The crows at the University of Washington Bothell (UW Bothell) campus have become a bit of a trademark for the school.
The phenomenon started around 2009. UW Bothell became a roost for crows, possibly because the trees in the restored campus wetlands reached the right size for nighttime protection.
Since then, as many as “16,000 crows fly in at dusk and land on various buildings and sports fields before roosting in the wetlands that comprise 58 acres of the campus,” according to the UW Bothell website.
Through a partnership between the UW Bothell Office of Research and the Pacific Science Center (PSC), fourth- and fifth-grade students are able to study the UW Bothell crows in a new summer camp from Aug. 5-9.
The “Crows: Caws and Effect” summer camp was developed by Sarah Verlinde, Office of Research launch specialist at UW Bothell and her student employee, Jessica Rouske.
UW Bothell and PSC have partnered for summer camps in the past, however, this is the first crow-focused camp.
Verlinde said UW Bothell has hosted crow watches in previous years, with last year hosting a public crow watch. About 200-250 people attended last year’s crow watch.
“It showed us that there’s a broad interest in the crows on campus,” she said. “People are interested in them and it’s really a phenomenon to have something in such mass.”
From the success of last year’s crow watch, Verlinde and Rouske spent about six months developing the new camp.
Verlinde said the camp is designed to combine science, art and corvids.
“It will engage students in science and art,” she said. “Those two are often separated, which I don’t think it should be that way.”
Campers will learn how crows and ravens communicate and use tools to gather food. They will study their distinct anatomy, create crow-inspired artwork and discover their meanings in cultures around the globe.
“The students will be able to observe and engage with the natural world through nature walks, journaling, art projects, and more,” Verlinde said.
The week-long camp is taught by UW Bothell undergraduate students. Campers come away with understandings of the bright and promising futures in science and technology that are open to them as well as the confidence to pursue their interests.
Verlinde said she’s excited for the campers to learn from the undergraduate students and have fun while learning about the world around them.
“I think it’s easy for kids to become disengaged with learning,” she said. “This camp will get kids outside and engage with the world around them.”
For Verlinde, she said she’s happy to have a part in developing a curriculum that engages art and science and is unique to Bothell.
“It’s been really fun and I’m excited to see how it goes,” she said about the camp.
More information about the “Crows: Caws and Effect” summer camp can be found on UW Bothell’s Pac Sci Summer Camps with UW Bothell page.
There are still open spots for students to join the camp. Registration information can be found on PSC’s summer camps website.