Pickering Creek Audubon Center launches EcoCamp from Home

Camper George gathers creatures in his bucket.

EASTON — With the coronavirus causing the cancellation of this year’s wildly popular EcoCamp at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in a traditional format this year, the Center is presenting EcoCamp From Home.

This program consists week long themed adventures over four weeks from mid-July to mid-August and gives your outdoor adventurer the guidance and inspiration they need to experience nature this summer the EcoCamp way. Campers will receive a kit with themed indoor and outdoor activities, a guided activity book and supplies to help them explore outdoors in their own backyards. Camp families will have the opportunity to continue learning with self-guided activities at Pickering Creek, and may safely borrow supplies and equipment at the 4000-acre Center.

EcoCamp From Home’s flexible formatting allows families to adapt to their own schedules, and the wide range of activities included helps each camper engage with nature on their terms. Bi-weekly online meetings will provide social interaction, while campers learn about nature and science from Pickering educators and other guest scientists. It’s a great way for kids to have fun in this summer while connecting with the natural world.

This summer program is designed to get kids outdoors for discovery in your own backyard, with adventures in learning that inspire a life-long curiosity in nature and science. The fun, time-tested camp programs, adapted for home, spark curiosity and sharpen thinking skills through experimentation, exploration, art, community science and sharing our findings.

EcoCamp from Home begins with Backyard Bugs from July 13 through 17 and explores what kinds of bugs are in your backyard or nearby park. Kids will fill their nets with butterflies, beetles, and dragonflies, dig for worms and ants, and check plants for caterpillars! They will see how many bugs they can catch, learn how a bug sees, and improve habitats for bugs at home.

The second week’s theme is Super Scientist from July 20 through 24 and focuses on learning how to hone investigative science skills. Campers will observe a seed beginning to germinate, extract DNA from a strawberry, survey wetlands at Pickering Creek or nearby their home and test their engineering skills. Science is all about asking questions about the world around you.

Week three features Habitat Heroes from July 27 through 31 and explores the question, “What makes a habitat thrive?” Campers will explore local habitats, learn how to tell if they’re healthy or not, and find out how you can help. Build a bird feeder for your yard, test the water at Pickering Creek or a stream near your home, and engineer your own bird’s nest at home. Campers will be heroes to local animals and plants.

The final week of EcoCamp from Home is entitled Night & Day from August 3 through 7. Campers learn how early birds are different than night owls and whether we have the same senses as bugs or bats. We’ll find out the answers to these questions during this week of daily and nightly games and experiments! Campers will test their senses to their limits, discover how animals sense their habitats, and learn how your own senses can make you a better nature explorer.

EcoCamp From Home activities are designed so that most campers can complete them on their own, however taking on the program as a family activity can be very rewarding and is welcome.

Each week’s themed kit contains an EcoCamp 2020 drawstring bag to keep your camper’s exploration supplies together, plus a wood cookie necklace for their nature names and containers for scooping, collecting, and earth moving. Additional supplies vary by week, including outdoor equipment (i.e. bug nets, kids binoculars), experimental setups (i.e. pipettes, test tubes), and crafts (i.e. pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks).

To learn more and register visit https://pickering.audubon.org/programs/eco camp-home.

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