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Thanks to Monsanto, summer science camp soars

This article appeared in the July 26, 2013 edition of the Davis Enterprise.

Thanks to Monsanto, summer science camp soars

Explorit Summer Camp participants and Educator flee as a Mentos and cola geyser rushes high into the sky above them. Photo courtesy of Leah Aslett.

By Lisa Justice

Special to the Enterprise

Explorit’s summer science camps had some very special visitors on Tuesday as a group of generous benefactors from Monsanto stopped by.  Monsanto has graciously renewed their support of Explorit’s informal science programs with a grant of $20,000 to support summer science camps this year.

Monsanto representatives were greeted by several members of Explorit’s staff and board of trustees as well as an eager group of summer campers ready to show off what they’ve learned this summer.  After a check presentation and a few photographs, the campers stole the show, demonstrating science experiments and projects from their camps on chemistry, meteorology, forensic science and astronomy.

Young meteorologists demonstrated tornado tubes that imitate the tell-tale funnel cloud of a tornado, allowing for up-close observation of wind patterns.  They also observed wind patterns and the power of wind erosion with a fan and a model city made of toothpicks.  An earthquake table allowed students to explain the movement of tectonic plates and Explorit educator Mike Wang-Belt used a balloon full of baking soda to illustrate a lesson on volcanoes.

Forensic science came alive with fingerprint powder the campers had made themselves.  They practiced dusting for and taking each others’ prints, then examining them to match them to the right person.

Junior astrophysicists made and explained gravity vortices with paper cones and marbles, bringing the complexity of black holes down to earth in a fun and interactive way.  And the day finished with a bang from the chemistry camp as Explorit educator Sarah Thomas set off a geyser of mentos candy and soda.

Monsanto’s generous gift will continue to provide these and other innovative, hands-on science experiences for campers all summer long.  Chemistry campers will continue to turn the insides of eggshells into artificial geodes while those in the astronomy camp will go on to practice navigating the surface of Mars with replica rovers.  And in August Explorit will swarm with little zoologists exploring the wonders of the animal kingdom.

It’s gifts like these that keep Explorit’s programs alive and thriving for up and coming generations of scientists.  In addition to summer science camp, Explorit offers a wide array of programs for schools and community groups during the academic year as well as hosting creative, interactive exhibits in our museum space at Mace Ranch Park.  If you or your corporation might be interested in helping to support these educational science endeavors, please contact us at



Explorit’s coming events:

• Sunday, August 18 from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m.: Explorit’s Final Blast Family Fun Science Show. Witness chemical genius as UCD faculty provide live chemistry demonstrations, take a ride on a Whymcycle and cool off with a smoothie from Jamba Juice. Try you hand at creating art with a scientific twist and practicing science through art.  Tickets are available now at 

Space is limited so, buy your tickets today for a fun filled afternoon at Explorit. 


Explorit Science Center is located at 3141 5th St. For more information call (530) 756-0191 or visit  You can also “like” us on Facebook at or follow us on twitter at @ExploritScience.

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