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Environment Monitoring Camp Recap

In July 2022, ORCSGirls ran the Environment Monitoring Camp for the second time. At the camp, the girls learned how to take environmental readings through a device called the ESP32-S2 TFT Feather. Using Adafruit’s technology, they programmed a working sensor that they could access through their computers. They used Adafruit’s IO program to create unique ways to display their data. They also made an app on using an API from Adafruit.

Two of the counselors, Katie and Kristen, are experienced with environmental technology. After participating in the camp, they expanded their knowledge to create a ProjectCSGirls entry. Now they’ve written about their experiences to share here.

Katie shares her experience…

“When I took the Enviro Monitoring Camp last summer, I learned so much about sensors and the environment. Afterwards, I kept exploring technology and took more environment monitoring classes. Eventually Kristen and I paired up for ProjectCSGirls and created a device using the technology in this camp! It was such a great experience to expand on everything I learned with a friend.

“When Dr. Proffen asked us to be counselors at the 2022 Enviro Camp, I was so excited. This was an opportunity for me to be able to help other girls learn about technology and the environment like I did! After working with these devices for so long, it felt good to share my knowledge with others.

“The girls were all so interested in learning, and it was a lot of fun to be a counselor. There were tough moments when we had to fix errors and find work-arounds, but by the end of the week, I was really proud of everything they’d accomplished! Everyone was super creative, and it was also a huge learning experience for me. It wasn’t only the participants who were learning during the camp. The counselors gained more experience and skill by teaching. If I had to give one piece of advice to new counselors or volunteers, it’s to be flexible, relaxed, and just have fun!”

Kristen shares her experience…

“In summer 2021, I participated in the Enviro Camp. I was new to the content, but still very excited. During the camp, I learned so much and had a ton of fun! I was glad to have the help of the counselors. Now, a year later, I was that counselor, the person the girls look to for help. This meant a lot to me, to be showing other girls how to do the things I learned to do, and then used to create amazing things!

“After participating in the Enviro Camp, I expanded on what I had learned and turned it into a project for the Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair. My project won first place, Grand Champion! During the process of preparing my project, I also teamed up with Katie, and together, we worked on a ProjectCSGirls project! We are finalists in the competition, and the gala is coming up soon. Both of these projects have to do with safer air. Having safe air is a huge necessity, and devices just like the one we used in this camp can help with that issue.

“I had a wonderful time participating in the camp as well as volunteering for it! If you or someone you know is looking for a place where they can be in a community of girls their age who want to learn more about science and technology, ORCSGirls is the place for you!! I would strongly recommend the camp, along with all the other classes, to anyone who would be interested!”

One of the 2022 participants, Leah, is also sharing her point of view…

“I always loved the programming language, Python, and was pumped to find out that ORCSGirls offered a camp focused on programming technology in that language. I applied for the camp, and a month or so later, I received a package in the mail full of sensors and thermometers and of course, ORCSGirls swag. Soon after, I logged on to the very first day of camp on my computer. Everyone else seemed excited to ‘dig in’ to the cool technology. Throughout the week, we learned more Python, hardware, and we even made our own feed using Adafruit. Even though we played with some cool technology, I think the best part of this camp was seeing beginners, advanced students, 6th graders and 9th graders, and kids from all over the world working together on the same device, even though we might be miles away. I remember that girls would share their Adafruit dashboards with each other, and it blew my mind that I see the temperature states away! This camp was not only about Environment Monitoring, but it was a friendly environment. I really appreciated all that the leaders and volunteers did to make this camp special to the participants. I would recommend the camp to any girl that wants to challenge herself and make new friends.”

ORCSGirls is a great community of girls interested in STEAM. The Environment Monitoring Camp is an opportunity to learn new skills and have fun with other girls, and it’s beneficial for the participants and counselors. The other classes and camps are just the same, providing interesting and fun activities to learn science and technology!

A huge thank you to Dr. Proffen, the counselors, and the participants for making the 2022 Enviro Camp so amazing!!


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