Sci­ence Camp sells out in record time

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - Patrick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

The Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum’s sci­ence camps are al­ways pop­u­lar, but you have to wake up pretty early in the morn­ing to get a spot.

In fact, the camps sold out faster this year than they ever have. Right now camp di­rec­tor Mor­gan Syvert­sen says there are only a few fam­ily camp spots avail­able. “It was amaz­ing to watch, we have been get­ting phone calls from peo­ple won­der- ing why they weren’t able to reg­is­ter,” said Syvert­sen. “It was the fastest it has ever been. We had some camps sold out be­fore Christ­mas.”

Reg­is­tra­tion opened on De­cem­ber 5 and within a day, 44 per cent of the spots were taken. A week later, they were over 70 per cent sold out. He says as of to­day, the youth spots are taken, but there are spa­ces in the shorter fam­ily camps.

This is in the face of tougher eco­nomic times. While the ma­jor­ity of par­tic­i­pants are from Al­berta, they also get reg­is­tra­tion from across Canada, and be­yond. “We have seven kids com­ing from the United States this year,” he said. “It’s not un­usual for some com­ing from Eng­land.” He cred­its the growth of the camp’s pop­u­lar­ity to the fact that the camp prac­tices real sci­ence. “I think the rea­son that it be­come so suc­cess­ful is that we have got­ten away from the whole idea of it be­ing a sum­mer camp where you come and play di­nosaurs, to an em­pha­sis on cit­i­zen sci­ence where you come and con­trib­ute to the work be­ing done here,” said Syvert­sen. “The kids ac­tu­ally work with, or do projects for, the re­searchers. We have prospected and found things that sci­en­tists are us­ing. We col­lect things, wash it, process it and even sort it un­der a mi­cro­scope and hand it off to them.”

“I think in­stead of sum­mer camp, it is a palaeon­tol­ogy boot camp.”

This is the kind of ex­pe­ri­ence that would look good on a re­sume or col­lege ap­pli­ca­tion. “We have so many of our camp grad­u­ates who have gone on to univer­sity now, and they come back and say “wow, we got to do things in camp that we haven’t been able to do in univer­sity yet.”

He looks for­ward to the fu­ture, al­though the camp is look­ing for a spon­sor. Its long time part­ner­ship with En­cana has ex­pired.

“The fu­ture looks bright in terms of the ex­pan­sion of the mu­seum, we will prob­a­bly be able to ex­pand the size of the camp and do more cool things.”

The Sci­ence Camp at the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum sold out faster than it ever has, and cur­rently there are only a few fam­ily camp spa­ces avail­able.

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