Super Explorers

By Katie Denta, Intern

After a decade of running summer Super Explorers camps for kids, the City of Kokomo Parks & Recreation partnered with the Indiana University Kokomo School of Education to revamp curriculum for two weeks of Super Explorers summer camp. The Community Foundation of Howard County provided grant funding which helped the program gain new curriculum written by two IUK students. ¬†Education majors Erica Bennett and Alyssa Lorenz were chosen by IUK University Supervisor Julie Saam and the Kirkendall Nature Center Director Linda Hurd to develop and implement revised curriculum for the camps.

Eighteen children attended the Super Explorers Camp for ages five to eight which ran July 8 to12. Senior Super Explorers hosted nine kids ages nine to 12 during the week of July 15 to 9. Each group of kids participated in a variety of learning and nature-focused activities, crafts, games and projects at the Kirkendall Nature Center located inside of Jackson Morrow Park. Guest speakers included Sarah Brichford from the Kokomo Storm Water District and Michelle Gilbert from the Howard County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Super Explorers participated in activities such as a nature walk, leaf tracing, a native plant discussion, learning about types of soil, planting flowers and learning the stages of plant growth through a craft.

Senior Super Explorers built protective devices for eggs on Monday and tested them in an egg drop from the park’s playground equipment. On Tuesday, explorers learned about plants and planted sunflowers or green beans to take home. The kids constructed bird feeders out of toilet paper rolls spread with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed on Wednesday. Thursday was water day for the Senior Super Explorers. Sarah Brichford from Kokomo’s Storm Water District came and took the kids on a creek walk. Along the creek walk, they caught small fish and crawdads. After the walk, Brichford explained the different kinds of fish in the creek and let kids examine the crawdads. Super Explorers returned their catch to the creek and journaled about what they learned. On the final day of camp, the Senior Super Explorers participated in a survival simulation in which they were blindfolded, took to a certain location in the park and had to work as a group using compasses to navigate back to the Kirkendall Center.

Dr. Saam noted that there was a waiting list of kids who wanted to participate in the camp. Directors hope that the program will continue to grow and be able to accommodate additional numbers of children each year.

“We were happy to support the Super Explorers program. Super Explorers camp allows Howard County students to learn about the different types of water and natural resources that are unique to our area as well as the different environmental processes that take place in ecosystems all around the world,” concluded Community Foundation president Hilda Burns.

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