Each year, the Urban Ecosystem Project activities culminate with the Mosquitoes & Me Summer Camp. This event is a 2-week long, science day camp that brings together youth and educators for a unique and engaging science experience.
20 to 40 youth (entering grades 5-9) have participated each year in the Mosquitoes & Me Summer Camp. Beginning in 2016, this science day camp focuses on the study of mosquitoes to engage student curiosity and interest, enhance their positive identification with science, and motivate their continued study. See what the camp experience is like in this YouTube video.
Camp educators are made up of a variety of individuals, including college undergraduates, school teachers, and community educators. Prior to the start of Mosquitoes & Me Summer Camp, our educators gain experience in one or more of our preparation programs.
- ISU undergraduates participate in the Teaching and Learning with Insects course (EDUC 441x) and elementary education majors are eligible to complete their classroom practicum teaching experience at the ISU 4U Promise schools in Des Moines.
- Inservice teachers learn about and implement Ambitious Science Teaching while participating in the Urban Ecosystem Project’s Professional Learning Community (PLC).
- The Mosquitoes & Me After School Program and Club provide community educators, ISU undergraduates and UEP staff the opportunity to provide engaging science activities to youth in their out of school time.
Small groups consisting of new campers, youth mentors, and educators form camp teams. Teams learn about mosquito biology, ecology, control and protection against diseases by asking some big questions and working together with authentic science tools and practices to understand the answers.
For example, our young mosquito scientists (and educators) discover answers to these questions, and more.
- What do mosquitoes eat?
- Why do mosquitoes bite?
- How do they grow?
- How do you dissect a mosquito and what is inside?
- Where can I find mosquitoes in my neighborhood?
- What happens to mosquitoes during natural disasters?
- How do we control mosquitoes and prevent diseases?
In 2019, youth interest in the program exceeded the current capacity of the UEP. With growing interest and community support, the UEP is focused on increasing the available resources to provide ongoing science programs and to expand with additional implementation sites.