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It is with great pride that we announce the successful conclusion of the first annual Environment Centre Day Camp. For five action packed days (July 11-15), three adults and sixteen campers played and adventured in the forest and trails around Trent. Although we were nervous about leading our first ever day camp, we were very lucky to have an amazing group of 9 to 12 year olds.

Craig and I found the whole week to be a verification of our ideas about the benefits of bringing children to the outdoors. From the very beginning it was obvious that our group was enthusiastic and interested in the natural world. We had to tear them away from frog chasing and creek wading on the first day in order to be back in time for pick-up. The next day we did manage to catch some frogs and many aquatic invertebrates. For a couple of days the campers watched our creatures closely in their aquarium before releasing them back to the wild.

One of the highlights was the mid-week rainstorm. Instead of hiding indoors and moping, the campers donned swim suits and ran in the rain, sprayed each other with the hose and covered themselves in mud. Protected by their ‘natural sunscreen’ the group marched down to the river for their daily swim to wash the clay away. We tried to keep that kind of spontaneous and flexible attitude throughout the week.

Campers had the opportunity to make recycled paper including flower petals and leaves from the meadows. They made dolls out of cattails and beads from sumach twigs. In all, we learned about responsible harvesting of resources and using natural materials. It warmed my heart when, at the end of the week, the campers were saying ‘thank-you’ to the trees and plants without being prompted.

Craig and I are looking forward to next year. We will definitely be offering several weeks of available sessions and hope to fill them. On the last day, a deer popped by for a visit during our morning circle. I like to see that as a vote of approval from the local nature population. Thanks to our participants. See you next year!

Sherri Owen, Education Coordinator
Camp Kawartha Environment Centre