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Recycled Items Can Go a Long Way at Summer Science Camp

This article appeared in the June 13, 2014 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Recycled Items Can Go a Long Way at Summer Science Camp

What are YOU drinking water from? Over a 12 month period a few years ago, Richard James, a "Volunteer in Parks" (VIP) found these plastic bottles awash at Pt. Reyes National Seashore and constructed these "Meta-Bottles". Standing over 8 feet tall his "m

By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise


Next week begins the first wave of Explorit’s popular Summer Science Camps!  The museum’s classrooms will be overrun with eager young scientists ready to dive head-first into hands-on experiments about animals, chemistry, climate change and more. 


But to be ready to greet them with everything they need to learn and grow, Explorit needs your help to stock up on supplies you can find at home.  Explorit often repurposes many kinds of things considered trash or recyclables.  Here are a few things we can use that you can gather around the house and let us repurpose them rather than recycling or throwing out with the trash.


We need a large supply of cereal and other tall food boxes like cracker or cookie boxes.  Our climate scientists will be experimenting with changes in weather patterns and hurricane intensity by building a cardboard city and testing its endurance against winds of different speeds.  Other cardboard items will become the bases for magnetic sculptures as campers explore, experiment and discover what makes things stick together.


Yarn or string and film canisters or similar smaller containers will help junior zoologists explore micro scents and how animals leave scent trails.  These same explorers will also use pinecones to investigate a day in the life of a bird, so we’ll take those lingering holiday leftovers off your hands.


Our preschoolers will use paper towel tubes and aluminum foil to make their own souvenir rainsticks to remind them of their Amazonian exploration.  Small green produce baskets will be transformed into greenhouses with the help of a little plastic wrap.


Other recyclable items like yogurt cups, toilet paper tubes, cardboard or plastic trays and containers and bottle caps of any size will become the raw materials for a variety of building challenges.  Campers will be challenged to design an insulated “cooler” that can slow the melting of an ice cube.


To witness the effects of melting glaciers and sea level rise, these campers will also build a waterfront city, then add melting ice cubes and document the outcome.  Your donated supplies will give them plenty of materials to experiment with and help make it a summer they’ll never forget.


Please make sure that all donated items are thoroughly cleaned and ready for use.  Donations may be brought to Explorit’s office weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 3141 5th St. in Davis.  All donations are tax-deductible.  Just ask for a donation form when dropping off.



Explorit’s coming events:


  • Explorit’s Beautiful World: Science and Art exhibition is open to the public every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-5:00 p.m. and every Friday, 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Admission is $5.00 per person; Explorit members, teachers and children 2 and under are free.
  • Interested in membership?  Think your Explorit membership may have lapsed?  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 to check or sign up!
  • Birthdays are back at Explorit!  Call Explorit at 530-756-0191 for more information or to book your party.
  • Summer Science Camp is coming!  Registration is open now.  Visit for all the details or to register.
  • Don’t miss Explorit’s summer field trip to the Discovery Museum’s Challenger Center on August 6 for fifth- and sixth-grade students!  Search “Explorit” on
  • Save the date:  Sunday September 7th!!  Our exciting “Final Blast Festival and Chemistry Show” will once again wow you and your kids!  This event celebrates the end of our Summer Science Camp season and fun way to start the new school year!



Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit, or “like” us on Facebook at

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