Memorial Day is the kickoff to the summer and where is the best place to spend the summer? Outside, of course, and family camping is one of the most popular summer time actitivites. On Saturday, June 25, 2011, the National Wildlife Federation is asking everyone to go camping! The Great American Backyard Campout is a grassroots initiative to Leave No Child Indoors! The National Wildlife Federation is raising awareness and also trying to raise funds for more outdoor youth programs. They are also encouraging families and communities spending time together outside camping. And while you're spending time outside - in the fresh air - why not explore nature (and science)!
So get your family and neighbors together and go camping - at a local campground, state or national park, or in your backyard. Being outdoors is a perfect time to connect to science. You can explore biology, conservation, ecology, astronomy, geology, geography, environmental science, and more.
I wrote a piece for COPUS - the Coalition of Public Understanding of Science encouraging its readers to participate in the Great American Backyard Campout and use that time to not only connect with family/neighbors but hace fun exploring science, too. Check out the blog post (link here) and read the whole list of recommended Citizen Science and Arts and Science activities recommended. Plus here's one I overlooked: Waving at the International Space Station as it orbits over your night time sky! The International Space Station is visible in the sky, assuming the weather agrees, so you could actually keep an eye out for it while you tell campfire stories and eat s'mores. Visit the website http://www.isswave.org/ for details on how to plan your wave. You can also follow them on Twitter @twisst for a tweet when it's visible from your skies.
Or if you're ready to sign up right now, then go for it. You can register your 'camp site' - your family, church or community event with the National Wildlife Federation Great American Backyard Campout website (link here). And visit my friend, Rue at Outdoor Afro for camping recommendations. If camping is still new to you it might prove helpful to get some tips to make the night stress-free adn enjoyable.
In the meantime, let me know if you plan on participating and how. And be sure to do a little exploration, too. Can't wait to hear all about your Urban Camping Science Adventures! ©