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June 5, 2008

Students discover nature during ULM Explorers Camp

Students, grades 8 – 12, are discovering science, math and technology at the fourth annual ULM Explorers Camp: The Science of Nature. ULM professors are leading the sessions, and undergraduate students are serving as mentors at the camp.

ULM’s program, part of the LA GEAR UP Summer Learning Camps, develops and promotes career and educational aspirations through leadership training, personal exploration, focused tutoring assistance, and introduction to areas of study at ULM. Two sessions are scheduled for June 1 – 7 and 8 – 14, with 62 campers participating each week.

Kim Taylor is the ULM camp project director and an instructor of computer science at the university. “The residential one-week program is designed to show students the need for early academic and financial preparation for education beyond high school.”

The LA GEAR UP Summer Learning Camps, which are hosted at ULM, Louisiana Tech, ULL and Grambling, are sponsored through the Board of Regents Louisiana Systemic Initiatives Program. Funding, provided by a LaSIP/LAGEAR UP grant totaling $89,548, allows ULM to provide these interactive camps for a fourth year. The camps are offered at no cost to students who live in one of the 11 designated LA GEAR UP parishes; that list may be obtained at

Students participate in four half-day explorations:

Biology (two sessions): They study the predator/prey relationship by dissecting owl pellets and constructing food chains. Also, they study live turtles. ULM’s Kim Tolson and John Carr lead the sessions.

Computer Science: They learn to research, analyze data and present results using technology. ULM’s Jose Cordova leads the sessions.

Toxicology: Students gain hands-on experience with instrumentation used by environmental professionals to monitor water quality as well as perform aquatic toxicity tests on surface water in an aquatic toxicology exploration. ULM’s Kevin Baer leads these sessions.

In addition to their daily lessons, students apply what they learn during a Wednesday field trip to the Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge. Students also visit the ULM Museum of Natural History.

Lisa Martin, a high school teacher from Franklin Parish, conducts leadership training activities. There is also focused math tutoring, based on a pre-test given the first day of camp. ULM’s April Picard leads the math tutoring.

For more information about this program, contact Taylor at

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