Last weekend, children and their mentors from the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters got to experience a range of activities and demonstrations put on by graduate students in the Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology program at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The demonstrations consisted primarily of hands-on activities such as viewing and handling vertebrates such as turtles, lizards, and ducklings as well as invertebrates such as caterpillars and large beetles, dissecting owl pellets to see what the owls ate, looking at aquatic insects under the microscope, making big bubbles with soap and dry ice and making clouds inside of soda bottles.
Angela Hornsby, a doctoral student in Natural Resources and Environmental Science in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, helped organize Science Day.
"In 2010, we hosted 25 matches, in 2011 we hosted 40 matches, and this year we had 50 to 60 matches," Hornsby said. "The level of interest has been really exciting for us, and we enjoy being able to bring more participants to campus."
Volunteers mentored children through fun, safe, hands-on science activities. The hope, Hornsby said, is that the children have positive experiences that will promote general scientific interest and literacy as they grow up.
"Getting to interact with the little ones is our favorite part," she said. "The looks on their faces when they make a dry-ice bubble or muster the courage to pet a reptile are priceless; we look forward every year to being able to share these experiences."
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization whose goal is to impact the lives of children facing adversity by pairing them with a professional, volunteer mentor. Children in the program are less likely to use illegal drugs, use alcohol or skip class when compared with individuals not in the program.
The event took place Saturday, April 28 in the Fleischman Agriculture Building on campus. Big Brothers Big Sisters plan to return to campus with the mentees or "Littles" on June 20 for a campus tour. The organization is also hoping to recruit additional volunteers during this event.
For more information about Science Day at the University of Nevada, Reno, contact Hornsby at firstname.lastname@example.org.