Fostering Science

This program introduces youth in care to the joys of doing science. It is designed and run by a group of scientists who are passionate about science and young people. We recognize that youth in care, whether that's foster care, a group home, the home of a relative, or a shelter, face extra obstacles in becoming involved in science and in participating in summer camps, so we developed a program especially for them. We’re also expanding our program to provide training opportunities to older foster youth (16-21). To learn about this program in detail, visit our Fostering Science website!

Who leads this program?

The Program Director, Dr. Christa Mulder, and the Co-Director, Dr. Katie Spellman, are biologists with experience in science education and working with vulnerable youth. In designing this program they collaborated with four additional instructors that have a wide range of expertise in science and working with youth. To find out more about the instructors, click here.

Who funds this program?

Primary funding comes from NSF, as part of a grant to the Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research Site (BNZ LTER). We now have a Fostering Science General Support Fund for tax-free donations (thank you, Willy Gordon), and funding for two years from the Doug Schamel Fund. This will cover the costs of the Denali camp.

Questions? Contact Christa Mulder at or 907-474-7703

Past Activity:

  • Summer Camp 2021: Bonanza Creek Science Adventure Camp and Denali Science Adventure Camp
  • Summer Camp 2020: Bonanza Creek Science Adventure Camp
  • Summer Camp 2019: Bonanza Creek Science Adventure Camp and Denali Science Adventure Camp
  • Summer Camp 2018: Bonanza Creek Science Adventure Camp
  • Summer Camp 2017: Hot Times - Fire in the Forest

New and Future Activity:

  • Camp Expansion: Expand day camp to two camps (16 kids per camp) and add a Denali backcountry backpacking trip for experienced youth
  • Training expansion: Background on impacts of ACEs on youth and learning; build and diversify our pool of instructors
  • New Program — FosterNet: Internship program for older youth that involves field or lab work with LTER members, job training/college preparation, junior counselor positions, near-peer mentoring. The goals of this are to provide pathways to STEM participation, strengthen connections to youth and to adults, and contribute toward JEDI goals.
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