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Kids in temporary care can do wildfire science at camp


Young people in foster homes or other temporary care have an opportunity to spend June 26-30 exploring wildfire science at an Interior Alaska forest camp.

Applications are being taken through May 15 for Hot Times — Fire in the Forest, a day camp located 20 miles southwest of Fairbanks at the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research Site. Fourteen youths will be accepted.

The camp is organized by Fostering Science, a University of Alaska Fairbanks program that introduces science to young people who are cared for by foster parents, relatives, a group home or other similar facilities.

Christa Mulder, the UAF professor of plant ecology who directs the program, first became interested in child welfare while working in an orphanage in Colombia as a teenager. Mulder now has two kids by adoption and volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate for young people cared for by the state of Alaska. As she became familiar with the system, she found no camps for kids in temporary living conditions such as foster care.

“So, I put together my love of science with my interest in vulnerable youth and decided to create a science camp for youth in care,” Mulder said. “Luckily, the National Science Foundation thought it was a good idea and funded it.”

Participants in the Hot Times camp will explore nature, hike, make art, make friends, experiment and work with scientists from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. No prior science skills are needed. The camp is free and transportation will be provided.

To qualify, applicants must:

-Be in foster care, a group home, temporary custody of a relative or a shelter at the time of the camp
-Be entering seventh through 10th grades in fall 2017
-Be willing to spend a week (mostly) outside in the woods
-Be excited about learning and trying new things.

Applications can be found on the camp website, https://sites.google.com/alaska.edu/fosteringscience/2017-camp. For more information or to apply, visit the program website.


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