Jr Conservationist Field Camp

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Building Wetlands

Eco Explorers was pleased to partner with some of our area’s environmental superstars to present an 8-day summer camp experience for Pittsburgh 4th – 6th graders. Eco Explorers joined South Fayette Conservation Group, a local watershed organization,  Hedin Environmental, an environmental engineering firm, and Albert Kollar, geologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and former president of the Pittsburgh Geological Society.

Our activities involved an equal share of indoor and outdoor learning, complete with 4 hands-on field trips. During our classroom days, we participated in  multi-sensory activities to help us to understand our local geology and the phenomena that influence our watersheds (pictured right: building wetlands) and the dynamics of our environment.

Our field experiences intended to introduce us to real environmental professionals and to show us real life examples of the work that environmentalists, engineers and natural scientists do.

We visited Fossils Cliff, one of Pennsylvania’s premiere fossil hunting sites to carefully extract and identify fossils in fossil-bearing strata exactly as paleontologists do every day. We took a trip to the lab of geologist Albert Kollar at the Carnegie Museum and had a private behind-the-scenes tour of the fully-equipped paleontological research laboratory and specimen collection at the museum. We joined South Fayette Conservation Group for a guided tour of a remediated multi-pond wetland.

Wingfield Pines Passive Abandoned Mine Drainage Remediation Site

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Mr. Kollar showing us a 20-milion year old lake cobble

Our last day of camp brought our environmental all stars together – we took a trip to the environmental success story, Wingfield Pines, a 25-acre abandoned mine drainage remediation site that mitigates 43 tons of iron oxides flowing into Chartiers Creek (pictured above).  Completed in 2009, the system operates by gravity and treats iron-laden mine discharge that is running at 1,500 gallons per minute across the property before it enters Chartiers Creek. The engineering firm which designed the incredible site, Hedin Environmental, led our lucky campers on a hike through the property. Scientist Albert Kollar joined us again, too – as if the experience wasn’t already cool enough – to show us about the evidence of an ancient 20 million year old lake that once filled the area!

Jr. Conservationist was a truly special experience!

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