VIU teams up with NS3 to offer summer science camps for kids

The Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society and Vancouver Island University are teaming up to get kids excited about science.

NS3, a non-profit society based in Nanaimo, is offering science summer camps for children ages five to 13 at the university’s Nanaimo campus in July and August.

The week-long camps offer high-quality learning opportunities complete with experiments, demonstrations, games, hands-on activities, group challenges and ties to local science.

Our mission is to inspire families and develop their interest in science and sustainability through fun, hands-on learning,” said Liz DeMattia, NS3 co-founder and executive director.

Two theme camps will be offered: Get Set and Go explores how how things like helicopters, birds, humans, fish and roller coasters move.

A second camp, Dare to Design, taps into every kids’ creativity and building skills to build bridges, create machines and solve engineering problems.

Programs will be tailored to junior scientists (ages five to nine) and senior scientists (ages nine to 13). Early bird registration for all camps is June 15 and cost is $205.

DeMattia, a sessional instructor in VIU’s biology program, founded NS3 in 2010 along with environmental consultant Sue Durnin to increase science opportunities for kids.

Our long-term goal is to get a science centre for the Nanaimo area,” said DeMattia. “We really want to incorporate local science into our programs so we’ve been working with the Pacific Biological Station, local engineering/environmental firms and VIU since the beginning.”

Last summer, NS3 launched free drop-in science programs in Nanaimo parks. After a successful run of school programs this spring, NS3 decided to offer its first year of summer camps.

We’re extremely pleased about this new partnership with VIU,” said DeMattia. “It makes perfect sense to run the camps at VIU in science labs during the summer. We have a lot of support from VIU faculty. Many of them have volunteered for our drop-in programs in local parks and also during spring break. This partnership seems like a win-win for everyone.”

VIU president Ralph Nilson said the partnership is one more way the university is engaging the community.

Teaching kids about science and introducing them to what the university is all about at an early age is important,” said Nilson. “These camps could ignite a passion or spark an interest in science for these kids that will shape their whole lives.”

For more details on NS3 and the summer camps, visit