January 14, 2012

The Ultimate Peconic Dunes Guest!

Posted by Sarah Marcus, STEM Director/Educator @ Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp

(STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

Do you think science textbooks are dry and boring? Are you starting to daydream about Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp while your teacher is lecturing about Mendelian genetics?

Well then you should tell your science teacher about the The Ultimate Peconic Dunes Guest!

No…it’s not the Camp Director, Chris Colahan, or the Camp Ranger, Roger Martin or the CIT Director Ryan Frazer….No, the Ultimate Peconic Dunes Guest travels in a tank and likes to eat worms.

Cornelius II and Webster are two frogs that live all year at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp. You may have seen them in the tank in the Nature Den last summer and if you were lucky enough, you got to witness them devouring thick slimy earthworms. In the summertime, these two adorable amphibians provide entertainment and education for everyone that walks into the Nature Den. But what do these underwater air-breathers do during the winter and spring? Cornelius II and Webster may be curious to watch as they prey upon earthworms and hide under rocks, but they don’t just hang around Peconic Dunes to keep me company during the long cold off-season when you all are in school. They actually have the important job of traveling around to Long Island science classes so that students can get a taste of the outdoors right in their classrooms. That’s right, science class isn’t just about dissecting dead frogs that reek of formaldehyde, it is also about fun! Fun includes experiencing live frogs. After all, dissecting dead frogs can only offer you facts about the placement of their internal organs. Observing live frogs offers insights into their behavior like mate choice, habitat preference and fight or flight instinct.

Observation is the most important part of scientific discovery. Every science study, theory and law started with observation. When Cornelius II and Webster come to your school, you may notice something unusual about them and you may wonder how those unusual characteristics arose. This thought process is what makes science so cool. So, if you’re getting bored of memorizing your science textbook and can’t seem to figure out how the difference between animal cells and plant cells relate to your daily life, consider having Cornelius II and Webster make a guest appearance at your school. They’ll open your eyes to what science is really all about.

Peconic Dunes, this is your mission: All 5,000 of you, tell your science teachers about Peconic Dunes…tell them about our school programs…tell them about Cornelius II and Webster!

We hope to see you in your classrooms. If you're jonesing to get out of the classroom, check out our Spring Break Camp. In the meantime, check us out on Facebook.

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