January 23, 2020 Share

Park Commission announces nature camps

Online registration opens Jan. 20

Campers at Baldpate Nature Camp construct a forest using different elements of their natural surroundings.

HAMILTON – The Mercer County Park Commission’s Nature Programs will host thrilling and educational summer camps for children ranging in age from pre-K to eighth grade. The summer camps are developed and instructed by the Park Commission’s team of naturalists, whose 2020 camp lineup includes a new addition. Online registration opens Monday, Jan. 20, at https://register.communitypass.net/mercer.

New this year is the Tulpehaking Nature Camp, which will run the week of Aug. 17 through 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton. With experienced Naturalists at their side, campers will explore Roebling Park through hands-on explorations and experiments designed to enhance their connection with the natural world. Children entering grades 1 through 3 can be registered for the Painted Turtles group where the camp day will be devoted to a different nature theme and feature, naturalist-led games, activities and hikes. A special “nature play” time is set aside daily for campers to become emerged in unstructured, self-directed outdoor exploration. The Snapping Turtles group, for children entering grades 4 through 6, will spend the mornings out on the trails exploring the marshlands while afternoons are spent learning about the natural world through inquiry-based experiments and projects. The Tulpehaking Nature Camp curriculum and activities are modeled after the wildly popular Baldpate Nature Camp.

Running for its 10th season this summer, Baldpate Nature Camp will be held for four weeks: July 6 through 10, July 13 through 17, July 27 through 31 and Aug.  3 through 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Baldpate Mountain in Titusville. Baldpate Nature Camp is designed to enhance children’s natural affinity for the great outdoors. Hands-on nature explorations, science experiments, hikes through the forest and unstructured nature play create the foundation for each camp week. Camp days are devoted to a specific nature topic such as arthropods, forest ecology, birds and wildlife tracking. Children entering grades 1 through 3, the Chickadees group, will develop their connection with the natural world during “nature play,” a time set aside during the camp day for campers to explore and imagine nature their way. The Towhees group, for children entering grades 4 through 6, will spend mornings on exploratory hikes, where they will set foot on a new trail each day, equipped with their curiosity and encouraged to explore their environment. Nature experiments and studies will round out camp day afternoons.

The Aquatic Adventure Camp will be held June 22 through 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Mercer County Marina. If your child loves being on the water observing nature, then Aquatic Adventure Camp will be a perfect fit. Designed to balance the fun of summer with science, Aquatic Adventure Camp will have your child diving into freshwater ecology, testing Mercer Lake’s water, kayaking creeks and coves, and observing wildlife. Aquatic Adventure Camp’s Adventurers group is for children entering grades 7 through 9 and includes activities such as fishing, taking a ride on the pontoon boat, hiking and a cookout. Campers will memorialize their week by making a gyotaku T-shirt to take home. The Aquatic Adventure Camp will bring back the Anglers session for children entering grades 4 through 6 where campers will spend mornings casting their fishing lines into Mercer Lake. Species identification and size limits of the lake’s finned friends will be studied while practicing catch-and-release fishing. Children will also gain a better understanding of the lake’s biology.

Wild Discovery is a half-day summer camp designed as a playful introduction to the wonders of nature for children entering pre-K and kindergarten. Running Aug. 10 through 14 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Baldpate Mountain in Titusville, campers will explore the ponds, fields and forests, and trek on the trails as they discover the wild kingdom. Hunts under rocks and logs and visits with live animals will increase campers’ awareness of our wonderful wild world. Each day of camp includes a morning story, nature-themed art project, a trail trek, snack time and exploration activities.

In addition to the new camp offering, the Park Commission is making after-care available for its full-day camps this season. Campers attending Baldpate Nature Camp, Aquatic Adventure Camp or Tulpehaking Nature Camp can stay for the after-party and enjoy nature-themed games, crafts and activities from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Spaces are limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. After-care is not available for Wild Discovery camp.

Please visit https://register.communitypass.net/mercer to register for summer nature camps and https://www.mercercountyparks.org/#!/activities/summer-nature-camps for more information.