COSAM News Articles 2022 November COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center ignites fun-filled learning opportunities for families at COSAM Campfires event

COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center ignites fun-filled learning opportunities for families at COSAM Campfires event

Published: 11/29/2022

By: Leslie Leak

This fall, families had a unique opportunity to learn about science at the COSAM Campfires outreach event while exploring Alabama’s natural plants and habitat in a picturesque, botanical setting at Auburn University.

COSAM Campfires events are family-focused evenings of hands-on science where families can bring a picnic blanket, chairs and enjoy time outside learning about a specific scientific topic from an expert.  

Held September 14 at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, this season’s COSAM Campfires event featured a discussion on native plants and plant-centered activities led by Arboretum Director Morgan Pendergrass. Sponsored by the STEM Outreach Center in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, the event drew local families who enjoyed learning about nature as the arboretum’s tranquil backdrop transformed into an outdoor classroom.

Families gathered casually on the arboretum lawn, enjoying cookie smores, forest berries and other campfire-themed snacks, as Pendergrass kicked off the event with a nature scavenger hunt. Children scattered across the autumn landscape to mark longleaf pinecones, spider webs, lichens and more off their lists. Families later got to use educational plant stamp kits and make seed bombs to take and use at home. Additionally, Pendergrass provided take-home activities such as constructing a pitcher plant out of paper and string and a leaf-pressing activity to preserve leaves found on their scavenger hunts.

Throughout the year, COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center offers special activities, workshops and programs to promote scientific literacy and interest among K-12 students and teachers. For more information on COSAM’s STEM Outreach Center, please contact COSAM Director of Outreach Mary Lou Ewald at ewaldml@auburn.edu.

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