The camp, which is designed as a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) camp, was funded by the Karnes City ISD Education Foundation with donations also from local energy companies and the goal was to kindle interest in young people to learn more about and pursue careers in these areas of interest.
Karnes City ISD Superintendent Jeanette Winn said the camp projects were all centered around energy and oil and gas exploration.
Students used straws, jello, and maple syrup to simulate a horizontal fracturing (otherwise known as fracking) operation at an oil and gas well site as part of one camp activity that Winn described.
“The kids just absolutely loved it,” Winn said.
Other campers, Winn said, used straws to simulate the amount of pressure needed to draw fluids from the geological formations underground as a way to learn more about the science involved when fluids are pulled from formations deep underground.
Activities using solar energy to cook hot dogs, and techniques to draw water out of the moisture in the atmosphere, were among many things the participants enjoyed during the four-day-long camp.
“For the first 30 minutes of each day we had a representative from one of the oil companies to come talk to the kids and give them a demonstration and explanation,” Winn said, noting that the campers, as well as the adult workers found the presentations both very interesting and very educational.
A total of 35 campers in grade levels 3-7 participated in the camp including 15 from Karnes City ISD, 10 from Kenedy ISD, five from Runge ISD and five from Falls City ISD. Students were selected by their teachers to be invited to participate in the camp based on their aptitude in STEM areas of study.
Organizers hope to expand the camp next year to allow more participants if funding is available. They expressed thanks to the Karnes City ISD Education Foundation, Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, Talisman Energy, and Statoil for their contributions and sponsorship and also to the county school districts for their support of the program.