As part of one of the hands-on games during the weeklong camp, the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders played a somewhat complicated game of tag, in which some of the campers were sea turtles, while many more of the campers were factors that often kill baby turtles in the wild, such as raccoons, foxes, dogs, crabs, fishing line, shoreline development and many more. If as a turtle the campers were tagged too many times by one of the endangering factors, they were "out" or more realistically, did not survive. In the first game, only seven out of 10 turtles survived. The second game gave the turtles even worse odds, as only three survived.
Once the game was over, planetarium director Lanette Phillips asked the kids, "Was it hard to get past all the things trying to hurt you?", which was of course answered with a resounding "yes!"
"Then you can see what a difficult time it is for the sea turtles in the wild, with all of these limiting factors," Phillips said.
Later, the campers headed indoors for a project that had been a few days in the making. Earlier in the week, they had pressed leaves from various kinds of plants. On Thursday, they were creating art with the pressed leaves.
Philips instructed the campers/budding botanists to place their pressed leaves on a white sheet of paper, write the name of the plant, the date and location where it was found, and then cover it with contact, or sticky, paper. The campers could then design a border to make their "plant picture" a pretty one.
The planetarium hosts several camps during the summer, Phillips said, including an astronomy camp this week, which will include a sleepover Thursday night. "If it's clear, the kids will be looking through a telescope Thursday night, which will be exciting for them," Phillips said.
The camps are extremely popular each year, she added, and this year, more kids than ever qualified for scholarships so that they could attend the camps for free or at a reduced price.
"This year we gave out a lot of scholarships," Phillips said. "We give them as rewards for doing well on testing."
For more information on the planetarium or its summer camps, call 704-694-7016 or e-mail PHILLIPS.LANETTE@Anson.K12.NC.US.