The Last Supper

Hello, everyone BBC with the final blog post. Today we enjoyed a filling pancake breakfast with bagels, syrup, and honey. After breakfast we had time to pack up at Sagehen and head out to UCD for a quick pit-stop. Once in UCD we had lunch and time to look at some the insects there in the Bohart Museum of Entomology and some plants at the campus conservatory. We also did a walking tour of campus and saw some baby ducks in the arboretum! After the tour, we enjoyed a pretty car ride up to Quail Ridge in the Coast Range. At Quail Ridge we immediately started to explore and take in the beautiful view of Lake Berryessa. We unloaded all of the groceries and set our things down in the tent cabins. Then we came back to the meeting to finish up our individual projects. While we worked away on our posters, the counselors prepared a delicious pizza dinner. We had fun toppings like sausage, caramelized onions, crispy potatoes, and olives. We quickly changed into our costumes for a pizza dance party. We had a turtle, lumber jack, butterfly, ballerina, cow, and a cowgirl, to name a few. Everyone had tons of fun singing and dancing to “Country Roads” and “Lean on Me” and then line dancing to “Cupid Shuffle”, “Cotton Eyed Joe” and “Footloose” out on the patio.  Tired and sweaty, we came back inside for s’mores and more work on our posters. The group split off as some people went on a night hike and others kept working on their projects. Everyone was stoked about the shooting stars, scorpions and bird nests that were found around the reserve. Now, as we write this blog and think about the last few days at camp, everyone has some reflections:


“I had an awesome time at this camp and I have enjoyed connecting with people from all over the world with similar interests to me. I am so glad I had this experience and I’m definitely gonna miss it!”—Jessie


I pretty much always had a collection of live invertebrates, but I’ve never had the chance to really practice entomology with semi-formal methods.  It was interesting to look at the field in the eyes of a researcher rather than the eyes of a hobbyist.  I learned a lot about the methods of the field.  Getting to bond with camp members who also shared such a strong passion for entomology was super fun & I wish I could spend more time with them.” –Brendan


“Bio Boot Camp was such a fun experience. I got to learn so much and make new memories with people from all over the country each day. I’m gonna miss this (except the mosquitoes and bad jokes from certain people who I won’t name).” –Catalina


“Overall, Bio Boot Camp was a blast. We got to meet new and interesting people, learn more about our passions, and above all, we had fun.”—Alecia


“My time at Bio Boot Camp was an amazing experience and I’ll remember it for a long time. It was fun and the people were so interesting to talk to. I’m going to miss the family-like bond we all shared over bugs” –Toxtli


“I’ve never had less sleep in my life, but I’ve also done more in this camp than I have this entire summer, and I also met so many people who were like me, but also had slightly different interests and knowledge that I can learn about.” – Onjray


“I got eight hours of sleep every night except for this night where I’ll go to sleep at 12:30. The camp was fun and I saw a lot of cool insects and people. It’s enjoyable to go places with new people especially when they’re weird like you. Also, I liked going to Quail Ridge Station which overlooked Lake Berryessa, it was like we were on Mt. Olympus.” – Elizabeth


“Bio boot camp has been one of the best experiences of my life and I have nothing bad to say about this camp—it was a nice way to get away from my modern plugged in lifestyle.  My friends are amazing but none of them share the passion for insects that I do, because I have attended this camp I’m filled with joy to see people who actually like insects. My friendships here will last a lifetime and hopefully I can meet more people that share my passion in the future.” – Riley


‘This camp was a good experience for me. Being out of my ordinary life is always a good thing. I feel like I refreshed and had a good rest for a week in the nature.”—Victor


“There are many things which I could say about this camp but my biggest take away was the fun and relaxed environment. The students were all very kind and eager to help each other learn while the counselors were energetic and provided much needed guidance when we could not figure out problems by ourselves. Bio Boot Camp gave its students a lot of free time and resources essentially enabling them to research whatever they had access to. Bio Boot Camp was extremely helpful in my understanding of where I am as an entomologist but was more importantly helpful in that it provided some information about what college would be like. The college talk covered how I could continue my interests in entomology through school without bias to one school or another. This is very important to me as a rising senior. I would recommend this camp to anyone looking for an easygoing environment which will push you as far as you are willing to push yourself.”- Kenna Stone

Thanks for the memories– the Cockroaches (group C)

Camp: Day 5

Uh oh!  Back again, back to back maybach stACK THE M’S

Finally, the boys have slept for more than 6 hours and the breakfast table buzzes with the energy of well slept campers. Bagel breakfast sandwiches serenaded with scrambled eggs, avocado, and arugula decorate the table along with fresh melon and not so fresh juice. Campers talk excitedly about the plans for the day. Between mouthfuls of sandwich, campers speak of swimming in Lake Tahoe followed by a visit to the ice cream parlor.


Making Lunch!

After a couple hours, they finally pack up the vans and drive to Lake Tahoe. Forty-five minutes later, they find themselves on the shore of Tahoe. Within minutes, Victor jumps into the lake and loses his glasses. He finds them after some hectic searching. Jessie, Elizabeth and Cat follow into the freezing waters while the others look for fish and crawdads along the shore.  Soon enough, everyone was tired and hungry.  We voraciously ripped open our sandwich bags & tore into our lunches. They were delicious!


Off to Tahoe!


Lake Tahoe! Wading in search of Crawdads!


Corralling fish!


Fish! Caught by hand!


A closer look! Named Fishy George II




Group Photo!

Another take on Lake Tahoe:

Cobalt blue water formed gentle waves along a soft breeze. Birds harmonizing in orchestral melodies and dark green pine trees providing a mottled canopy cover. This is the image of Lake Tahoe that I imagined. However, lake Tahoe did not look different from New Port Beach that I go every week. 1392308 people talking instead of birds singling and building creating the shade instead of trees creating beautiful canopy. And I got a small cut on my foot. But it’s all ok. Water was clear like crystal. Swimming was fun. Since there were many people, I probably wouldn’t die by drowning. Whenever I face a disappointing situation, I try to think optimistically like this. I believe there are more beautiful sites of Lake Tahoe. I should probably visit other parts of Tahoe with out millions of people next time.”  –Victor 

After lunch, everyone wanted boba! But unfortunately there was no boba in the region.  So we settled for the next best thing: ice cream! We drove to Truckee & stopped by a local ice cream shop for some sweet, creamy deliciousness. After a bumpy ride back to our lovely field station, the group split apart like a disturbed ant hill.  Some people took naps, some people explored a controlled burn area, and some people worked on individual projects.


Looking for critters in the control burn area!



Now we sit and wait for the dinner crew to wrap up their chili!  After dinner, we will have a talk on data-viz and college advice in general. We can’t wait to learn about college life. Wow, I’m so excited to go to college, study vigorously on the topic that I’m most interested about, and forge my own path through life. Hoping to learn a lot from our counselors.

-Catalina, Elizabeth, Brendan, Victor, Kyle



To Each Their Own


[This is from yesterday! The pictures weren’t loading… separate picture post upcoming. Love, Caroline, the otherwise responsible adult who didn’t get this posted in time]

Everyone has different interests in the world of ecology and that was very plain today. This was the biggest day for our individual projects and all of us both worked together and individually to pursue our diverse interests. Some people worked to study the interactions between spiders, while others recorded the spatial patterns in wildflowers. Whatever the study, everyone threw themselves into their science.

We started off the day after an amazing breakfast of pancakes, bacon, hash browns, and fruit. Some people immediately headed for the meadow to find insects while others went to study trees or rip open old trunks for beetles. Each group was extremely successful in their own ways. Everyone finished at varying times and began to head into the classroom to process their data and start experiments. As lunch grew close many people were ready for a break from their work and growling stomachs moved to the kitchen.

After we discussed our individual plans during lunch, we campers each split into a few groups. Campers who had already collected enough specimens/data worked in the classroom and some took a siesta. There were people in The Meadow, uphill of the camp in the forest, and near the creek. Our workspaces were as varied as our imaginations, but we all got mosquito bites. We did, however, all come to dinner satisfied with our work. Can you tell which project is your child’s?! (Check the photos at the end to see if you’re right!

  1. Correlating tree species and age with burn damage
  2. Ant behavior, specifically response to stimuli such as humidity and light
  3. Communal living of funnel web spiders
  4. Hypoxia tolerance in stone centipedes
  5. Efficacy of various baits in pitfall traps
  6. Identification and preservation of Sagehen spider species
  7. Yarrow plant communication and herbivory
  8. Wing length and thoracic muscle ratios
  9. How wing characteristics affect niche in ecosystem
  10. Variation of insect diversity under rocks vs bark

After dinner we will play games, blacklight, and go on a night hike. We accomplished a LOT today and are excited to see how our group and individual data and posters turn out!



Spreading Our Wings. Get it?

Welcome toooooo blog #3…

We woke up early again at 7:00 to an oatmeal breakfast bar (with other choices such as cereal and yogurt) where we could choose all sorts of toppings including trail mix and peanut butter! After stuffing ourselves with an assortment of oatmeal, we headed down to the river to collect more macroinvertebrate samples to finish the group project we have been working on. The group project was separated into jobs. Riley used a kick-net in the water to collect the macroinvertebrates samples and occasionally sifted them out of the net into tray. Jessie was the data deputy! She got to delegate tasks to everyone and make sure everyone was doing their job. She was in charge of all the numbers and important information needed to determine specific factors for the project. Alesia was in charge of separating the macroinvertebrates from the water. This process included taking the kick-net from Riley and rinsing it into a bucket. Then she put them into a tray so that the Bug Buddies could sift through them. Time passed quickly as we started to get into a rhythm, and soon we finished sampling the four sites we didn’t get to yesterday.


Finishing up our last sample for the group project!

Feeling accomplished yet hungry, everyone went back to camp for some leftovers. After feasting on sandwiches, pasta and delicious veggie patties we played some codenames and then cleaned up the kitchen.


Playing code names after lunch.

Then we traveled back to the cabins where we listened to presentations on fire ecology and CA mountain ranges by Caroline. Both of these topics affect the plants and animals that can live in different habitats, so it was helpful information to hear. However, we were all still getting used to the early starts so everyone split off for a 20-minute siesta. Now full of energy, everyone was ready to start brainstorming ideas for their individual project, which we will present the results of on Saturday. People went off to collect bugs, study plants and explore the camp and meadow to see what they could use for their projects. Jessie went to an area that was recently burned, Riley went to catch spiders, and Alesia went to the meadow. Next, everyone came back for BURRITO NIGHT prepped by the dinner crew which was sooooo good! After dinner, we set up black lights to attract cool bugs. While waiting for the sun to go down, we had a game night with an intense game of capture the flag, infection tag, and sardines. We got so tired from the games that a lot of people went straight to bed after, but some campers stayed up to look at what insects the black light attracted.


Team huddles before capture the flag begins.


Speedy action shot!


We are looking forward to tomorrow when we can dive into our individual projects. Stay tuned for updates!

This post brought to you by: The Cockroaches (A.K.A Group C)

Day 2 Shenanigans :-)

What’s up compatriots?!

It’s Bio Boot Camp 2.0 here back at it again with another blogggggg!  Woot!  So today, we struggled a little bit with waking up so early!  We had to get up before 7:30, which is quite the feat for lazy high-schoolers with messed up sleep schedules.

7:30am, the smells of delicious foods wafted from the kitchen as we approached. We feasted on bagels, fruits, and eggs. Once fed, we felt eager to get up and start our day.

Then we met up with Rick Karban (he literally wrote the book on “How to do Ecology”) who gave us a morning presentation about the mechanisms and causes of defenses against predation found in sagebrush. Afterward, we got started on the group project. We went out to the creek, collected aquatic invertebrates, recorded flow rates, recorded the sizes of gravel, and measured the water quality. Wading in the creek was cold and embracing, due to all the recent snowmelt. Each person had a specific job, and we worked in a team to complete our task more efficiently, fending off mosquitoes as we went. We went to 2 different sites along the creek, and we are planning to go to 4 more sites along the creek tomorrow.

After a couple hours, we finally finished up our work and began heading back to camp. When we finished drying up, we went down down to the Fish House, where we were able to see an underwater longitudinal cross-section of the stream. This allowed us to view young trout making their way slowly upstream.

Then, we ventured to The Meadow.  The Meadow was a giant clearing with a myriad of fauna and flora (mostly grasses). Tall pine trees form a huge circle around the meadow like a stadium. Here we got good views of blue skies, white clouds, golden grass fields, and emerald pine trees... and there were lots of critters to catch! Our adventurous group went into a frenzy as we charged upon the meadow with bug nets. A cacophony of exclamations from a group looking under stones was heard.  Everyone rushed over at the words, “Snake!”


The Meadow


A Common Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

We had Burgers and Elotes for supper. Yum! Then we set up a black light by our cabins to attract nocturnal insects. We also went on a short night hike and found another snake! A baby RUBBER BOA! This one was just sitting out on the side of a road and was the gentlest little snake.


Baby Rubber Boa (Charina Bottae)! THE CUTEST!

Slithery good times had!

-Catalina, Elizabeth, Brendan, Victor, Kyle

New Beginnings

(Sorry for the delay! We were busy getting settled into camp and remembering the wifi password… 🙂 )

2019-07-28 06.36.102019-07-28 06.51.522019-07-28 06.52.212019-07-28 06.43.172019-07-28 06.42.00

Hello parents! Welcome to our blog for this weeks Bio Boot Camp 2.0. We are excited to show you what we will learn and achieve throughout the week. Each day we will have   3-4 students assigned to show you what our activities consisted of, so you can keep up with us. We expect every day to bring new adventures and today was no different.

The last time most of you saw us was as you were leaving the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Most of us were rather awkward and nervous as we tried to navigate our new social surroundings. Our camp leaders Caroline, Daniel, and Kyle were quick to break the tension by having us play a name game to get to know each other. We would pass a ball to someone in the circle and say their name to ingrain it in our memory. This loosened us up and after we went over some camp rules everyone was feeling more comfortable. We finally went outside and had another team building exercise as we figured out how to Tetris all of our luggage and foods into our two vans. With this done and having started the beginnings of friendships we piled into the vans to head to our camp.

As we got in to the vans, conversation started to pick up. Various games were used to pass the time, including card games, “Catchphrase,” “Contact,” and “Never have I ever.” They served to help us bond even further by pushing us to share more things about ourselves and find things that we had in common with each other. Between the jubilant conversation and laughter, time passed quickly, and before we knew it, we were at the cabins.

From the vans we put all the belongings in the classroom, cabins and kitchen. We had to set up organizational systems in the kitchen and the classroom in order for everything to fit and to be accessible. Finally, with the kitchen properly stowed away the dinner crew began to make the first meal as we sat down to start the blog. The dinner crew cooked up a delicious meal of pasta and salad which we thoroughly enjoyed. As dinner wrapped up we finished the first blog.

Our day was filled with getting to know new friends and getting settled in to our home for the coming week. Tomorrow we look forward to more adventures as we learn about our group projects and get them off the ground. Many of us are also looking forward to a potential night walk tomorrow to find rubber snakes. Until then we wish all of our parents good night and we look forward to seeing you again soon!


Welcome to BBC2.0-2019!

Greetings camp,

I don’t know about y’all, but we’re pretty dang excited to take a break from daily life at the university to get this super fun camp up and running!

We will be venturing to mountainous terrain filled with FOrEsTs,  and mEaDoWs, and StReAms, and lAkEs, and bIrDs, and BuGs, and WiLDfLoWeRs, and fIsH, and RoDeNts, and bOaS, and DeEr and PiNes, and BoUlDeRs, and fRoGs, and BaTs, and possibly BlAcK bEaRs, and possibly still some sNoW! ALL THE BEST THINGS!


Exhibit A: a Rubber Boa (Charina bottae), one of the best things!

Also, it will be much cooler (in most senses of the word) than what we’re used to here in Davis! So we’re definitely looking forward to escaping the heat of the valley!

As with all good adventures, there are several logistics we need to cover to ensure a successful camp! Food is perhaps the most obvious! We’re going to be feeding 13 people for 7 days! What does that look like? Apparently, it looks like this:


ALL the food!

Looking forward to meeting you all tomorrow and beginning our adventure!


Kyle, Caroline, Danielle, and Tabatha

The Awakening Pt. II

Our fingers were cold as we shivered, feeling the waves crash against our bodies standing in shoulder-deep water. We looked down into the dark depths of the water and saw armies of snapping crustaceans approaching our feet…

Seven hours prior, we awoke. Breakfast this morning consisted of slightly toasted, freshly prepared, fresh French toast toasts (say that ten times fast)… and watermelon. We spent the rest of the morning packing for the day’s activities. As we were leaving Sagehen, we got a surprise lesson in car mechanics: our van turned out to have a bolt deep in the driver’s tire, so before we left we had to swap it with the spare. Before this fiasco, we would have been on time but alas, fate had other things on its mind.

Our first destination for the day was the UC Davis field station on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore. The building used to be a fish hatchery but was sold to UCD for $1 and became a research center for the lake. We learned about the history of introduced aquatic species in Lake Tahoe, mainly fish and invertebrates. The field station also had an astounding garden full of local species of plants. We got to study and learn about some of the cool native species found there including pine, strawberry, lupine, and aspen. There is a creek running along the back end of the main building offering a diversity of habitats and plant life. The people at the field station had a scavenger hunt for all of the campers to find various bits of information from signs and videos located in and around the station’s visitor center.

After the field station we all travelled to King’s Beach at Lake Tahoe. We had a quick lunch consisting of chips, fruit, and sandwiches that we had made before we left Sagehen this morning. After we’d had our fill, everyone changed into their bathing suits and put sunscreen on. Some ran right into the water, while others took their time because it was cold. After feeling weird pinches at our feet we discovered that the area was crawling with crayfish! We caught a good amount of them for “observational purposes.” A select few among us decided it was a good idea to have the crayfish pinch our skin for fun (Alfredo got free ear piercings). The water was slightly choppy, (mainly from many aquatic recreational vehicles) but we still managed to have fun and play monkey in the middle with a ball! Afterwards, we hopped out of the water, dried off with our towels, and got changed. We then ate refreshing ice cream, and took group photos.

Afterwards, we hopped skiddly dopped into the van and drove back to Sagehen where we jumped into our costumes and played a game of reverse hide and seek called “sardines.” We finished off the game, and then got started on our nightly chores (as a break from writing), and we made personal pizzas. Once our pizzas were finished, we ate dinner and even tried some new things! Sierra, Taylor, and Lucia tried elotes, which is corn on the cob with mayonnaise, parmesan or cotija cheese, and tajin. We discussed all of the great memories we made during this camp. Dishes were cleaned, and many finished their projects that will be presented tomorrow! We also discovered a huge Sierran treefrog, who peed on Noah’s leg when she jumped on him! Finally, we took showers and got ready for the night.

This camp has been such an educational experience that we will never forget and we will miss each other! We have been having the time of our lives and have had more fun than ever before. We’ll definitely keep in touch even if we’re half the world away!



Data Day

Today everyone woke up at different times. Some of us awoke at 6:30 to work diligently on our individual projects (sampling, setting out traps). Some of us woke up early to make everyone breakfast, which was a variety of toast, bagels, eggs, and fruit. Lastly, a few of us wandered half-asleep, like zombies, into the kitchen at 8:00! We were very very very tired (including the counselors who had to take naps because they were THAT tired).

We played Uno again which is easy to pick up and impossible to put down and continued to work on our individual projects. We had free time after we worked on our projects. Some of us searched for more remarkable friends in the forest or meadows nearby camp. Other took a siesta or continued their research.

Chris: I checked on my pitfall traps and then sorted the insects from all of the gunk that also fell into it. There were a lot of ants, a beetle, a spider and a couple of silverfish. Also the small earthquake near Truckee that happened late last night could have tampered with the trap because there was more gunk than should have been in the traps.

Alisa: I went into the fish house and down below to watch fish through the glass. In between fish watching, I stopped by the classroom to check on the group project and identify some aquatic invertebrates in the microscope.

Isabel: I went with Audrey to set out my yellow soap traps made for pollinators. I also went to go observe the flora and the fauna of the riparian and meadow habitats. The meadow was covered in gold light and water drops from the morning fog. It was serene and so beautiful. A few minutes after setting up a trap I discovered 2 butterflies. One of the butterflies was dead and lying on the grass. The other butterfly was being consumed by a bright Goldenrod crab spider. It was extremely fascinating yet skin crawling.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.49.41 PM

After a delicious lunch of sandwiches we played Uno again (surprise!) but this one was different. Instead of using just one deck we combined THREE Uno decks! We made it so that the loser would have to go and wake up all of the people that took a siesta. After a tense game, Chris ended up losing (super close game against Alfredo) and went to wake up everyone.

Our individual projects are becoming masterpieces. While we were conducting our experiment, our instructors helped us to better understanding data analysis. We studied statistics and observed programming to generate equations. One of our instructors discussed her work with time and space, tracking Diptera fruit flies. She teaches statistics to her students and showed us some of the ways the equations can be applied and solved.

Afterword, we each started constructing our (lovely) posters in the classroom. A impressive display of figures, Crayola marker drawings, and taped specimens have decorated our posters. We listened to lots of throwback music including: Queens, Billy Joel, Elton John, the Beatles, Journey, Stevie Wonder, and the Eagles. The music gave us new energy and let us unveil our bird-like voices (more like crows than songbirds).

The dinner team made us all burritos packed with fired beans, salsa, and cheese. We played capture the flag until the sun set over the trees. We overall agreed we had an amazing last full day at Sagehen. We have made so many good friends at camp and we really all have bonded well over the last 5 days. We are driving to Tahoe tomorrow! See you then and peace out.

The Beeloggers (Isabel, Alisa, and Chris)