The T.R.M.F. will once again be offering its series of popular educational camps this coming summer. The Dinosaur Camps are entering their fifth year of operation in Tumbler Ridge and the T.R.M.F. has not sat on its laurels, but instead has continuously laboured to improve the content, activities and equipment while keeping the registration costs affordable to the average family. One of the most significant additions to the educational programming is the recent opening of the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre (P.R.P.R.C.). Tours of the displays and activities that take place in the gallery will be major attractions for the Dinosaur Camps. The Northern Lights College will be hosting a Dinosaur Camp at the Hudson?s Hope Campus. This is the second year that Dinosaur Camp has been offered in another community. In future years the T.R.M.F. and the Northern Lights College plan to expand the educational offerings in the community of Hudson?s Hope.
This year, in addition to the week long regular camps which are strictly for children, the T.R.M.F. will be offering a series of two day ?Family Camps? in response to requests from parents. Now children and their parents can learn about dinosaurs together, as well as participate in many of the activities and dinosaur track tours that will be offered.
Dinosaurs are not the only thing on the menu as the T.R.M.F. launched the first pilot program of a series of ecology-based Northern Wilderness Camps in the summer of 2006. The first Northern Wilderness Camps called Goshawk Camp introduced child participants to forest/woodland ecology of the Peace Region. Activities included instructional hikes along many of the W.N.M.S. trails around Tumbler Ridge and informative presentations and activities to teach the campers about bird, animal, insect and plant identification and ecology related to the woodlands. This year the second pilot project of the Northern Wilderness Camp, the Eagle Camp, will focus on alpine ecology and biology. Two additional Northern Wilderness Camps are in the planning stages for summer 2008.
The T.R.M.F. strives to maintain very high standards for its educational programs. The curriculae for all of the camps were conceived and developed by the research staff of the P.R.P.R.C. The educational coordinators are the staff that deliver the educational content of the camps and since these programs came to Tumbler Ridge in 2003 the quality of the educational coordinators has never been compromised. This year two university students, one a recent graduate from the palaeontology program at the University of Alberta, and the other a current undergraduate student with a biology background from the University of British Columbia will be taking the reigns of the T.R.M.F.?s educational programs.
One of the hurdles faced by the T.R.M.F. in offering affordable camps is funding. The cost to register one child in one of the week long Dinosaur Camps is $170, however it costs the T.R.M.F. an additional $400/registrant to run the camps. The T.R.M.F. relies on the generous support of regional industry and government programs to make up the shortfall.
This summer?s funding objective is to raise $114,000, over half of which will be used to purchase a new 15-passenger van which is an absolute necessity for taking the campers to visit local and regional palaeontological sites and museums. An additional expense for the van is the plan to add a custom-designed dinosaur mural on the sides of the van as well as the logos of the T.R.M.F. and P.R.P.R.C.. To date, the T.R.M.F. has received donations of $2,000 from Canadian Natural and $5,000 from Spectra Energy Transmissions (formerly Duke Energy).
For more information on TRMF educational programs and registration forms please visit our website (www.tumblerridgemuseum.com) or call us at 242-DINO