EDWARDSVILLE - True to its interactive and exciting nature, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Odyssey Science Camp hosted four feathered guests on Wednesday, July 19 for campers in grades 2-4.

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The featured birds of prey were presented by the Treehouse Wildlife Center and included Phoenix, the American Kestrel, Casey, the Red-shouldered Hawk, Chill, the Barred Owl, and Casper, the endangered Barn Owl.

“My favorite one was the Barn Owl,” Amelia Zhang said. “I liked how it flapped its wings.”

“Their feathers were pretty,” added Gabrielle Thompson. “We learned about their adaptations.”

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The visitors complemented their biology lessons during camp. The real-life visual demonstrated Odyssey Science Camp’s goals of offering enhanced opportunities for students to get excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Camp is coordinated by the SIUE STEM Center.

“When the kids come to Odyssey Science Camp, we want them to have hands-on opportunities to engage in activities and experiments that they don’t necessarily get during the school year,” camp instructor Vicki Eschman said. “We want them to come away from each day, thinking about how cool science is. We want to inspire them to be scientists.”

“It’s important to educate kids about nature and wildlife,” said Pam Lippert, senior wildlife technician with Treehouse Wildlife Center, located in Dow. “We do wildlife rehabilitation with the goal of release back to the wild. We also do a lot of environmental education, specifically using unreleasable wildlife.”

Odyssey Science Camp is designed for students entering grades 2-9 and runs through Friday, July 28. Activities range from introducing scientific principles, building math skills, simple “crime scene” investigations, exploration of renewable energy sources, constructing a Lego® robot and astronomy activities, including telescope building and model rocket engineering.

For more information, visit siue.edu/summer/camps/odyssey-science-camp.

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Center for STEM Research, Education and Outreach comprises an independent group of researchers and educators, innovating ways to engage students and the public in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Within the SIUE Graduate School, the Center brings together research faculty, graduate students and practitioners to conduct education research. The Center contributes educational expertise to SIUE undergraduate classes and provides professional development for K-12 teachers. The Center boasts a significant library of equipment and resources, which are available for loan at no cost to campus and regional instructors. For more information, visit https://www.siue.edu/stem/about.shtml or contact STEM Center Director Sharon Locke at (618) 650-3065 or stemcenter@siue.edu.

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