Meander through mud, wallow in the wetland, and frolic in the forest at Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s summer EcoCamp. Eco Camp’s exciting, unique, and hands-on activities allow campers to engage with nature at their own pace by providing a welcoming and safe environment to explore. Campers learn about nature and gain outdoor skills through hiking, swimming, playing games, fishing, and creating crafts. Small groups of campers will discover the wetlands, forests, creek, and pond along with an experienced counselor and EcoCamp alumni (enthusiastic Junior Naturalists). Campers test their skills at spotting wildlife, playing camouflage, catching frogs, building forts, and canoeing.
Pickering Creek Audubon Center’s EcoCamp has a philosophy that campers will have rich learning experiences in a fun and safe outdoor environment. EcoCamp’s small groups and low student to instructor ratio provide for an exceptional outdoor summer camp experience. Camp Director Sammi Ocher has been teaching outdoor education for six years, most recently at Pickering Creek, and has her MS in Marine Biology from Northeastern University. She will be joined by an assistant director and by three summer counselors who will lead campers on fun, exciting, safe, and educational outdoor adventures. Pickering Creek offers exceptionally well-trained and experienced instructors and leaders for all of its programs.
Each camp lasts one week and focuses on a unique nature-inspired theme. Pickering Creek offers camps for three age groups: Fledglings (students entering Kindergarten through first), Larks (students entering second through fourth grade), and Shrikes (students entering fifth through seventh grade). All camps are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an option for Fledglings to be picked up at 2 p.m.
Fledglings will get a gentle introduction to the outdoors through hikes and activities especially tailored for their abilities. Walks are short in length and activities vary throughout the program to keep them interested and active. Fledglings spend some quiet time indoors after lunch napping or reading and have an optional snack time in the afternoon. Fledgling camps are available for every week this summer except Outdoor Survivor on July 20 through 24.
The Larks EcoCamps engage campers with hikes, free explorations, and lessons on identifying the many animals that call Maryland home. Campers hike and play throughout the center’s 400 acres, and seine for aquatic wildlife in Pickering Creek. Larks can choose from all seven weeks of camp this summer.
Shrike campers will be introduced to the same themes as younger groups, but the challenges are greater. These older campers will hone their survival skills with shelter building, orienteering, longer canoe trips, water hikes, tracking, and camouflage games. Shrikes camps are available for every week this summer except Tall Tails on July 6 through 10.
Week 1: June 22-26
Wet & Wild submerges campers in the many waters of Pickering Creek. Catch frogs in the freshwater wetlands, search through meandering creeks for raccoon tracks, and seine in the creek for mummichogs and grass shrimp. Be prepared to get muddy and wet while wading through these habitats collecting and watching wildlife, creating damns and new pools, and learning how water is the center for all habitats – big and small.
Week 2: June 29-July 2
ImagiNature helps campers learn how to use their creative side to show the world their love of nature. Nature is full of crazy designs and colors; campers will explore Pickering Creek for examples and help fill the trails with leaf mosaics, mud creatures, toad and fairy homes, and sand and clay sculptures. Use found materials throughout the forest, wetlands, and creek to leave little pieces of artwork for Pickering visitors to discover and enjoy.
Week 3: July 6-10
Tall Tails will introduce campers to the magic of storytelling. Whether a story about amazing animals and crazy creatures, nature myths or legends – make the story of the summer a captivating one. Gather stories of frogs in the wetland, imagine a butterfly’s journey in the fields, and decide the tale of a fish’s fate in the creek. Hear tales of animal heroes and folklore, then create new ones of your own to share.
Week 4: July 13-17
Puzzle Masters. What grows when it eats, but dies when it drinks? What breaks but never falls, and what falls but never breaks? Answer these nature riddles, use team-building skills to complete challenges, and find clues to follow a scavenger hunt through the forests, wetlands, and shores of Pickering Creek.
Week 5: July 20-24
Outdoor Survivor will prepare campers to survive outdoors. Learn how to predict the weather, what to watch out for and what can help in an emergency, and how to build shelters and keep warm. Find out more about the tricks that animals (and even some plants) use to survive in difficult conditions, and then test your skills.
Week 6: July 27-31
Habitat Heroes will help campers become protectors of wildlife. Learn about some of the difficulties local wildlife face and ways to help them. Go seining and test the water to find out how healthy Pickering Creek is and plant some native flowers for birds and butterflies. Look for plants and animals, build some habitats, and create fun projects to improve life for animals on the Eastern Shore.
Week 7: August 3-7
Adventureland will be EcoCamp 2020’s final adventure. From water games to fort building, nature art to seining, wetland traversing to log flipping – choose your own adventure at EcoCamp’s final hurrah.