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December 17, 2007

Press Release: Martinsville Bulletin

Monday, December 17, 2007

Boy Scouts from across the region recently took part in the Virginia Museum of Natural History's first Scout sleepover in its new facility.

Thirty-seven Boy Scouts and 34 adults from Martinsville, Danville, Roanoke, Blacksburg, Troutville and Fincastle slept underneath The Harvest Foundation of the Piedmont Great Hall's view of the stars Nov. 30. Many bedded down beside an Allosaurus skeleton.

"Such a personal experience transforms children's feelings about natural history," stated Trina Stevens, Southside education coordinator at VMNH, in a news release.

By taking part in the sleepover, the Scouts earned their geologist badges. Scouts participated in numerous activities, many using everyday products to recreate natural events. They made a volcano "explosion" using Alka Seltzer, observed the force of a geyser using Mentos and diet soda, and learned about plate tectonics using a Milky Way candy bar.

"The whole experience was wonderful," said Charles Aaron, an adult who attended the sleepover. "The children were very attentive and the excitement was electrifying. I'd highly recommend it."

Such an experience also fosters understanding of the natural world, according to the release.

"In the unique setting of the museum, the experience of hands-on activities helped Scouts and adults alike gain a better understanding of the natural world," said Stevens. "This feeling of connection to the earth improves the learning experience."

Scout sleepovers are offered throughout the year. Scouts can complete Try-Its, geologist badges or pin requirements through hands-on programs led by experienced VMNH educators.

Each program includes a badge program, pizza dinner, evening snack and breakfast. The fee for the Scout Sleepover program is $40 per scout. One chaperone is required for every five scouts.

To schedule a sleepover, or to request additional information regarding sleepovers and other Scout programs, call 634-4185 or e-mail