2023 Nature’s Navigators STEM Camp Recap

The 2023 Nature’s Navigators STEM Camp was held Aug. 8, 15, 22, 26, and 27.

2023 Schedule

August 8

Citizen Science 101

Learn the tools of GLOBE measurements and practice using them during a walking tour of Upham from the Nature Center to the riverfront to the Riverbend Trail, and back to the lodge.

What’s Up, Doc?

Take a barge to Blackhawk Island (BHI) to measure location with a GPS, air temperature with a digital thermometer, surface temperature with an infrared thermometer, cloud cover and type with a cloud chart, and relative humidity with a sling psychrometer.

August 15

Diggin’ in the Dirt

Take a barge to BHI to collect soil profile samples with an auger to understand horizons and soil layer history, observe changes in soil texture and color, compare air and soil temperatures, and identify soil carbonates with vinegar using GLOBE pedosphere protocol.

Taking Rover for a Ride

Use your new atmosphere and pedosphere knowledge to investigate the urban heat island effect. By steering a remote controlled TerraRover, campers will explore patterns of surface temperatures across the Upham campus and discover why they vary by land cover type.

August 22

Plenty O’ Plants

Learn the GLOBE biosphere protocol and how to estimate tree height (without having to climb the tree) with a homemade clinometer, tree circumference with a string and tape measure, and plant canopy cover with a homemade densiometer (yes, using a toilet paper roll). Campers will identify plants in the native plant gardens, the pollinators that visit them, and how these plants have been used historically.

Wacky Water Critters

Campers will use GLOBE hydrosphere protocol to measure water quality. After collecting water samples with a bucket, they will learn how to measure water transparency with a turbidity tube and Secchi disk, water temperature with a thermometer, electrical conductivity with an electrical conductivity meter, and water pH with a pH meter and pH paper.

August 26

Scales, Scutes, and Skins


Island Exploration

Take a barge to Blackhawk Island to hike, collect soil, atmosphere, and plant data, and explore a cave.

August 27

Looking to the Sky


Taking Autism to the Sky, Inc. (TATTS) will lead exciting, hands-on activities at Upham Woods, including on how drones work (yes, drones!), how to fly them, and how their imagery and video help us see the world in a new way. Everyone will get a chance to fly in the park. Then, at the base station, we will review the data collected, use an augmented reality sandbox to study the landscape, and explore sample imagery data within a GIS software called QGIS.