Archive for ‘Seasonal Camps’

March 16, 2015

Check Out Our Upcoming Summer Camps!

by Melissa Harding


Winter is almost over and it’s time to sign up for summer camps!
Our new rack card is hot off the presses and we wanted to share our upcoming summer camps with you.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Summer Camp 2015 2pg view

The above photo was taken by Cory Doman.

February 24, 2015

Wonderful Worms in Winter!

by Melissa Harding


Even though it was one of the coldest days of the year so far, our Little Sprouts braved the winter weather to join us in the Tropical Forest last Friday for February’s Little Sprouts program, Wonderful Worms. During our latest Little Sprouts adventure, campers learned all about worm bodies and how these wonderful little critters help plants grow. Of course, they also sang songs, met a whole mess of worm friends, and got up close and personal with some plants in the Conservatory!

To begin, campers played with dirt and “compost” sensory bins; we created a compost bin out of shredded paper, plastic fruits and pipe cleaner worms to simulate what our real vermicomposter is like inside. Our campers really enjoyed the furry, fake worms!

After singing our welcome song together, the campers explored their mystery boxes. Inside they found real worms from our worm composter, along with some shredded paper. Campers explored the texture, temperature, shape, and size of these critters. They then used flashlights to look inside them and see the food as it passed through their digestive system. After they had seen our worm friends, campers learned how worms use their muscles to move through song by singing “The Worms in the Dirt” (hint: they go “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle”.)

Next, campers and their caregivers made their own worm art using spaghetti “worms” to make tracks in brown tempera paint. This sensory activity is not only fun, but allows campers to continue to explore touch and textures. After painting, campers ate a healthy snack of apples and bananas while Mr. Steve read “Wonderful Worms” by Linda Glaser. Finally, campers climbed through the Tropical Forest hunting for brightly colored yarn “worms” on the ground.

We had so much fun and can’t wait for our next Little Sprouts program in March!

To see more images from camp, check out the slideshow below:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To learn how to do your own worm study at home, check out this Backyard Connections post about worms!

Our March Little Sprouts program is already full, but please join us for four-day Sprouts over the summer. If you think this program sounded like fun, check out our summer camp “We Like Dirt” for a full week of playing in the mud! Please call Sarah Bertovich to register at 412-422-4441 ext. 3925 or visit our website.

The above photos were taken by Science Education staff and volunteers.

February 19, 2015

We Say “Goodbye” to Steve: Reflections of a Science Education Intern

by Melissa Harding


Steve Bucklin, our 2014 science education intern, will be ending his internship this week. He will be leaving Science Education and Research, but not Phipps, as he will continue to work in the Conservatory with our Discovery Education department, providing wonderful education experiences to our youngest guests and their caregivers. We are so excited that Steve will be staying a part of the Phipps family!

The following essay, written by Steve, is a reflection on the time he spent with our department:

It’s amazing both how long and how short one year can seem. In the time it took for the Earth to revolve around the sun once, countless organisms lived out their entire lives (think of all the annual flowering plants that go from seed to plant to flower and back again!), and I completed my internship with the Science Education and Research team at Phipps. Looking back on the past year, it’s shocking how quickly the time has passed, but the experience I’ve gained from the time I’ve spent at Phipps has made it one of the most impactful years of my life.

At the start of my internship, teaching made me extremely nervous. Standing in front of a group of 10 to 30 or more young children and helping to shape the way they think and what they know isn’t an easy task, and it becomes a lot more complicated when you add in things like crafts and snacks. However, over the course of my internship, I was able to teach many classes and work on becoming comfortable and relaxed in the classroom. I’ve learned that being relaxed is essential not only to the classes you teach being more effective and entertaining for the students, but it makes teaching a lot more fun too! Now I feel a sense of excitement when I get to lead a class and I am much more confident in front of groups. With the help and guidance of the wonderful Science Education team at Phipps and a lot of practice, I’ve really begun to develop my teaching skills. In total, I helped the Science Education team teach 36 field trip programs, 25 Little Sprouts camp classes, and 35 other seasonal and summer camps.


One great example of the progress I made during my internship is what I accomplished as part of the Eco Challenge. The Eco Challenge is an annual event at Phipps where students from different middle and high schools complete a series of challenges designed to engage them in thinking critically about environmental issues and sustainability. My job was to create an activity focused on the effect of food on the environment for middle school students. It was a daunting task, to say the least. The end product was a game that was both an age-appropriate way to discuss the environmental impact of food and that empowered student to make positive decisions. This program was very inspiring to me. Educating both others and myself about the environment has been a primary focus in my life since high school. To be able to do so for nearly 150 middle school students in a single day left me feeling unlike I ever have before.

As my time in the Science Education department reaches an end, I am sure that I am heading down a path that is right for me. Doing this work is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced and I hope I am able to continue doing it! As for my plans now, I’ll still be around the Conservatory for the foreseeable future. I have been working part-time in the Discovery Education department doing public programs for children since December and plan to continue my work there as I search for full-time employment. There’s no telling what the future holds, but the many opportunities I have had to gain experience in environmental education since graduating college have left me feeling very optimistic. I am very glad that I have the opportunity to continue working at Phipps and that I’ll be able to stop in and visit the awesome staff in Science Education as I keep progressing as an educator!

We would also like to thank Steve for all the hard work that he has done for us this past year.
We are so proud of him and wish him the best of luck!

The above photos were taken by Phipps Science Education and Research staff.

January 22, 2015

Our Little Sprouts Make New Bug Friends!

by Melissa Harding


Even though our Tropical Forest is under construction, that didn’t stop our Little Sprouts from having fun last week! During the latest Little Sprouts, Our Bug Friends, campers learned that bugs are really cool and important to plants (and people, too). They sang songs, met a puppet, and got up close and personal with a whole host of live bugs.

To begin, campers played with dirt and rice sensory bins in which we hid a variety of plastic bugs. Young children love to put their hands in the interesting textures and practice their motor skills by filling containers and using funnels and sieves. They also had fun both finding and hiding the bugs in the bins. In addition to the bins, we were also visited before camp by a very special visitor: Mr. Matt! Mr. Matt is our resident bug expert and he very kindly brought millipedes, pill bugs and a baby preying mantis for our campers to explore with their grown-ups. Both campers and caregivers enjoyed watching the preying mantis run up and down their sleeves!

After singing out welcome song together, the campers explored their mystery boxes. Inside they found a variety of bug pictures, including a ladybug, moth, butterfly, caterpillar, bee, ant and grasshopper. Campers used descriptors to find specific bugs in their boxes and learned what makes each one unique. They buzzed like bees,  flapped their wings like butterflies, chewed like caterpillars, and showed their strong muscles just like ants!

Next, campers and caretakers made bug crowns out of repurposed cardboard and put them on to sing a bug song. After the song, we read Beetle Bop by Denise Fleming and took a short snack break. Finally, Miss Verna introduced the campers to Huckle Bug, her bug puppet, as well as her collection of live bugs. Huckle Bug sang a song with campers and helped them to hold and pet a cricket, a millipede, a beetle larva, a cockroach and a stick bug. Miss Verna’s bugs showed off their tricks, from dancing to rolling over, and inspired every camper to love bugs.

We had so much fun and can’t wait for our next Little Sprouts program in February!

To see more images from camp, check out the slideshow below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Join us for our next Little Sprouts adventure in February! We will be learning all about worms and why they are so important to plants and people in Wonderful Worms, February 20, 9:30-10:30 am and 11:00 am-noon. Please call Sarah Bertovich to register at 412-422-4441 ext. 3925 or visit our website.

The above photos were taken by Science Education staff and volunteers.


January 7, 2015

Check Out Our Upcoming Winter/Spring Programs!

by Melissa Harding


Winter weather got you down? Warm up with a Phipps seasonal camp!
Our new rack card is hot off the presses and we wanted to share our upcoming programs with you.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

Spring 2015 Rack Card

To sign up for any upcoming programs, contact Sarah at 412-441-4442 ext. 3925 or at . We hope to see you soon!

The above photo was taken by Science Education and Research staff.

January 5, 2015

Upcoming Little Sprouts: Our Bug Friends!

by Melissa Harding


Phipps Camp_5-17-13_51

This January, join us for the next installment of Little Sprouts, Our Bug Friends.  Phipps Little Sprouts camps for 2-3 year-olds and their adult caregiver are interactive programs for child and adult to experience together.  Each session will take place in the Tropical Forest and include songs, stories, sensory experiences, and healthy snacks. In Our Bug Friends, campers will meet a variety of bugs that help plants to grow.

Please join us on January 16, 9:30-10:30 or 11:00 a.m. to noon for Our Bug Friends.

If you would like to sign up your child for this or any other Little Sprouts program, please contact Sarah at (412)441-4442 ext. 3925.

For a complete list of all our Little Sprout offerings, please visit our website.

We hope to see you there!

The above photo was taken by Science Education and Research staff.

December 1, 2014

1-year Paid Internship Oppportunity in Phipps’ Science Education and Research Department!

by Melissa Harding

Bugs 040

Phipps is offering a 12-month Science Education Internship to students interested in gaining experience in youth-focused education and outreach initiatives in the areas of environmental conservation and sustainability, art and science, and healthy living, with the core of building a positive relationship between humanity and the environment. The intern will work closely with Science Education and Research staff and volunteers to a) develop and teach cross-disciplinary, participatory programs including summer camps, out-of-school and weekend programs for youth and families, on-site and off-site school programs, scouts and brownies badge programs, programs for homeschool groups, and outreach for under-resourced youth, b) assist in developing programs that connect youth to environment-focused scientists and provide educational enrichment for formal and informal educators, and c) represent Phipps at community events, online as applicable, present on Phipps’ innovative green initiatives, and other potential duties as needed.

15-Day 3 031

This paid internship commences January 2015, with up to 40 hours/week during the summer months and 15-20 hours/week during the school year. Some evening and weekend work required. The student should be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at least halfway through the course of study, or one year post-graduate from undergraduate program, or currently enrolled as a graduate student. The degree focus must be in an area related to Phipps’ Science Education and Research department, e.g., environmental education, environmental social sciences, environmental communications, ecological or conservation-based biological sciences, or nutrition and dietetics. A valid driver’s license and a car to use for transport for off-site programs (mileage reimbursed) are preferred. Experience working with youth is a plus.

Application deadline: 12/31/2014. Interested candidates should email a cover letter and resume to Please reference SCIENCE EDUCATION INTERNSHIP in the subject line.

 The above photos were taken by Science Education staff.


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