Prairie Research Institute Science Camp


In 2013, the Prairie Research Institute conducted its first ever science camp for rising Illinois high school juniors and seniors. The week-long camp included a day at each of the five scientific Surveys (Illinois Sustainable Technology Center [ISTC], Illinois Natural History Survey [INHS], Illinois State Water Survey [ISWS], Illinois State Geological Survey [ISGS], and the Illinois State Archaeological Survey [ISAS]) where over 50 scientists enthusiastically demonstrated what they do every day as part of their position. The students were given a variety of hands-on activities in laboratory and field settings.  

ISTC began the week with analytical chemistry to detect an unknown substance and creating alternative fuels from plastic waste that was then used to power a go-cart that students were allowed to drive in the parking lot.

high school students whereing lab coats adding chemicals to beakerstwo high school students where lab coats and goggles taking notes in the labHigh school students wearing lab coats, goves, and goggles measuring a solution with a pipet

student with blue and helmet t-shirt driving go-kart powered by biodiesel drivingstudent with orange sweatshirt and helmet driving go-kart powered by biodiesel

2013 camp group; 12 campers (4 girls and 8 boys); two female camp counselors from U of I and Kirsten Walker (one of the camp director)


2014 continued with the second year of the Prairie Research Institute Science Camp.  ISTC presented on the fourth day of camp with creating alternative liquid fuels from waste plastic and an exploration of biochar as a soil additive or use in super capacitors.

female camper with lab coat and goggles weighing plantstwo campers with lab coats, goggles, and gloves, measuring out solutions

students collecting plant samples in the greenhouseclose up of a researchers hand demonstrating how to build a super capacitor with biochar10 gallon bucket filled with multi colored shredded plastic

all the campers and archeaologists sitting on a log at the archeaological site

2014 group photo; 11 campers (8 girls and 3 boys); 2 camp councelors from U of I and the camp directors