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4-H Solar Eclipse Camp gave youth front seat at once-in-a-lifetime event

4-H'ers view the solar eclipse at the West Kentucky 4-H Camp.

PHOTO: Matt Barton, UK Agricultural Communications
Dawson Springs, Ky.

At 11:55 a.m. CDT Aug. 21, Cory Stone, NASA solar system ambassador, gave the call for eclipse glasses to go on and excitement ensued. The moment for which campers at the 4-H Solar Eclipse Camp had been waiting had arrived.

The viewing of the total solar eclipse was the culmination of a weekend of learning and fun at the West Kentucky 4-H Camp. Located in Dawson Springs, the camp was in the path of the total solar eclipse. Its location gave Kentucky 4-H and University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension personnel a great opportunity to share educational information about science, space and the eclipse with young people. Campers represented 17 Kentucky counties as well as Virginia, Florida, Indiana and South Africa.

“I can remember being able to see a partial eclipse as a young child,” said Shane Browning, director of the camp, which is part of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “I absolutely believe this experience is something every young person at this camp will take back with them, as will the adults here, myself included.”

During the camp, 4-H’ers were exposed to science in a unique way. Stone, two other NASA experts and meteorologists shared their knowledge with the campers throughout the weekend. Young people and adult volunteers were able to get up close and personal with the solar system as they viewed planets through the lens of high-powered telescopes and other equipment brought in by the experts. They also made two different kinds of rockets, star gazed under the guidance of NASA personnel and built a solar car.

“What we are hoping is that the kids will get a true sense of how science can connect us to the world and how even they can conduct science and learn how the earth and the universe work,” Stone said. “For me, total eclipses of the sun are the coolest things in space to see.”

Along with all of the science-related programming, 4-H’ers participated in many traditional camping activities.

It was an opportunity the Lyvers family of Nelson County couldn’t resist. Four family members attended the camp including mother and son, Katie and Aydon Lyvers.

“It’s been great,” Katie Lyvers said. “I really appreciate all of the speakers. They’ve given us some really good information and gotten us prepared for the eclipse, so we know what’s going on, what to expect and how to be safe.”

Aydon, 13, said as soon as he found out about the camp, he wanted to go. He said the camp was what he expected and then some.

“The eclipse was the most amazing thing I have ever seen,” he said.

Contact: 

Shane Browning, 270-797-8758; shanebrowning@uky.edu

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