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Kauffman Museum day camp will look at nature’s diversity

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Kauffman Museum’s popular Uncle Carl’s Camps, the summer day camp program for children of various ages, have filled up fast, but one still has room for more participants.

“From Microbes to Milkweed,” scheduled for June 25-29 from 9 a.m.-noon, is geared to ages 12-14, or those who have just finished grades 6-8.

Camp instructor is Jerry Epp of North Newton, a biology and advanced placement (AP) biology teacher at Newton High School.

Epp plans to draw on the various natural habitats close to Kauffman Museum – the plot of tallgrass prairie in front, the woodland area directly to the north and Kidron Canal and Sand Creek across the road on the Bethel College campus – for a camp that will explore the diverse life forms all around.

Some of the activities include creating a sourdough culture at the beginning of the week in order to bake sourdough bread at the end, examining how bacteria affect the flavors of foods like yogurt and cheese, looking at aquatic microorganisms with microscopes and dissecting scopes, building pitfall traps to catch insects in the prairie and woodland areas and then compare them for differences, mapping how gravity and centrifugal force affect plant growth by putting seeds on a moving record turntable, and monitoring the oxygen used by grasshoppers and other larger insects through using computers and oxygen chambers.

The camp will emphasize hands-on experiments and activities, Epp said, and it will wrap up with campers giving presentations on their projects for parents, grandparents and siblings.

Kauffman Museum curator of education Andi Schmidt Andres described “From Microbes to Milkweeds” as a forerunner to Bethel College’s Summer Science Institute for high school students, which follows a similar format. Epp said, “The focus is diversity” – biological and ecological.

The cost for the camp is $60 for Kauffman Museum members and $75 for non-members. Everyone gets a T-shirt. For more information or to register, call Andi Schmidt Andres at (316) 283-1612 or stop by the museum, open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (closed Mondays and major holidays), at Main and 27th Streets in North Newton on the Bethel College campus.

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