What scat is that?

by Carrie M. Miller, Science & Technology Program Developer

As the Exploring Nature summer camp director, preparing the activities and materials to be used in summer camp is only half of the fun. The other half comes from seeing the looks on the campers’ faces as each activity is presented to them. Those looks vary from “Wow!” to “Really?”  This year, in Exploring Nature camp, I’m really hoping for an “Ew!” to go along with that “Wow!” Why? Because it’s all about the scat. 

What scat is that? Cat scat? Rat scat? Bat scat?

You may call it dung, droppings, feces, pellets or poop, but we’re going to be scientific and call it scat. Using my notes from back in my park naturalist days, I’m using an activity on how to make your own scat. And no, not in the everday process. This scat activity uses oatmeal, cocoa powder and food coloring. Food coloring is used when creating select scat pieces such as goose scat and you can add pet hair for more realistic canine scat. Creating this pseudoscat has its advantages. First, there’s no nose-pinching smell to run away from. Instead, it’s an aromatic chocolate scent. Second, it’s way safer and more sanitary than trying to actually go out and search for scat from coyotes, geese and deer. Third, the pieces can be strategically placed for the campers to find. And finally, I think it’s just fun to make!

Adding a little pet hair makes the carnivore scat look more realistic.

We’ll be using the homemade “scat” in the “What Scat is That?” activity in Exploring Nature camp the week of June 18. Campers will spend three days (Monday – Wednesday) at the museum with their own backpacks going on habitat hikes at White River State Park, seeing a live animal presentation, learning about animal adaptations and testing their scat identification skills, just to name a few activities. Campers will then spend the rest of the week (Thursday – Friday) at Eagle Creek Park where they can put their knowledge to good use. Who knows, maybe one of them will come across some actual scat on a trail at the park and be able to answer “What Scat is That?”

When creativity meets summer

By Katy Creagh, Art and Culture Program Developer

As an artist, I was always creating something when I was on summer break from elementary school. From trying to make my own pottery using clay in my backyard to making handmade birthday cards for my friends, expressing myself artistically — even if I didn’t realize it at the time — was my favorite summertime activity.

Because my creativity took over my mother’s dining room on more than one occasion, my parents put me in art classes. I LOVED it! I also LOVED arts and crafts time when I attended camp, vacation Bible school and any other summer activity my parents signed me up to attend.  And once I was old enough to sign myself up, I studied art in college and graduate school just so I could continue expressing myself and keep having as much fun as I did in my dining room back home.

If you know a child who enjoys making art and expressing their creativity as much as I did when I was little (and now that I’m all grown-up), make sure to sign them up for Indiana Artists Camp! As director of the camp, I can guarantee that the campers will have a week full of art making, creative experiences and fun activities. Learning about sculpture, making their own pottery and painting en plein air (painting outside) will be among the activities sure to captivate campers all week long. And to add an Indiana twist, we’ll be gaining our inspiration from some of the best Indiana has to offer in the field of visual arts.

Although I’m partial to art, you should know that the Indiana State Museum has six other fun filled Summer Camps as well. From Archaeology to Crime Scene Indiana State Museum, Paleontology I and II to Exploring Nature and History Alive, there is a topic to interest anyone. So, even though I’m busy preparing for Indiana Artists Camp, I am confident painting with a broad brush and promising your child will enjoy their summer if they come spend it with us at the Indiana State Museum.