Camp offers kids chance to use CSI techniques

NANAIMO – A unique summer camp aims to interest young people in science careers by involving them in forensic experiments.

Participants in last summer’s Geneskool camp

Participants in last summer’s Geneskool camp

A unique summer camp coming to Nanaimo aims to interest young people in science careers by involving them in forensic experiments seen on popular TV shows like Crime Scene Investigation.

Geneskool Summer Camp, presented by Genome B.C. and hosted at Vancouver Island University, offers high school students a chance to solve a ‘murder’ by conducting real experiments using state-of-the-art equipment.

Geneskool, which takes place July 23-27, is for Grades 9-12 students. Highlights of the week-long day camp include blood type analysis, blood spatter analysis and learning how to lift fingerprints.

“They’re going to be able to use equipment and technologies that are not available in most high school settings,” said Sally Greenwood, Genome B.C. spokeswoman.

Greenwood said the experiments are at a senior secondary level and the camp goes beyond the lab to explore science from social and ethical perspectives.

“Science is a part of every single thing we do, every day,” she said. “It’s not always about being in a lab, it’s about looking at the world through a scientific lens.”

On top of that, students create friendships with like-minded youth and get a chance to experience university life.

Sarah Marshall, a science teacher at Aspengrove School who works with Genome B.C. on some educational initiatives, said the camp gives students opportunities that no public or private school would be able to give them due to the more sophisticated equipment required and time limits.

“High school teachers don’t have time to do an experiment for four or five hours,” she said. “This is what real science in a lab looks like.”

Genome B.C. is only hosting two summer camps this year – in Nanaimo and Vancouver.

Greenwood said the organization picked Nanaimo because of its relationship with Vancouver Island University – some research conducted at the university is funded by Genome B.C. – and it hosted several in-class seminars in Courtenay and Campbell River schools that were well received by students and teachers.

Genome B.C. is a non-profit research organization that invests in and manages large-scale molecular biology research projects.

Greenwood said in addition to the research component, the organization tries to foster an understanding and appreciation of the significance of genomics science and technology among teachers, students and the general public and get the future generation interested in a career in this field.

To this end, Genome B.C. organizes summer camps and classroom visits or all-day seminars at university campuses.

“We do everything we can to drive curiosity and scientific literacy,” said Greenwood. “If we can help one or two or 100 or 1,000 kids get more excited about science … then we’re happy to do that.”

Cost of the camp is $275 and bursaries are available.

There are still 10 spots available. Applications are due July 13 and can be downloaded at

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes are off to a fast start this season after no competition last season due to the pandemic. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo athletes back on track, starting with club competitions

Nanaimo Track and Field Club registration filled up

A conceptual rendering of a commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith image)
Commercial plaza in north end of Ladysmith passes public hearing

Councillors debate proposed land use at 1130 Rocky Creek Rd.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead in Crofton

Pair discovered dead in their Crofton home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

Most Read