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Swamp campers learn that science can be a blast

Chance King, left, and Mollie Anderson react to an exploding watermelon Monday morning at the Friend’s of St. Catherine Creek Refuge’s Science in the Swamp summer camp hosted at the wildlife refuge.  (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)
Chance King, left, and Mollie Anderson react to an exploding watermelon Monday morning at the Friend’s of St. Catherine Creek Refuge’s Science in the Swamp summer camp hosted at the wildlife refuge. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)

BY MARY KATHRYN CARPENTER

NATCHEZ — A group of local children attending a science camp at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge learned a few rubber bands was all they needed to make a watermelon explode.

Carlie Adams enjoys a chunk of watermelon after doing a science experiment during the Friends of St. Catherine Creek Refuge’s Science in the Swamp camp Monday morning. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)
Carlie Adams enjoys a chunk of watermelon after doing a science experiment during the Friends of St. Catherine Creek Refuge’s Science in the Swamp camp Monday morning. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)

The children, attending a Science in the Swamp day camp, obliterated watermelons with nothing but rubber bands and a lot of patience.

“When is it going to bust?” Carlie Adams, a seventh grader from Monterey asked as her friends as they helped her layer on rubber band after rubber band.

A few minutes later, watermelon chunks flew skyward and coated the shirts of the four children working on that particular melon.

Squeals and laughter followed shortly after the fruit explosion.

“The funniest part was hearing Carlie scream,” joked Carson Cupit, a Delta Charter seventh-grade student. “The explosion was awesome.”

The 18 young students weren’t just at St. Catherine Creek to demolish fruit, however.

The main goal of the camp was to learn.

Carson Cupit steadies a watermelon with his foot while, from left, Ryleigh Probst, Scott Nichols, Joseph Poole and Carlie Adams wrap rubber bands around it which eventually made the melon explode. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)
Carson Cupit steadies a watermelon with his foot while, from left, Ryleigh Probst, Scott Nichols, Joseph Poole and Carlie Adams wrap rubber bands around it which eventually made the melon explode. (Mary Kathryn Carpenter / The Natchez Democrat)

“The kids will learn about light, animal tracks, chemical bonds and forest and wetland conservation,” said Charmin Cupit, administrative officer at the wildlife refuge. “All of the experiments the kids do are tied to a lesson or a concept. The ultimate goal is for the kids to learn about conservation.”

The two-day camp began with participants tie-dying T-shirts.

“The T-shirts teach us about colors of the rainbow and lights,” said Abrianna Hall, a Vidalia High School freshman. “The colors of the rainbow will always be in order because of the wavelengths of each color.”

The students also made clay animal tracks and slime during the camp.

“It’s real, real fun,” said Jordon Johnson, a seventh-grader at Vidalia Junior High School. “I would come every week if I could.”

The Friends of St. Catherine Refuge will host another camp next Thursday and Friday for senior citizens called Seniors in the Swamp.

The camp will include similar activities, such as making slime and tie-dying T-shirts.

There is no registration fee for the camp.