Iowa 4-H Prepares for an Out of this World Experience this Summer with NASA Astro Camps

Astro Camp events, an opportunity to bring NASA STEM lessons to the youth of Iowa, are coming to Iowa this summer.

May 3, 2021, 4:19 pm | Valyn Bodensteiner, Sara Nelson

AMES, Iowa – As May the 4th draws near, fans of Star Wars and space enthusiasts of all ages are eager to celebrate how far we’ve come with space exploration. IowSpace Camp participantsa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development is no exception, as preparations for Astro Camp events, an opportunity to bring NASA STEM lessons to the youth of Iowa, are underway.

Youth will participate in Astro Camp events across the state June 14-18 this year. Astro Camp gives all youth the chance to get involved in and experience science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to inspire future astronauts and engineers to learn about space with activities unique to NASA.

Camp activity highlights include the creation of a mission patch, building a space habitat, and a statewide rocket launch. Astro Camp is a great way to help youth foster career dreams of tomorrow and develop life-changing goals through Next Generation science, math and engineering skills.

4-H STEM Program Specialist and Assistant Director of Education and Outreach for the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, Sara Nelson, treasured her own Space Camp experience when she was younger. "Thanks to the generous support of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, I was able to attend Space Camp at the start of my career as an educator. It was an amazing experience that really sparked my interest in space and STEM. NASA Astro Camp is one way we are working to bring this same experience to the youth of Iowa. I am so excited to be partnering with STEM educators from around that state this summer to bring this opportunity to over 1,000 Iowa youth."

Partners for this statewide STEM event include the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium, Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Science Center of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa, Putnam Museum and Science Center, and Iowa PBS.

“We are thrilled to be working with partners to offer this opportunity to the youth of Iowa,” said Nelson. We hope that Astro Camp inspires youth to learn more about space and to consider a STEM profession.”

Lunch and Learn schedule for Astro CampPreparation for the camps includes training on featured NASA curriculum, delivery of a camp material kit, and a series of pre-camp lunch and learn activities. The lunch and learn activities will be released on Wednesday afternoons on the Iowa 4-H Facebook page following the schedule below.

5/12 – Iowa Planetary Science, University of Northern Iowa

5/19 – NASA Top 5, Iowa 4-H Youth Development

5/26 – Global Sky App, Science Center of Iowa

6/2 – Mars Landing, Iowa PBS

6/9 – Space Gallery Tour, Putnam Museum and Science Center

“Thoughts of our solar system and the world beyond our atmosphere are exciting!” said Mary Wilkins, ISU Extension and Outreach youth outreach coordinator in Story County. “Astro Camp will enable youth to encounter their own exciting space explorations through engaging activities and even consider the amazing learning adventures of astronauts!”  

For more information on Astro Camp, please contact your county ISU Extension and Outreach office or visit the Iowa 4-H website at


Sharable Photos:

Space Camp - Sara Nelson, (second from left on bottom), 4-H STEM program specialist and assistant director of education and outreach for the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, poses with her cohort during NASA Space Camp.

Lunch and Learn - Pre-camp lunch and learn activities will be released on Wednesday afternoons on the Iowa 4-H Facebook page.

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