Monday, August 8, 2011

4-H Green Science Adventure Camp: Day 1!

Hi Everybody!

My name is George, and I am the resident skunk here at Michigan State University's Tollgate Education Center. I am so excited for this year's 4-H Green Science Adventure Camp! I can't wait to sink my paws into some fun this week-- these five days are going to be a blast!

I've decided to keep a blog so that everyone can come check out all of the excitement we have bubbling in Novi. We just finished up lunch, and wow am I stuffed! I was able to eat a deeeeelicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich with all of my new friends in the shade of some beautiful trees, but I can't stay on here for long-- we still have a full afternoon of activities planned.

Everything has been great so far, and I think all of the campers would agree! After check-in, each camper made their own visor (which helps with the sunshine!), before breaking off into groups. You see, we have 41 campers, and they are divided into 4 different groups: Green Pepper Group, Yellow Pepper Group, Orange Pepper Group, and Red Pepper Group. Campers will stay with their group throughout the week of camp, but that doesn't mean everyone doesn't get to see one another! As a matter of fact, I just saw a few Red Peppers filling up their brand-new 4-H water bottles with a pair of Green Peppers!

After getting situated, each Pepper group explored the grounds at Tollgate before going to their first activity. This morning's activities included campers making their own healthy and yummy yogurt parfaits and ricotta cheese, learning about the parts of a plant and what they need to grow and survive, planting their own seeds for the Seed Growth Contest, tie-dying their own 'I <3 Science!' t-shirts, and spending some quality time in the Children's Garden.

I made sure to snap some photographs of these activities, so check them out below!

Eloise, Roman, and Luke all practice their kitchen safety skills while preparing their delicious yogurt parfaits.

Jackson (center) works on his t-shirt design before the dying process.

Activity Leader Miss Nora shows Jacob how to dye his t-shirt.

Haisley was super careful in dying her shirt! Can't wait to see the end result!

Above, Eric finds a new and unique way to wear his personalized visor!

Inside the Garden Kitchen, Roman munches on some chive that was freshly picked from the Children's Garden! We incorporated chive into the ricotta cheese recipe for a tasty mid-morning snack!

Meg and Eloise measure the temperature of the milk for the ricotta cheese recipe. 

Mr. Alan pours the mixture into the cheese cloth to help separate the curds and whey. Mmm mmm, it tasted great!

Activity Leader Miss Carolyn calls on Laura to help explain the different parts of a plant.

The Yellow Pepper Group enjoys their lunch. This is what happens when I say "Hey Yellow Peppers, Give Me Your Best Shot!"

After lunch, each Pepper Group started their afternoon in another exhilarating activity! Campers learned how to make home-made ice cream (and how to get it all over their faces), ran in a water-themed relay, and studied the fundamentals of a nutritious food plate. While making ice cream, youth measured the ingredients and rocked and rolled the ice cream ball before enjoying their tasty treat. During the water-themed relay, campers found out how water travels through a plant, and how much their Activity Leaders love getting soaked! Check out Miss Nora's wet and wild fun with the Green Pepper Group below!

In the shade of the Mystical Black Walnut Tree, Miss Carolyn taught campers all about a balanced diet. Using the food plate, everyone raced to put pictures of their favorite foods in their corresponding food group-- all in a race to beat the clock!

Miss Melyssa, alongside Laura, pour their home-made ice cream into the ice cream ball.

Brooklyn, Ella, and Emily roll the ice cream ball to help the solidifying process!

Cooling down in the Garden Kitchen, Michael, Mr. Alan, and Bowen read a book about vegetables.

Showing off their artistic skills, the Red Pepper Group uses side walk chalk to draw their own genus of flower.

Lucy stretches out while drawing with side walk chalk.

Using the Red Pepper Group's over-sized flower, Justin climbs up the stem a la Jack and the Bean Stalk.

The end result of the Seed-Growth Contest. Whose seed will grow the most?! We'll find out later this week!

Miss Carolyn and the Orange Pepper Group spend some time under the Majestic Black Walnut Tree.


I have also included all of the recipes from today's activities, so don't be afraid to try them at home!

Healthy Yogurt-Granola Parfaits
2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 cup chopped strawberries
2 sliced bananas
1 cup blueberries
2 cups plain rolled oats
1 cup whole grain cereal

Large clear bowl
½ cup and 1 cup measuring cups
Knives for age group
Cutting boards
Serving spoon
Paper cups and spoons

 Measure 1 cup of vanilla yogurt and place at bottom of bowl
 Measure 1 cup of cereal and cover yogurt
 Measure 1 cup of rolled oats
 Wash then chop ½ cup strawberries and cover rolled oats
 Slice banana and cover the strawberries
 Wash and measure 1 cup of blueberries and add to parfait

Ricotta Cheese (better than the store-brand, we promise!)
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or lemon juice

Large bowl
Microwave safe glass 1-quart liquid measure
Slotted Spoon
Plastic wrap

Line colander with four layers of cheesecloth or 2 layers of food-safe paper towels and set over large bowl
Combine milk, salt, vinegar or lemon juice, and chive in microwave safe glass
Microwave on high heat until lightly bubbling around the edges (2-4 minutes-- milk should register about 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer)
Remove from microwave and stir gently for 5 seconds-- milk should separate into solid white curds and translucent liquid whey. If not, microwave for 30 seconds longer. Repeat until full separated.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer curds to prepared colander
Cover exposed top with platic wrap and allow to drain until desired texture is reached
Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 5 days

Home-made Ice Cream
2 cups of skim milk
2 cups of half & half
1 tablespoon vanilla

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
¾ cup of rock salt
Mini chocolate chips
Fresh mint leaves

Ice Cream Ball
Rubber spatula
¼ cup measuring cup (2)
tbsp measuring spoon
Large bowl
1 cup liquid measuring cup

 Fill container with ice
 Measure rock salt and pour into ball
 Measure 1 cup of skim milk and pour into bowl
 Measure 1 cup of half & half and pour into bowl
 Measure 1 tbsp of vanilla extract and pour into bowl
 Measure ¾ cup of sugar and pour into bowl
 Measure 2 tbsp of sugar and pour into bowl
 Mix cream together and pour into canister for ball


Phew! I think that sums up our Monday, but there's definitely more to come! We still have 4 days of adventures, experiments, and culinary explorations to enjoy! Be sure to check back here tomorrow for a full wrap up of Tuesday!

Smell ya guys later!

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