It was a hot sticky morning and the hum of cicadas fashioned the perfect soundtrack for an expedition through some goldenrod. “Can we check the snake boards?!” exclaimed an eager camper, as the group proceeded with anticipation to partake in an all-time favorite ECO camp task. Two campers lifted the thin wooden board placed along the path revealing the presence of a freshly shed garter snake. Silent cheers of triumph for this sighting flowed through the group of young naturalists. Check one for the observation list!
This is one of many activities that campers participated in over the summer during ECO Camp 2016. The goal of each day was to get outdoors to see and learn as much as possible, while creating meaningful individual connections with the land. From hiking, to insect catching, bird watching and writing in nature journals, the kids were able to explore nature through different approaches. For some campers, it was their first time setting foot on the paths at rare, shaping their new found knowledge of this place full of flora and fauna. Some others were eagerly returning to camp from years prior with more gusto than ever before, ready to take on another adventure. This combination of experience throughout the group created the perfect setting for an exchange of knowledge from one camper to another, and by the end of the summer the campers were able to paint rare with their own memories and personal connections.
At the end of each week we asked the campers to share their favorite parts of rare and gave them the opportunity to thank the volunteers and donors that help protect the 900+ acres, 24 different habitat types and over 3000 species that call rare home. The campers drew pictures of their favorite animal, their favorite place at rare, and their favorite things to do at camp and a thank you card.
You don’t have to wait until next summer to keep that connection alive! Come join us at the Walk for rare, where you can explore the same trails your children did this summer and let their experiences guide you. The proceeds to the walk go towards our Turn the Map Green campaign, raising money to protect the very land that our ECO programs are based on so we can continue to build important connections between the community and the environment.
Thanks to all of our volunteers, special guests, parents, and of course the campers for making ECO Camp what it was!
By: Emily Leslie