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Students play in the snow during their stay at the Lair for Oski Science Camp. The Lair of the Golden Bear hosted LUSD middle school students at Oski Science Camp in the spring of 2023. / Cal Alumni Association
Lair of the Golden Bear

Middle School Students Experience the Lair through Oski Science Camp

Hundreds of middle schoolers explored what the Lair of the Golden Bear has to offer at Oski Science Camp. During their stays, they participated in a variety of activities, from nature walks around Pinecrest Lake to activities at the Gold Lodge and much more.

July 28, 2023

Sixth graders from the Lodi Unified School District (LUSD) attended Oski Science Camp at the Lair of the Golden Bear to learn about science and enjoy nature. In partnership with LUSD and other community organizations like the U.S. Forest Service, the Lair facilitated and developed this fully-funded STEM program. The Lair’s abundant space, activities, and resources provided the perfect environment for kids to simultaneously experience nature and learn about science.  

Students engaging in one of the many activities and games offered at Oski Science Camp.
Oski Science Camp offers plenty of games and activities alongside educational lessons such as building spaghetti structures and scavenger hunts. / Cal Alumni Association

At Oski Science Camp, students had plenty of opportunities to expand their interest in and knowledge of science. The curriculum covered a range of topics including physics, astronomy, and environmental science. Lessons were paired with various hands-on activities and demonstrations, such as examining rocks found around the Pinecrest region, watching local firefighters teach about fire science, and stargazing at night. Students also enjoyed the Lair’s wide variety of nature by playing in the snow on the campgrounds and observing wildlife on hikes.

Local firefighters demonstrate fire science to students at Oski Science Camp.
Local firefighters teach students about fire science through demonstrations. / Cal Alumni Association

During their stays, students learned about UC Berkeley and its relationship to the Lair, resulting in “Go Bears!” chants throughout the week. “Many Lodi students had never heard of UC Berkeley before,” says Cathy Connelly, senior director of Pinecrest operations. Oski Science Camp offered students a glimpse into the Cal community by bringing in Cal professors and graduate students as guest speakers to meet with them. This introduction helped break down the perceived barriers surrounding higher education by demonstrating the importance of attending college and the doors of opportunities it can open. 

“Camp Oski proved to be a wonderful residential outdoor education program, a breath of fresh air for students post pandemic.”

Mariyah Wharry, Program Coordinator, Lodi Unified School District
Students on one of their nature walks to observe wildlife.
It’s all smiles as students go on a nature walk to learn about Pinecrest’s wildlife and nature. / Cal Alumni Association

Oski Science Camp was designed as a post-pandemic setting where students could enjoy social experiences they missed during the shelter-in-place order. Students roomed together in cabins at Camp Oski and spent the day moving about the Lair and Camp Gold, and walking to Pinecrest Lake. During their designated dinner time at the Gold Lodge, they relaxed together and played ping pong, foosball, and board games. Throughout their stay, students also engaged in team-building practices that allowed them to bond and create long-lasting memories. 

Programs like Oski Science Camp demonstrate the “direction that the Lair is heading in naturally,” says Connelly. The Lair anticipates that the grand opening of its conference center within the next few years will grow its capacity to host and expand programs like these. The Oski Science Camp gives a sample of what the Lair’s year-round availability and future conference center can offer other interested visitors or organizations. 

Given the success of Oski Science Camp, the Lair looks forward to putting on Oski Science Camp again in the future and sees community programs like this as an opportunity to foster Cal community for generations of alumni and friends.

Learn more about the Lair of the Golden Bear. 

If your group is interested in working with the Lair to host an event, call 510.900.8255 or email