It was another cool, overcast morning, predicted to become much warmer this afternoon. Fortunately, our morning camp allows us to operate in the more comfortable part of the day.
The campers arrived in time to see the unveiling of the Camp Banner. Each of the campers and staff had written their name on the banner in glue, the banner was washed to remove the glue, but render the signatures resistant to paint. Our camp artist, Jennifer Bennett, had sketched a scene and some animals on the banner and then painted over it. Pretty cool! Thanks, Jennifer.
Charlie Graham got some help this morning from Blair, one of our team leaders, in preparing the batter for today's solar snack, banana Bread.
Wednesday is "Birds Day" at the Nature Camp. The campers were exposed to lots of information about birds, with the main focus being that they are really fascinating and amazing animals. One of our bird specialists, Marilyn Ellis (a.k.a. The Bird Lady), began the day with an in-depth look at bird diversity, habitats, and adaptations.
Marilyn has access to a collection of preserved birds, received from the Audubon Society, where she worked for many years. These birds were killed, mostly by automobiles or illness, and then stuffed for educational purposes. Marilyn exhibits a high level of respect for these creatures.
Marilyn engaged the campers in a discussion of how birds adapted to their habitat and the diverse roles they play in their respective habitat.
This owl has incredibly long and sharp talons, as do all raptors, for catching and quickly killing their prey.
Mallards' beaks are designed to strain their food from the water with their serrated edges.
The Great Blue Heron has a beak specially designed to spear its prey. They have very long legs to wade in wetlands' water, and large feet, suitable for walking on the muddy bottom of the ponds, streams, etc. where they hunt.
The Red Tailed Hawk has a broad wing, shown here, and a tail that allow the bird to soar on air currents and land safely.
After the discussion with Marilyn, the campers went off as teams to visit other stations. At one, Gary Fawver, a Naturalist and excellent bird photographer, gave the campers some tips on bird identification. He also taught the camper how to properly use binoculars. It was particularly fun to witness the campers who were unfamiliar with binoculars grin broadly when they "got it."
Marilyn carried her theme of bird adaptations into another station where each camper designed their own bird. They chose body parts from several options to create a bird that probably doesn't exist. The campers were challenged to describe the habitat that their bird lives in, how it gets its food, and what color its feathers are. The campers also gave each bird its species name. Ask your camper to describe their bird.
Yesterday, each camper took a lot of pictures. Today, they each sat with Tom Shreve, Photographer, and together they reviewed the camper's collection of pictures. The camper selected their favorite two pictures for printing. One will be framed for display in the Visitors Center, and the other framed for the camper to take home at the end of the Camp Session on Friday. Ask your camper how they chose their favorites.
Each day throughout the camp, the campers have been keeping a journal. They've drawn pictures, scenes, recorded observations, etc. Today, the campers made the paper and designed the cover for their journal. Sandy Reid, Naturalist, Helped the campers through the process.
Sandy also gave the campers a history of paper-making.
At the end of each day, the Camp Staff gathers to discuss the day: what worked, what can we do to improve an activity for the next time we do it. We also preview and plan for the next day.
Tomorrow will be another busy day, with more field activities. Today, the staff focused on the logistics to make it all come together smoothly for the campers.