East Hawaii News

Teen Summer Science Camp Returns to the Big Island

May 4, 2016, 8:43 AM HST
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Campers explore and study the lava fields of Kalapana in Puna. Science Camp of America courtesy photo.

Campers explore and study the lava fields of Kalapana in Puna. Science Camp of America courtesy photo.

Science Camps of America will return to the Big Island this summer.

The Hawai’i-based nonprofit organization offers teenagers in the eighth through twelfth grades the opportunity to explore science outdoors.

Michael Richards founded the camp in 2013 as an opportunity for teenagers to “do” science rather than just read about it in a textbook.

“Hawai’i Island is such an amazing place geographically, climatically, and culturally,” said Richards. “The best place to learn about the natural world is outdoors, and this compelled me to create a camp for teens to experience science in ‘nature’s greatest laboratory.’”

The camp is based out of the Pahala Plantation Cottages in Ka’u, but campers will explore the environment throughout the Big Island.


Destinations on the agenda for the summer program include Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, ’Imiloa Astronomy Center, Mauna Kea Visitor Center, USGS Mauna Loa Climate Observatory, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, and others.


Land and Sea, the first session of the camp, will run from June 29 through July 8. The camp will focus on the ocean, forests, mountains, and volcanoes.

The second session, Air and Space, will be held July 9-18 and focus on astronomy, space exploration, and climate.

In 2010, Richards sold his local software company and brought in his former geology teacher, Dr. Floyd McCoy, to take on the role of director at the non-profit organization and help to create content for the camp.


A limited number of partial scholarships based on financial need are available through the Science Camp of America Scholarship Fund.

Other scholarship opportunities are available from partnering nonprofits, including the Pauahi Foundation, which provides six full scholarships for each session for students on the Big Island. Preference for the Pauahi Foundation scholarships is to those of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

The Edmund C. Olson Trust Scholarship also provides a full registration scholarship for a Big Island student, and the Fred Hendy Memorial Scholarship Fund provides a scholarship covering the registration fee for one student from the State of Hawai’i, one for each session.

To learn more about the camps and find out how to register, visit the Science Camp website.

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