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Black Rock Forest Summer Science Camp welcomes nature-interested, science-curious middle school (ages 11-15) students during the summer for authentic, week-long (day, but not overnight) learning experiences in nature, working directly with scientists. These week-long summer science day camps are for students interested in science, the environment, conservation, or the visual arts.

Instructors are faculty and graduate students of American Museum of Natural History, Barnard College, City College of New York, City University of New York, Columbia University, Queensborough Community College, and more.

Our focus is on understanding nature through scientific observation and investigation, and our classes allow students to explore areas of interest without the pressure of a grade. Classes are developed and taught by subject experts and provide an opportunity to explore college and career possibilities in the natural sciences while having fun in Black Rock Forest, a private 4,000 acre preserve in Cornwall, NY.

We offer an array of different (some overlapping) class options, so students can choose to attend the session for the class(es) that most appeals to them. Students will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the camp, as well as lodging overnight if they are not local residents.

Please see class options below:

Biodiversity Blitz : From Ambystoma to Zygoptera 
Dr. Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch, Senior Lecturer, Barnard College 

Explore the forest to examine as many species as you can: reptiles, amphibians, insects, birds, plants, mammals, fungi and more.

The World of Insects : Infinite Variety on a Common Theme    
Dr. Julian Stark, Associate Professor of Biology, CUNY/Queensborough Community College and Research Associate in Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History  

In this class, students will be introduced to the fascinating world of insects. We will discuss how insects evolved, learn about their bizarre body parts and characteristics, survey the diversity of the different types, and explore how insects interact with other forest animals.

Cold Blooded Creatures : A Course in Field Herpetology
Ivan MonaganPh.D. student and Research Fellow at Columbia University and the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History. Leroy Nuñez, Ph.D. Candidate at the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History.

Black Rock Forest, with its diverse habitats, is home to 34 different species of reptiles and amphibians. Students will apply field techniques used by biologists to find and catch reptiles and amphibians. In particular we will be setting drift fences in the forest and turtle traps in ponds.

Make Nature : Exploring Nature with Technology 
Jeremy Hise, Systems Professional and Environmental Biologist, B.A. Columbia University

In this workshop-oriented materials lab, students get hands-on experience and acquire new skills including designing electronic circuits, programming, soldering, and bread-boarding – skills that are directly applicable to other electronics-based programs.

Life on the Web : Junior Entomologist Spider Diversity Study 
Joseph Arguelles, Doctoral Candidate at the American Museum of Natural History’s Richard Gilder Graduate School 

In this fun outdoor experience, students will learn all about the world of spiders, focusing on the various habitats where spiders can be found, the properties of the silks they make, and how spiders capture their prey in different habitats. In the lab, students will get up close and personal with live spiders, learning to identify various species, observing their behaviors, testing the properties of their silks and practicing scientific illustration.

“Gone Fishing!”: An Exploration of the Freshwater Ecology of Black Rock Forest    
Aidan Mabey, Environmental Scientist, B.S. SUNY New Paltz, Eli Schloss, Tideline Program Director and Ruthie Gold, Program Director at the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.  

Students will take a deep dive into the slimy and scaly creatures that call the streams and ponds at Black Rock Forest their home, spending the week exploring all things fish through a scientific lens. Students will learn a variety of sampling methods used by biologists specifically for fish including building our own traps, using different kinds of nets and maybe even using a little electricity.

Checkout Black Rock Forest: Summer Science Camp Watch Video

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  • Monday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Tuesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Wednesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Thursday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Friday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • $$$$
  • Price Range $425+
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