May 16, 2013 - 9:15am

The Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society (NS3) and Vancouver Island University are teaming up to get kids excited about science.

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

These week-long camps will 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,” says NS3 co-founder and executive director Liz DeMattia.

Two theme camps will be offered – “Get Set and Go” will explore how things move from helicopters, birds, humans, fish to roller coasters. A second camp called “Dare to Design” will tap into kids’ creativity and building skills to build bridges, create machines and solve engineering problems.

Programs will be tailored to junior scientists (ages 5 to 9) and senior scientists (ages 9-13). Early bird registration for all camps by June 15 is $205.

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

“Our long term goal is to get a science centre for the Nanaimo area,” says 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,” says 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 Dr. Ralph Nilson says the partnership is one way VIU is engaging with the community. “Teaching kids about science and introducing them to what the university is all about at an early age is important,” says Nilson. “These camps could ignite a passion or spark an interest in science for these kids that will shape their whole lives.”

Details about NS3 and the summer camps can be found at


NS3 offered fun science programs for kids in local parks last summer.

ABOUT VIU: Vancouver Island University is Canada’s west coast university. Known as a centre of excellence for teaching, learning and applied research, VIU offers a diverse range of certificate, diploma and undergraduate and master degree programs to more than 18,000 students on campuses in Nanaimo, Powell River and Cowichan, and at the Parksville-Qualicum Centre. For more information visit


Janina Stajic, Manager, Vancouver Island University

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