize what each student gets out of each day. Students should expect an accelerated curriculum of engaging individual and group activities that help build community as well as skills and knowledge.

What's Included in the Cost:

  • Accommodations are included but vary by camp.Meals and snacks, typically from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day

  • Staff supervision includes at minimum a lead instructor and teaching assistant. Field-based camps include a staff member with an active Wilderness First Responder Certification

  • Transportation and accommodations during the camp, include pickup and drop-off at the designated airport for the camp

  • Materials and equipment for all camp activities

  • Students are trained in field cooking, with everyone involved in the entire process.

Not included:

  • Travel to and from camp location

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Fossils found:   

In Kansas: Cretaceous marine fossil fish and reptiles; rhinos, horses, and camels
In Oregon: XX
In Utah: Cretaceous fossils including dinosaurs


Period: Cretaceous and Pliocene

 

High School Camps for ages 14-18 
Jump to Middle School Camps

Field Paleontology: Kansas
Dates: June 25-July 7

Starts and ends at: Sternberg Museum, Hays, KS

Cost: $2,530

Application due: Feb 5, 2023

In Field Paleontology: Kansas, students investigate the paleontology and ecology of ancient ecosystems, prospect for and dig up fossils. Participants will encounter a wide variety of fossil vertebrates and invertebrates during their fieldwork. Students will learn how to find and collect fossil material using the same tools and techniques as professional paleontologists. This will include learning to take field notes, setting up a campsite, using GPS units, map and compass skills, and proper methods of fossil collection and transport to preserve as much information as possible. Collected fossils will return to the Sternberg Museum to be added to the research and education collections. Evening group discussion sessions will explore topics such as applying to college, starting a research project, and working with professors.

Highlights:

  • Fossil hunting and excavating

  • Skeletal anatomy lab activities

  • Visit the Sternberg Museum research collections

 

Accommodations: What are accommodations for this camp? Camping or blended?

Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the Sternberg Museum. Prices and dates dates subject to change. 

Field Paleontology: Utah
Dates: July 16-28

Starts and ends in: Salt Lake City, UT

Cost: $3,459

Application due: Feb 5, 2023

This two-week adventure in Utah brings students out into the field to explore the fossils, geology, and even modern biology of its amazing landscape. Students will trek to dinosaur field sites, amazing canyons and rock arches, and even a stop at Dinosaur National Monument. While out on hikes, students will also get a taste of modern desert biology and ecology.

  • Is there actual digging on this experience? 

Accommodations: What are accommodations for this camp? Camping or blended?

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Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the Sternberg Museum. Prices and dates dates subject to change. 

Fossil Preparation Methods: Kansas
Dates: July 9-14 & July 16-21

Starts and ends at: Sternberg Museum, Hays, KS

Cost: $1,753

Application due: Feb 5, 2023

Students will be introduced to a wide variety of professional tools and methods used to clean and stabilize fossils in the Sternberg Museum’s fossil prep lab facility. All the work done in the fossil prep lab is important to the science and work done on collected fossil specimens.

Highlights:

  • Prepare fossils using magnification to locate important microstructures

  • Learn to use tools including picks, airscribes, and acid baths

  • Clean your own fish fossil in the Sternberg Museum prep lab

  • Afternoon fossil hunting trip to Cretaceous marine fossil site

  • Occasional field trips that may include outdoor settings. 

 

Accommodations:

  • These camps primarily use university dormitory and dining hall facilities, with exceptions for in-program excursions where they may make use of a hotel or AirBnB as needed. 

  • Students should expect to have a roommate during their time in the dormitories.

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Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the Sternberg Museum. Prices and dates dates subject to change. 

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David Levering
Camps Director
Sternberg Museum Science Camps

  1. What makes your site significant?
    Our Cretaceous marine sites in Kansas include an exceptionally robust fossil record of ocean life from the late Cretaceous of North America, including giant fish, sea turtles, pterosaurs, and mosasaurs.

  2. What has been most surprising about your discoveries at this location?
    The variety of late Cretaceous marine vertebrates we have found at our different field sites has been exceptional and fascinating. We find new and interesting specimens every summer while out prospecting with our students.

  3. What are your current research objectives at your site? 
    Our primary objectives are site surveying and documentation, crucial activities in good field research. Our records are turned over to the Paleontology research department at the Sternberg Museum where they go about processing and determining what finds may be important for us to collect in a future summer. In this way, we also collect many specimens to add to the research and education collections of fossils at the Sternberg. 

  4. What was most important or rewarding find at this site?The sites we work include many areas that have been active for a long time. Some of the most scientifically "valuable" specimens include rare fossil vertebrates like marine birds and pterosaurs.

 

Middle School Camps for ages 11-13 
Jump to High School Camps

Paleontology Explorers: Kansas
Dates: July 10-15

Starts and ends at: Sternberg Museum, Hays, KS

Cost: $1,062

Application due: Feb 5, 2023

 

Come explore the fossils of Kansas including sharks, ammonites, giant clams, ancient sea turtles, and giant mosasaurs are only the beginning of the incredible diversity of fossil organisms found here. In this camp, students will be introduced to paleontology field work, using small hand tools, they will prospect for surface fossils, document sites, and learn how to correctly and safely hunt for fossil material. Along the way, students will learn how to identify fossils, and be introduced to the basics of sedimentary geology.

Highlights:

  • Search for Cretaceous Seaway fossils in the Kansas chalks

  • Dig for rhinoceros and horse bones in a mammal fossil quarry

  • Visit the Sternberg Museum fossil galleries

  • Tour the Fossil Preparation Lab

 

Accommodations: What are accommodations for this camp? Camping or blended?

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Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the Sternberg Museum. Prices and dates dates subject to change. 

Paleontology Explorers:
Oregon Coast

Dates: July 24-29

Starts and ends at: University of Oregon in Eugene

Cost: $1,328

Application due: Feb 5, 2023

 

Students will work with University of Oregon paleontologists as they explore 50 million years of fossil plants and animals around John Day National Monument, world-famous for its incredible record of ancient life. While exploring the fossil record, students will also learn about the geology of the region, including a spectacular history of volcanic eruptions that helped shape the landscape.

Highlights:

  • Search for fossils on the Oregon Coast and in the central Oregon high desert

  • Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium

  • Fossil hunting on the Oregon coast

  • Meet professional university and Park Service paleontologists

 

Accommodations: What are accommodations for this camp? Camping or blended?

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Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the Sternberg Museum. Prices and dates dates subject to change. 

Paleontology Explorers:
South Dakota

Dates: July 9-14

Starts and ends in: Rapid City, SD

Cost: $xxx

Application due: Feb 5, 2023

 

Students 

Highlights:

  • Search for fossils on the Oregon Coast and in the central Oregon high desert

 

Accommodations: W?

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Participation is subject to availability and is at the full discretion of the Sternberg Museum. Prices and dates dates subject to change.