Penn State requires all students, faculty, staff, and visitors — regardless of vaccination status — to wear masks indoors at all campuses. Learn more about Penn State's health guidelines.

Investigators

Ages: 12–14

Investigators offers a different program each year to participants, focused on building naturalist skills. The topic for this year is lichen! Starting with understanding just what lichen is, we will learn how to identify lichen in comparison to other organisms (such as moss and mushrooms) and learn some common species in Pennsylvania. During the week, Investigators will get to dye using lichen! The week’s program also features a chance to conduct their own research around a question they develop during the week. Results will be presented on Friday evening to friends and family.

Registration Information

Four-Day Camp Sessions

Cost:
$385 for nonmembers (save 15% with membership)

Times:
Tuesday–Thursday: 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Friday, 5:00 p.m.–Saturday, 8:00 a.m. (Optional family programming — see schedule for details)

Date:
June 21–25, 2022
July 5–9, 2022
July 19–23, 2022
August 2–6, 2022

Visit the Camp Registration page

Five-Day Camp Sessions

Cost:
$435 for nonmembers (save 15% with membership)

Times:
Monday–Thursday: 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Friday: 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Friday, 5:00 p.m.–Saturday, 8:00 a.m. (Optional family programming — see schedule for details)

Date:
June 27–July 2, 2022
July 25–30, 2022

Optional Transportation for 5-day Sessions:
Bus transportation will be provided for an additional fee from the Spikes Stadium at Medlar Field, 701 Porter Road. Drop-off (Monday–Friday) will be from 8:00–8:30 a.m., and pick-up (Monday–Thursday) will be from 4:30–5:00 p.m. Pick-up on Friday will be from 5:30–6 p.m. at Spikes Stadium. You must register for bus transportation separately during the registration process in order to secure space. Space is limited.

Visit the Camp Registration page

Daily Schedule
Day Activity

Monday

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.:

On the first day, we will begin with an introduction to the topic of the year: lichen! Starting with what differentiates lichen from other organisms, we will learn the forms lichen can take. This foundation will allow us to become more comfortable and familiar with different species of lichen. We will also take time to become familiar with the other members of our group.

Tuesday

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.:

In order to succeed in their research projects, Investigators will work together to conduct an experiment focusing on lichen’s role in purifying the air of pollutants.

Wednesday

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.:

Utilizing the knowledge we gained during our research yesterday, we will begin our own independent research by designing an experiment! Sustainability of wild harvesting will be covered.

Thursday

9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.:

Today we will continue learning about lichen through our research projects and the research we are conducting.

Friday

9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.:

Lichen are an incredibly diverse organism and today we will get to discover another awesome way they’ve helped humans for centuries by using them as dye!

Friday evening–Saturday morning

Optional Family Programming

Friday, 5:00 p.m.: Claim your camper and stay with your family to enjoy the rest of the optional activities throughout the evening. Start with your own self-provided dinner on the front lawn!

  • With no cooking facilities available, bring something that is easy and quick.
  • We are striving to be a zero waste facility. Please bring reusable plates and utensils if possible.
  • Families may “Adopt-A-Naturalist” by bringing food for them and enjoying the picnic together! A signup sheet will be available starting Wednesday afternoon on a first-come basis.

6:30 p.m.: Ice cream from Meyer Dairy provided.

7:15 p.m.: Campfire program. Campers and staff will present a myriad of songs, poems, skits, stories and adventures from the camp week. Bring along a blanket/chair or sit on the giant rocks in front of the stage.

8:30–9:30 p.m.: Presentation of research projects!

10:00 p.m.: Settle into your tent for the night!

Saturday, 6:30 a.m.: Coffee!

7:00–8:00 a.m.: Breakfast is served. Featuring freshly made pancakes and coffee, plus juices, and pancake toppings!

What do I need to wear and bring each day?

Investigators will need to wear outdoor clothes that can get dirty, and closed-toed shoes. You should also bring a small backpack for carrying the following things: a zero-waste, nut-free lunch, a full water bottle, a raincoat or poncho, a hat, and sunscreen. Optional daily items include drawing pencils, a notebook, a camera that can tolerate the conditions at camp/outdoors, and a favorite plant ID guide.