Summer Camp

summer camp creek study

Investigate the natural world through the lens of an artist!

The Art of Ecology’s 2023 Summer Camp

located in Downingtown, PA

teen environmental education_summer camp

Week 1: “Into the Woods”

June 12-16: 9am – 3pm (1/2 day option available: 9am-12pm)

Ages: 7-11

What Will the Camper Do?

This week, explore forest and riparian ecosystems, and the incredible animals (such as amphibians, macroinvertebrates, and mammals) that rely on these habitats. Campers will engage in many STEAM games, scientific observation of soil, water movement, and understory forest life, as well as hikes, and creative projects.

Campers will explore what features distinguish amphibians from reptiles, and how flowing vs. still water (stream vs. pond) impact adaptations of aquatic life. They also shall explore microclimates within a forest environment and understand how forests are built in layers, with unique flora and fauna in each layer! As we explore these habitats, we shall engage in many artistic projects that help support their learning, express creativity, and discover the incredible world of wildcrafting using forest plants.

Some of the activities may include:
  • Botanically dying & block printing camp t-shirts
  • Nature Journaling
  • Foraging for survivalist & outdoor first aid plants
  • Building underwater viewers for observing stream habitats
  • Preserving herbarium specimens (used in real world botanical research)
  • Community Science & Data collaboration efforts utilizing iNaturalist, Web Soil Survey, and i-Tree
  • Making Slime for Ectotherm vs. Endotherm studies
  • Thatching & Woodland Weavings

Price: $350/camper, or $250/camper for 1/2 day. All materials (except for white t-shirt to use in dying projects) provided! Summer Camp group size is currently capped at 10.


Week 2: “World of Wildlife”

July 24-28: 9am-3pm, (1/2 day option available: 9am-12pm)

Ages: 7-11

What will the Camper Do?

This week, look high and low for wildlife that calls Chester County their home. We shall focus on wildlife including amphibians, bugs, birds, reptiles, and mammal species. Campers will engage in many STEAM games, scientific observation of fur, feathers, and skulls, as well as hikes, and creative projects.

Campers will explore what classifies wildlife in different categories, as well as take some deep dives into understanding how anatomy of different species impact how that animal functions within its ecosystem. They also shall participate in bioindicator species conservation strategies, how humans can positively impact wildlife, and how to mitigate habitat loss in their own community! As we engage with the wonderful world of wildlife, we shall make many artistic projects that help support camper’s learning, express creativity, and discover the incredible world of wildcrafting for animals.

Some of the activities will include:
  • Nature Journaling
  • Botanically dying & block printing camp t-shirts
  • Constructing Toad and salamander homes
  • Preserving herbarium specimens (used in real world botanical research)
  • Building Butterfly & Bird feeders to support biodiversity
  • Rolling native plant seed balls for wildlife
  • Community Science & Data Collaboration Efforts exploring projects such as FrogWatch, wildlife BioBlitzes, and iNaturalist eBird, Bumblebee Watch, and iNaturalist

Price: $350/camper, or $250/camper for 1/2 day. All materials (except for white t-shirt to use in dying projects) provided! Summer Camp group size is currently capped at 10.


Week 3: “Field and Feather”

August 21-25: 9am-3pm, (1/2 day option available: 9am-12pm)

Ages: 7-11

What will the Camper Do?

This week, explore fields and ecotones, and the incredible birds, mammals, and pollinators that rely on these sunny, grassy spaces. Campers will play STEAM games, make scientific observations of native wildflowers, bird morphology, and insect populations, go on hikes, and create art!

Campers will discover the important connections between plants, pollinators, and people by understanding urban gardening impacts on bird & pollinator populations, how humans can positively impact these vital species, and how to mitigate native plant loss in their own community! As we engage with these habitats and animals, we shall make many artistic projects that help support camper’s learning, express creativity, and discover the incredible world of wildcrafting for pollinators.

Some of the activities will include:
  • Nature Journaling
  • Botanically dying & block printing camp t-shirts
  • Designing bumblebee and bird feeders that support biodiversity
  • Preserving herbarium specimens (used in real world botanical research)
  • Constructing woven pieces using grasses, similar to weaver birds
  • Using sweep nets to observe pollinator species up close
  • Rolling native plant seed balls for wildlife
  • Community Science & Data Collaboration Efforts utilizing eBird, Bumblebee Watch, and iNaturalist

Price: $350/camper, or $250/camper for 1/2 day. All materials (except for white t-shirt to use in dying projects) provided! Summer Camp group size is currently capped at 10.

FAQs:

Health & Safety

What are the COVID-19 Precautions? The safety of your child is my #1 concern! The Art of Ecology’s Summer Camps will adhere to any CDC and Chester County Health mandates. At this time, campers are encouraged to wear a mask and social distance when indoors.

What does my child do for food, especially if they have allergies? Campers bring their own lunches. When filling out the camper registration form, please fill out the allergy information. Snacks provided will adhere to any dietary restrictions.

What first aid is available? Any educators are CPR trained, and carry a first aid kit at all times. If a camper has medication (epi-pens, etc…) the educator will ensure that those are also labeled and carried around. When filling out the camper registration form, please fill out the Emergency Contact section. This information will also be carried at all times.

Who is teaching the campers? Camp is capped so that students get individualized attention to help their exploration and art be the best it can be. Camp will be led by Marissa Jacobs, of The Art of Ecology. Extra staff may be brought in to help with activities. For information about Marissa’s qualifications and passion for blending the environmental sciences and art, click HERE. Clearances available upon request.

Activities & Education

What does a typical day look like for the nature art camp? Check in is at 9:00am. Campers arriving early will work on a week-long art project of their choice. Once everyone is present, we’ll take a hike to engage with the day’s theme and morning art project. Campers will investigate forests, fields, streams, ponds, and gardens to inspire and provide materials for their masterpieces. Snack will be provided in the morning. After lunch, we’ll continue to work on our art projects, discover animals, and get back outside for another long hike. Pick up is at 3pm, but extended care is available.

How does weather impact the activities? Weather is a part of the natural world and being in different conditions can help us understand our own connection to the natural world, as well as how weather impacts wildlife. Unless the conditions are considered unsafe (thunder & lightning, severe winds, etc…), the campers will be outside. Rain or heat will not prevent the group from being outside, exploring the natural world. Please have campers dress according to the day’s weather and bring rain coats, umbrellas, rain boots, changes of clothes, reusable water bottles to refill etc…

What are the hikes like? Each hike is usually on even, yet natural terrain. Campers should be able to walk for at least 20 minutes at a time. There are plenty of stops along the hike as we observe the natural world. Proper, closed-toed shoes are required.

Location & Details

Where does the camp take place? 2023 Summer Camp is located in Chester County, at a select group of public parks that are part of the Downingtown Area Recreation Consortium (DARC). Locations may vary each week and will be announced as soon as possible.

What happens if my child can’t make it and I need to cancel? As per The Art of Ecology’s policies, cancellations occurring more than 1 month ahead of that child’s camp week will receive a full refund. Cancellations occurring less than a month prior to the camp date will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations or missed days occurring the week of non-refundable due to the high level of materials used during this hands-on, art experience-based camp. DARC may have their own refund or cancellation policies (which overwrite The Art of Ecology’s listed policies).

The Art of Ecology donates a % of the proceeds to wildlife conservation efforts.

Her exuberance makers her presentations engaging, fun, and informative!

— Melissa J.

What an engaging presenter! …Marissa brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to her presentations.  My students were fully engaged and excited to learn when Marissa presented a lesson to my third graders.

— Lori H.

Our [daughter] has been forever changed because of your camp! She has always loved nature and learning about the natural environment, but this week took her to a whole new level! Your camp was impressive… As a mom, and a teacher, well done! 

– Taylor W.

Explore the Ecosystems we’re a part of! Discover Environmental Education during Events, Workshops and Classes with The Art of Ecology