Back to Basics with nature camp

According to the American Camp Association, in the United States alone, there are 5,000 summer day camps, up 90 percent from 20 years ago. Campers have a dizzying array of choices for their summer, from academic camps to technology camps to art camp and everything in between. For some children, it seems the lazy days of summer are just a myth.

But at one South Jersey camp, campers are going back to basics. Campers at the NJ Audubon Rancocas Nature Center will experience the classic childhood summer playing outdoors and exploring nature. Just like children did before the age of the internet, they will spend their summer chasing frogs, splashing in a stream, and turning over logs. These campers will go home each day with mud on their shoes and smiles on their faces.

All Rancocas Nature Center Summer Camp programs are led by experienced environmental educators. Each week’s program is a mix of age-appropriate educational and fun activities, including outdoor discovery hikes throughout the Sanctuary’s approximately 130 acres which includes meadows, pine, and mixed deciduous forests, streams and the Rancocas Creek. Campers may find themselves wading in a stream sampling macroinvertebrates, tracking wildlife on a forest trail, or catching insects and butterflies in the meadow.

Week long full-day camp sessions will be held from June 27 to August 12 for children in grades one through five. Each session has an exciting theme such as “Eco-Explorations”, “Habitat Detectives”, and “The Good, The Bad, and the Bug-ly.”

Children in grades five through seven will have a chance to earn a NJ Audubon Junior Naturalist Certificate through a full-day program of hands-on activities on such topics as NJ wildlife, survival strategies, and naturalist detective skills. This program is available August 1 to 5 and August 8 to 12.

For more information and registration forms visit www.njaudubon.org/centers/rancocas, stop by the center on 794 Rancocas Road in Mt. Holly, or call 261–2495. Space is limited. NOTE: Session 3 is full.