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Summer Camp Info Session

Wednesday, March 2 at 5:00 Pacific

We are hosting a Summer Camp Info Session on Wednesday, Mar 2, 2022 at 5:00 Pacific Time. Click here to join us! Meet the Blue Spruce leadership team, including the head nurse, Camp Director, two counselors and the founder and ask all your questions!

Kids need overnight camp now more than ever! For ten years, Camp Blue Spruce has been serving up delicious allergy-friendly meals and building a community of kids who know what it’s like living with food allergies! Our programming is robust and affirming and offers challenges and activities for youth in every age group. High schoolers enjoy special off-site activities, and the CIT program provides rising seniors with leadership skills and a community they will cherish. Learn more about all things Blue Spruce at the info session. We hope to see you there!

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Star Talk – February 2022

By Astronomer Jim

Stars In February, with a focus on Orion and Taurus

The big deal this month isn’t planet viewing but instead to observe the stars! Some of the brightest constellations in the sky and some of the sky’s most famous objects will be visible.

The constellation of Orion, the hunter, will be visible the entire month, due south after dusk. Orion has several noteworthy star objects:

Photo from Wikipedia
  • The red giant star Betelgeuse is in the top left side of Orion. It is the 10th brightest star in the sky but has been strangely oscillating in brightness in recent years. Some scientists believe that Betelgeuse could explode sometime soon (within one hundred or a few thousand years) and become a super nova! It is reddish in color and is about 400 times bigger than the sun!
  • Rigel is diagonally across Orion from Betelgeuse and is also very bright. It is a blue-white star, which means that it is brighter and younger than Betelgeuse. Rigel is really comprised of four separate stars. If astronomers are correct, Rigel will turn into a supergiant star and ultimately explode, possibly leaving a neutron star or a black hole! But that will be many millions of years from now.
  • The belt of Orion, comprised of three stars, is easy to see with the unaided eye.
  • Dangling from Orion’s belt is a sword and within that sword is the famous “Great Nebula,” M42. Within the Great Nebula, new stars are always being manufactured. A new one ignites every few million years! For stars, that is a frequent occurrence! Even with binoculars, you can see a small glowing cloud in Orion’s sword—that is M42!
Photo from a Walmart Poster

In the poster to the left from Walmart: Betelgeuse is the yellowish star to the top left in Orion. The three-star belt of Orion is visible, as well as the sword dangling under the belt. The sword contains Orion’s “Great Nebula.” To the upper right of the picture is the yellow star of Aldebaron in Taurus. To the immediate right of Aldebaron is the Hyades star cluster, an open congregation of stars. To the upper right of the picture are The Pleiades, wrapped in a foggy glow of their own nebula.

Photo from NASA
  • The constellation of Taurus the Bull is to the right (east) and above Orion. In mythology, Orion is fighting Taurus. Taurus is a constellation of the zodiac, which means that the paths of the planets, the moon, and sun appear to go through Taurus. Of interest to observers without a telescope, there are two sky wonders that reside in Taurus:
    • On the back of Taurus the Bull is the cluster of stars called the “Seven Sisters” or “The Pleiades.” It is easily visible as a cluster of stars in Taurus, but differentiating the stars isn’t easy. A person with excellent eyesight can make out 5 or 6, but finding all 7 is hard! With binoculars, all 7 stars are easy to see. With a telescope, there are many more!
    • At the base of the horns of Taurus is the yellow bright star Aldebaron. Immediately to the right of Aldebaron is a large open star cluser called “The Hyades.” Several stars in The Hyades are visible to the unaided eye.

Planets and Moon In February, 2022

  • Venus, Mars, and Mercury are all in the early morning sky, near the SE horizon the entire month. On February 5th, they will be an interesting trio, somewhat close together. Very bright Venus will be in a crescent phase, with its phase just barely visible with binoculars. To the right and below Venus will be reddish and much dimmer Mars. To the left and below the other two will be dim Mercury.
  • On the night of February 9th, there will be a lunar occultation! That means that the moon will appear to eclipse (to cover-up) a star. However, the star is dim and just barely visible in a dark sky. With binoculars, you should be able to see this event in the Portland area—but this star is very dim. The dark edge of the moon (on the left side on this night) will be moving toward Kappa Tauri and will cover up the star at about 8:30 pm PST. Begin looking for the star no later than 8:20 pm so you can see it before the moon covers it up!
  • On the night of February 13th, the gibbous moon (that means about 3/4 full) will be close to Castor and Pollux, the two brightest stars in Gemini. This will be easy to see without any binoculars—all three in a row!
  • In the early dawn of February 26th, the moon will just pass slightly below Antares, the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius.
  • Jupiter and Saturn will not be visible this month, their orbits taking them into close alignment with the sun.
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Summer Fun Video

Enjoy this reel of fun times during Overnight Camp 2021!
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Summer 2022

COVID-19 precautions at Camp Blue Spruce

Based on our success running camp in 2021, we are optimistic about next summer. By implementing our Covid guidelines and paying close attention to the work being done by the Oregon Health Authority, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Camp Association, we had zero positive COVID cases and tons of fun. We are so grateful to our summer staff and all of our families who helped us have a safe and successful program during a difficult year!

For 2022, we intend to implement many of the same precautions we used in 2021. Like last year, all campers, staff, volunteers and visitors spending time at camp this summer will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, including timely boosters as available. If you have questions about the vaccine, this article by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA/Kids with Food Allergies) provides some information.

Please see our blog post from 2021 that lists some of the other protocols we will follow in 2022. As we plan for camp, we will continue to monitor updates and adjust accordingly to keep our campers, staff, and families safe while providing an amazing experience at camp. 

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us!