Summer Camp: Reading the Skies, Befriending Birds, & Scary Films - Atlas Obscura Experiences

Summer Camp: Reading the Skies, Befriending Birds, & Scary Films

Members Only
Mon, Jul 15, 2024
5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
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What We’ll Do

In this 3-part lecture series, explore essential and esoteric summertime skills: stargazing, making summer-camp horror movies, and connecting with wildlife.

Course Description

Join us for Atlas Obscura’s virtual take on summer camp! Hosted by science communicator Dr. Kelly Reidy, host of Accidental Discoveries, this crash course features an extraordinary lineup of scientists and writers here to help you scratch a wide array of iconic and strange summer itches. First, we’ll join astronomer and award-winning author Rebecca Boyle for a guide to the wonders of the night sky, learning stargazing skills you can take into the wilderness or in your own backyard. Then, we’ll peer through shaking fingers at the summer camp horror movie genre with journalist Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, looking at why these films continue to captivate, and what they might reveal about our fears and fascinations. Lastly, writer and conservationist Karuna Eberl will guide us through ethically observing, engaging with, and supporting the wildlife around us. By the end of our crash course, you’ll be a well-rounded camper, versed in summertime traditions across celestial, cultural, and natural realms.

Syllabus At A Glance

This course includes three total sessions, each lasting 1 hour on three consecutive days beginning July 15.

Session 1 (Monday, 7/15, 5–6:00 PM ET) | How to Stargaze with Astronomer Rebecca Boyle

Session 2 (Tuesday, 7/16, 5–6:00 PM ET) | How to Make Summer Camp Horror Movies with Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Session 3 (Wednesday, 7/17, 5–6:00 PM ET) | How to Befriend a Bird (And Other Wildlife) with Karuna Eberl 

Your Instructors

Rebecca Boyle

As a journalist, Rebecca Boyle has reported from particle accelerators, genetic sequencing labs, bat caves, the middle of a lake, the tops of mountains, and the retractable domes of some of Earth’s largest telescopes. Her first book, OUR MOON: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are (Random House, 2024) is a new history of humanity’s relationship with the Moon, which Rebecca has not yet visited on assignment.

Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., Rebecca is a contributing editor at Scientific American, a contributing writer at Quanta Magazine, and a columnist at Atlas Obscura. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The Atlantic, Smithsonian Air & Space, New Scientist, and many other publications. Rebecca’s work has been anthologized multiple times in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. Rebecca got her start at a small newspaper, but attending Space Camp in 6th grade is really what set the course of her career. Find Rebecca on Twitter and Bluesky @rboyle31 and @by.rebecca.boyle on Instagram.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a journalist and critic specializing in horror and sci-fi/fantasy media, fan culture and cinematic costume design. Previously a staff writer at the Daily Dot, you can find her work at various outlets including TV Guide, BBC Radio, Inverse, Vulture, and of course Atlas Obscura. She also co-edits the fan culture newsletter The Rec Center, and co-hosts the film review podcast Overinvested.

Karuna Eberl

Karuna Eberl grew up wearing a backpack and living in a tent. Here earliest memories all revolve around nature, so it’s not wonder she now writes stories of wildlife and conservation. Besides Atlas Obscura, some of her outlets have included the Florida Keys Wildlife Society, National Geographic, Birds & Blooms, National Parks Conservation Association, BBC, Reader’s Digest and more. On the author side, her kid’s book All About the Everglades will be released this year. She also co-wrote the award-winning Quixotic’s Key West & the Lower Keys Travel Guide and edited the forthcoming Stories of Nature from the Florida Keys. She’s also produced a number of indie films and documentaries and is recipient of various recognitions, including excellence in craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association, the Florida Outdoor Writers, Association, Society of American Travel Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She earned a B.A. in journalism with an emphasis in geology from the University of Montana, Missoula. Social media: facebook: /karuna.eberl; instagram: quixotictravelers; twitter: @karunanature

What Else You Should Know

Access to this online experience is free for Atlas Obscura Members. Unlock more wonder by becoming a member today!

Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account. Atlas Obscura online experiences are recommended for attendees age 13+.

This online experience will be recorded. A temporary link to the recording will be provided in a follow-up email to all ticket holders within 72 hours after the event. Access to this recording will be available for seven days.

We provide closed captioning for all of our online Member Experiences, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

This event is one of Atlas Obscura’s Membership Experiences. At Atlas Obscura, our mission has always been to inspire wonder and curiosity about the incredible world we all share.

We encourage you to follow and share the hashtag #AOExperiences for more incredible online experiences and courses with Atlas Obscura and our friends. And check out, the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders, to keep virtually exploring the world through the website’s atlas of amazing places, unique stories, and videos.

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