Truckee Summer Science Camp

Truckee Young Scientist Exploration Camp

2024 Dates:
Session 1: Plants and Wildflowers Week, July 8th – 12th

Session 2: Water Week, August 5th – 9th

Session 3: Animals and Insects Week, August 12th – 16th

Drop Off 8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. daily

Pickup: 3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. daily

Location: Truckee Donner Land Trust’s Johnson Canyon

Directions: Take the Donner Lake Exit on Interstate 80, about halfway between Donner Summit and Truckee. At the bottom of the off ramp, head North (uphill) about 300 yards to the trailhead where there is a large parking area and kiosks with a map of the area and background information.

General registration: Ages 5-12
Counselor-in-training program: Ages 13-15

Price: For all sessions $400 (includes Headwaters T-shirt), CIT $220

Meals: all campers should pack a bag lunch, snack, and water bottle for each day of camp.

Camp overview:

Give your child the opportunity to explore nature this summer. This hands-on science camp is designed for children to have fun while exploring the unique ecology of the area.

Campers will explore Johnson Canyon. From this site, hiking, splashing in the river, and other fun activities are all easily accessible. Science is fun and engaging when children get to ask the questions that they are curious about. This program will show your child that science is all around them, while forging a unique connection to the flora and fauna of the Sierra Nevada region.

Have questions? Need more info? contact our Camp Manager: Morgan Long

Registration opens on February 1st. 


Session 1 – Plants & Wildflowers

Campers will learn about the diversity of wildflowers and plants in the surrounding area. We will compare and contrast the plant diversity in the various local habitats. Campers will learn to use scientific tools, like quadrats, to identify differences in plant communities. They will come up with questions that they can answer by collecting data using the skills they learn. Take home craft: Nature’s wind chime – Students will design and make their own wind chime out of natural objects found during our time spent exploring the area.

Session 2 –Water, the Source of Life

We will explore the water resources in the surrounding area. Campers will learn about water quality measures used by scientists. They will also learn about macroinvertebrates found in the local streams and lakes and how those communities potentially change with water quality. There will be plenty of time to enjoy splashing around in the water! Take home craft: Tie dye – Students will need to bring an old white t-shirt or some other piece of clothing to dye

Session 3 –Animals and Insects

Students will learn about the many animals and insects found in the area. We will hike and observe wildlife and wildlife signs (i.e., footprints), and learn how scientists observe wildlife. Campers will learn about the diversity of insects by going out and catching and observing insects in the different surrounding habitats. Campers will learn about insect pollination and how insects may blend into their surroundings via camouflage or sometimes stand out from their surroundings as a potential warming. Students will ask questions and answer them through observations made while exploring the area. Take home craft: Bug nets – Students will make their own bug net so that they can continue to observe insects even after camp is over.

Counselor In Training (CIT) Program

This program is designed for campers ages 13-15. We work on leadership skills. The CIT’s learn to lead games, teach, and learn outdoor child safety skills. This is a great way for them to learn responsibility so they will be ready to be a camp counselor.

Additional Materials:

Cancellation Policy:

Cancelations are subject to a $50 fee and are only allowed until June 1st. If there is someone else to fill the spot we will accept trades.