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

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

3 sessions
$65 per person
See Dates
$65 per person
$65 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.

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

Pricing Options

This course is available at three ticket prices. This tiered pricing model is designed to increase access for a wider range of students as well as to support our instructors. In addition to tiered tickets, we offer a limited number of no-pay spots for students who would not otherwise be able to take this course. No-pay spots are selected via a randomized drawing two weeks before each section begins. For more information and to apply for a no-pay spot, please click here. To learn more about our pricing model and randomized selection process for no-pay spots, please visit our FAQ page.

Community Guidelines for Students

Please take a moment to review our community guidelines for students, which aim to share our classroom ethos and help set the stage for the best possible learning experience.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Atlas Obscura Courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Founded in 2009, Atlas Obscura created the definitive community-driven guide to incredible places across the planet and is now an award-winning company that shares the world’s hidden wonders in person and online.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to each class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access all sessions of your course via Zoom.

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording of each session, after it airs, at a time that is convenient for them. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session meets, students will receive access to a recording of the live session, which they can watch for up to two weeks after the course concludes.

Instructors may use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Google Classroom, instructors may use this platform to post resources, discussion questions, or assignments. This platform also offers a space for students to connect with one another about course material between sessions.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses and can share transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or accessibility needs.

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

Dates and Availability

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