Archive for August 9th, 2013

August 9, 2013

We Say “Goodbye” to Cory: Reflections on a Summer at Phipps

by Melissa Harding


Cory Doman, our very wonderful and very talented photography intern, is leaving us to go back to school for the year. In between her tear drops, she has graciously written the following reflection on her time spent with the Science Education and Research Department.  

Seeing the world through the lens of a camera gives you a different perspective on life. I kept this notion in the back of my head when I started my Photography internship, but I was truly amazed by what I was able to capture at Phipps Conservatory. With each moment paused in a frame, I was able to photograph the very instance of campers expanding their horizons. And what an invaluable instance it was!

Before, I only had experience in photographing still objects. I had always loved the intricacies of flowers and nature. I was fascinated by the complexity each had to offer. I gradually progressed to a different subject during an internship at Penn Brewery. I found how intriguing it was to photograph authentic German cuisine and the brew masters’ process of perfecting their craft.

My first day photographing the campers at Phipps Summer Camp, I was filled with great excitement and apprehension. Thoughts like “What if the kids don’t like me” or “What if I can’t get any of them to smile” ran through my head but the moment I stepped into the new classroom in the CSL building, all of those thoughts quickly faded. I immediately started snapping away at the curious campers digging in the dirt for worms and making mud pies. The smiles and laughter made each day worth while.

I found that as each camp continued throughout the week, I became more adaptable to the age group and learned how to interact with the kids for that golden shot. I also found that a higher shutter speed, natural light, and a big goofy smile made for the best photos. I was an object of curiosity to the campers as each one was to me as I watched the group make discoveries about the world around them.

Being in an environment that has so many resources available, Phipps is a horticultural menagerie where these campers can learn how to grow a sustainable garden, cook nutritious meals, and live a healthy life style all at a young age. As I interacted with these students each day, I know I was part of something greater than I had ever imagined when I first started: a new age of wonderfully brilliant and passionately curious learners. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the Science and Education Team. I could not have asked for a better experience.

Thank you!


Cory was such a wonderful part of our summer camp team this year! She is a kind, lovely person and a pleasure to work with. We are all in awe of her talent behind the camera. She will be very much missed and we wish her all the success in the world!!

To read more about Cory, check out her staff page.
The above photo of Cory was taken by Christie Lawry and the bottom photo was taken by Cory Doman.

August 9, 2013

Summer Camp Recap: My Five Senses

by Melissa Harding


Summer Camp Recap is our Friday seasonal segment featuring our summer camp programs. This is the place for camp parents to find pictures of their campers in action and see all the fun things we did all week. It’s also a great place for educators to pick up craft, story and lesson ideas for their own early childhood programs!

This week is another single week of camp, but a very exciting one – the Little Sprouts are back and they are learning about their eyes, ears, noses and fingers! Little Sprouts: My Five Senses is based on touching, smelling, hearing, seeing and even tasting. Campers learned what their five senses are and used them to explore the natural world. They spent the week smelling herbs, feeling plants and listening for nature sounds.


Day one focused on sight. Campers made a pair of binoculars out of recycled toilet paper rolls and decorated name tags. They learned about their sense of sight and why it is important to look closely. Next, they went on a walk around the Conservatory, using their binoculars to observe and practicing their skills by looking at plants with magnifying glasses. They saw lots of colorful flowers and even a few bugs!

Day two focused on touch. Campers decorated T-shirts with fingerprint daisies, feeling the cool paint on their hands. Next, they made their own salt dough, with help from their grown-up. Campers felt salt, flour, water and mixed it all up with their hands; they also added silky soft leaves and hard seeds to make a sculpture. The lesson focused on touching different leaves and flowers; campers took a walk around the Conservatory looking for different textures.


Day three focused on smell. Campers used smelly Kool-Aid paint to color in pictures of fruit, matching the picture to the smell. Next, they smelled different fruits and veggies – citrus fruits, strawberries, nectarines, pears and even onions. They also took a walk to the Edible Garden to hunt for smelly herbs. Campers smelled different herbs, flowers and leaves as they toured around the Conservatory.

Day four focused on hearing. Campers made seed shakers from repurposed materials.  They then learned about their ears and hearing, singing songs about their senses and reading a story with silly sounds. They took a walk in the Conservatory to find different “shakers”, each one filled with different seeds, along the way. Campers listened to the sound of each shakers and tried to guess what size and shape the seeds were. They even planted a scented geranium to take home; they can practice their observation skills all year long!

Want to talk to your Little Sprout about his five senses? Here are some of the books that we read this week at camp:
Here Are My Hands Bill Martin
My Five Senses Aliki
Listen to the Rain Bill Martin and John Archambault
Nosy Rosie Holly Keller
Meow Said the Cow Emma Dodd
Who Says That? Arnold Shapiro
Growing Colors Bruce McMillan
You Smell Mary Murphy
Can You Growl Like A Bear? John Butler

Check out the slideshow below!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While our summer Little Sprouts camps are full, we are offering even more programs this fall! Our first, We Heart Trees, is offered both September 19 and 20 from 10:30-noon. Contact 412-441-4442 ext. 3925 or see the website to register!

For more pictures, check out the Flickr page as well.

The above photos were taken by Cory Doman, our photography intern.


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