May 5, 2008

E.C.O. (Ecology Camp Organon)

What's E.C.O.? Ecology Camp Organon is the newest program to arrive at Peconic Dunes this summer. This program is offered in part by New York State Sea Grant and Cornell University Nanobiotechnology Center. But what's ecology? And what on earth is an organon?

Ecology = The scientific study of the distribution and abundance of life and the interactions between organisms and their environment.

Organon = An instrument of thought or knowledge.
The Organon is the name given by Aristotle’s followers, the Peripatetrics, to the standard collection of his six works of logic.

The E.C.O. philosophy is to connect children with their environment through authentic research and observation. Hands-on, field-oriented projects enrich our campers’ understanding of our local ecosystem and how its micro-systems are interconnected. We encourage the open discussion of many ecological issues, some controversial, so that campers reach a deeper understanding of the natural world and their role in preserving it.

Campers choose from a variety of conservation projects dealing with our local environment and (wo)man’s relationship to it. Projects will include Long Island Sound, Great Pond Waterbody, Coastal Birds, and more! An integral part of the program includes using sampling instruments used by professional biologists, botanists, ornithologists, and other environmental scientists. Campers work on their project every morning, Monday to Thursday, then transition to the traditional 4-H program each afternoon. Campers develop public speaking skills as they prepare a presentation on their project and deliver it to an audience of their peers Friday morning. Presentations also initiate dialogue between project “specialists” and reveal the importance of developing solutions to problems in community.

During E.C.O., campers will practice stewardship in their projects and in their relationships. The projects will all be completed in groups, so for a presentation to be successful, cooperation and communication will be required. And of course, the data that each group collects will stand over time as an authentic contribution to the growing body of knowledge CCE is collecting on Peconic Dunes County Park and the ecosystem for which it serves as steward.

E.C.O. is being offered sessions 6-8 (August 3 - August 23) and will replace Sea Wolf. Children 8-15 are eligible. All projects will take place within walking distance of Peconic Dunes County Park.

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