Teens Camp, See Big Dipper For First Time

by | Oct 5, 2015

Spirit Lake, seismographs, bats and brain-stretching riddles punctuated the First Annual Mount St. Helens Camping Expedition this summer, a three-day road trip for 20 teens and five staff from our Discovery Corps and Lake Washington Watershed Internship programs.

Inspired by Pacific Science Center’s summer exhibition of POMPEII: The Exhibition, youth and leaders packed four vans with camping equipment loaned from Washington Trails Association’s Gear Library and braved traffic to witness in person the power of the Mount St. Helens eruption.

The team explored the Silver Lake Visitor Center, Windy Ridge and Ape Caves; participated in a night hike and star gazing and met with a succession ecologist who has been studying the ecological succession since the 1980 eruption. They tapped into active, ongoing research using remote-sensing equipment, a field they’ve been immersed in thanks to a NASA grant.

For many youth, this was their first time

  • Seeing the Big Dipper in person
  • Camping
  • Planning and cooking a group meal
  • Hiking in the dark
  • Using a pit toilet
  • Exploring a cave

The week before the trip, the youth learned how to set up the tents they would be using, worked together to draw up community agreements for the trip, and participated in a Leave no Trace training led by one of the youth participants. Youth also broke into small groups and planned meals and created shopping lists; these meal-planning groups were then responsible for preparing meals at camp for the full group.

Pacific Science Center is thrilled to provide youth with new experiences and opportunities to learn new skills through outdoor adventures focused on science.

Lake Washington Watershed Internship program is supported by The Boeing Company, Mary Ann Wiley Fund and the National Science Foundation.

Located on a biologically diverse 320-acre wetland nature park in the heart of urban Bellevue, WA, Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center is a collaboration between the City of Bellevue and Pacific Science Center.

The Discovery Corps program is made possible with generous support from:

Anonymous, Bank of America, Paul and Debbi Brainerd, Glaser Foundation, Richard and Marilyn Hanson, Intellectual Ventures, Mary Ann Wiley Fund, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (grant award numbers NNX10AK17G and NNX14AD03G), and US Bancorp Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.