Wide variety camps to choose from this summer

Refuge Notebook

Pictures are said to say a thousand words. The most common words I use when describing our camps at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge are exploration, discovery, fun, nature, outdoors, wildlife education, hands-on, and skill-based. But looking at the pictures bring to mind the "oohs" and "wow neat" the campers said, as well as a few "ewe gross" comments. Often the frozen expression in the photo says it all. We take lots of pictures to document the activities and fun during the summer camps, but the lasting memories lie within those participants who attend our camps each year.

As summer approaches, parents are trying to figure out which programs to enroll their kids in as many are offered on the Peninsula each year. I'm sure some parents even wish there was a camp they could go to. All camps are different but I'd like to highlight what is special about the Kenai Refuge's camps and, yes, we do have a camp parents can attend!

Critter Camp: This camp is available to students going into 2nd or 3rd grade this fall. Based at the Education Center, we will be outdoors learning about plants and animals, their habitats, life cycles, and adaptations. Each day includes a lot of trail exploration and arts and crafts activities. Sessions for this camp will occur June 18-22 and June 25-29 with each day starting at 10 am and ending at 2 pm. Pre-registration is required and there will be a $50 session supply fee.

Get Out and Get Dirty Camp: This camp is available to students going into 4th or 5th grade this fall. Based at the Education Center, time is spent outdoors participating in skill-based exploration of orienteering, plants, birds, fish, and other animals. Sessions for this camp will occur July 9-13 and July 16-20 with each day starting at 9 am and ending at 3 pm. Pre-registration is required and there will be a $75 session supply fee.

Family Camp: This camp is for kids of all ages and will be based at Upper Skilak Campground for three days and two nights. Sessions for this camp will occur August 3-5 and August 8-10. Families will camp in the walk-in tent loop and Refuge Camp staff will facilitate a variety of activities geared to various age levels (canoeing, GPS, arts and crafts, storytelling, guided interpretive walks, evening campfire programs, and much, much more). Families will be able to choose which activities they want to participate in. Pre-registration is required and there will be a $50 session supply fee for a family of four which includes the $10 walk in tent loop camp fee (additional people over the age of five will be $5 per person).

To sign-up for any of these camps, a registration packet needs to be turned in with the supply fee to the Refuge Visitor Center on Ski Hill Road. Spaces are limited, and the camps fill fast. For directions, more information about camps, and to request a registration packet please contact Michelle at 260-2839.

Michelle Ostrowski is the Educational Specialist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and has enjoyed working with "kids" of all ages since starting at the Refuge in 1998. You can now find the Refuge on facebook, or check out our current events at http://kenai.fws.gov/current.htm.

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