Foundation fund gives students in Herkimer County the chance to get excited about science

HERKIMER – During Weather Watchers Camp this week at Herkimer College, Gabrielle Ross, 10, who will be a fifth-grader at Poland this fall, has enjoyed learning how to read weather maps from WKTV meteorologist Bill Kardas, finding out how to make a cloud in a bottle and playing a version of bingo using weather symbols.

“I like science and weather,” Gabrielle said. “I like doing all the experiments and especially weather bingo.”

The Foundation donated more than $700 for scholarships to help students attend the camp through the donor-advised fund Beatrice Cavaretta Faga and Maryellen Faga Kieffer Fund. Herkimer College and Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES sponsored the Weather Watchers Camp for ages 9-13.

This year’s group of 15 students from grades 5-9 is the largest number to ever attend the camp, said Kardas, who teaches the camp.

“They have a lot of energy and a lot of questions,” he said.

Students  learned about thunderstorms and tornadoes and built homemade thermometers.

Another popular experiment was the cloud in a bottle experiment that involves putting rubbing alcohol in a bottle, using a pump to add pressure and releasing the pressure to instantaneously turn the rubbing alcohol into gas.

“I want them to get excited about science,” Kardas said. “That is really the ultimate goal here.”

That mission has been accomplished for Raymond Boyko, 12, who will be a seventh-grader at Mount Markham in September. His favorite part of the camp has been “working together as a class” on experiments and projects, he said.

“It’s really interesting,” Raymond said. “We get to learn the more complicated stuff, which will help us in future years.”