The YSA “Urban Ecology Meets Technology” program introduces students to the biodiversity and urban ecology of coastal and urban habitats of SE North Carolina, as well as using technology to solve environmental issues. Our program also provides unique opportunities for "young scientists" to explore and express science issues through art. Participants will experience the enjoyment of performing actual scientific research under the direct mentorship of PhD-level researchers and artists, as well as learning many lab and field techniques used in the study of marine biology, atmospheric sciences, urban ecology, computer science, and contemporary art. Students will participate in field excursions to local downtown sites in Wilmington (Greenfield Lake, Cape Fear River, freshwater wetlands), and will be able to broaden their innate interest in the natural world through interacting with guest speakers and other scientists from around the world. Students will also have the opportunity to present their work as a scientific poster and blog their experiences on the YSA website.
Summer Camp Schedule
Week 1: "Computer Science, Biotechnology & Innovation"
Dates: June 4-8 **CLOSED**
Campers will break into small teams to build PC computers designed for gaming and database analyses, and become familiar with the fundamentals of Python and HTML coding. Campers will also learn how to design and build an oceanic probe called a CTD for measuring oxygen, salinity, and temperature, how to code to produce animated figures and maps useful for websites, and develop machine learning and image recognition software to detect human objects and marine organisms. Additional activities may include 3D mapping using a drone, and build a security camera and modify video footage with OpenCV.
Weeks 2, 5 & 6 : "Problem Solving in Urban Ecology 101"
Dates: June 11-15, July 9-13 & July 16-20 **CLOSED**
Week 2: Urban land use and human interactions with nature
Week 5: Solutions to climate change and urban sprawl
Week 6: Urban habitats and environmental monitoring
Human interaction with coastal ecosystems is projected to exponentially increase in the coming decades, thus equipping our young scientists with scientific tools to solve local and global environmental issues is paramount. Each day focuses on a different issue that is prevalent in our society today, such as water quality, renewable energy, oil and plastic pollution, conservation and biodiversity, invasive species, and green space and technology solutions to climate change and urban sprawl. Campers will learn the science behind local urban ecology issues through art, science experimentation and digital mapping of downtown Wilmington. Campers will also get the opportunity to help design green space space at the Harrelson Center under the guidance of local architects. Master the desired art of communicating science, which is essential in educating the public specifically when conducting media interviews or conveying other complicated messages via social media. Additional activities may include creating public service announcement videos, and measuring chlorophyll and photosynthesis in microalgae to demonstrate biofuels.
Week 3 : The Science of "Death and Dying"
Dates: June 18-22
**Drop off/Pick up Location: Expo 216**
Death and dying are natural processes of life, which occur in many shapes and forms in ecosystems and society. As part of Expo 216's "Death and Dying" exhibition, campers will learn about the different facets of the science of death and dying, as well as explore the question "what determines a healthy versus a degraded urban or coastal ecosystem?" from scientific and artistic viewpoints. Conduct microbial decomposition experiments, and plot the random walk of bacteria using Python coding. Learn about metamorphosis and different life cycle stages through artwork and poetry. Conduct research on the "immortal jellyfish" and the effects of climate change and human growth on urban sustainability and coastal ecosystems. At the end of the week, campers will have the opportunity to showcase their research and artwork to the public at Expo 216 as part of the Fourth Friday Gallery Night on June 22.
Week 4 : "Science: The Art of Observation"
Dates: June 25-29 **CLOSED**
Join us for a fun week of science meets art in historic downtown Wilmington. Campers will learn first hand urban ecology, computer coding, marine science, climate science, and contemporary art . Create digital maps and databases using Python coding and GIS techniques. Repeat Isaac Newton's original experiments on light in the unique setting of Expo 216's "Infinity Room". Learn about bioluminescence and deep sea biology through experimentation with jellyfish and microbial art. Campers will also learn the "lost art" of scientific illustration from experiences local artists, including charcoal drawings and painting on canvas.
Checks should be mailed to:
Young Scientist Academy
702 Paisley Court
Wilmington NC 28409