Summer Camp

 

Join Us for Eco-Discovery Camp

New themes and learning topics for 2019! Age range extended to 12 years old. Week-to-week registration available.

Great Hollow’s weekly day camp offers children ages 5-12 unique and fun opportunities to forge lasting connections with the natural world on our 825-acre nature preserve in New Fairfield, CT. Our days are spent outdoors, exploring Great Hollow’s creeks, forests, meadows, and trails, learning about the critters that make this special place their home. Each weekly session includes science-based environmental education activities, live animal presentations, games, hikes, and daily time for self-directed nature play. With our staff to camper ratio of only 1 to 4, your child will receive close, personalized instruction and supervision unlike anywhere else. Please contact our Camp Director, Sena, at gro.w1571824868olloh1571824868taerg1571824868@anes1571824868 or (203) 546-7789 to find out more.

Family Level members and above receive a 10% discount.

If you’re 14-17 years old and interested in being a CIT, please click here.

 

Registration for the 2019 camp season opens on March 1st for Family Level or higher members and on March 15th for all others

2019 Dates Session Name
Age Group
 
June 24-28 Gross Out! Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay
July 1-5 *no camp July 4
Creek Quest Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay
July 8-12 H2Whoa! Eco-Explorers (9-12)  Register and pay
July 15-19 STEAM Team Eco-Explorers (9-12)  Register and pay
July 22-26 Enchanted Forest Knee-High Naturalists (5-8)  Register and pay
July 29-Aug 2
Jaws, Paws & Claws Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay
Aug 5-9 Squatch Watch Eco-Explorers (9-12)  Register and pay
Aug 12-16 At Home in The Wild Eco-Explorers  (9-12) Register and pay
Aug 19-23 Nature’s Neighborhoods Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay

 

Weekly Session Descriptions for Knee-High Naturalists (5-8 year-olds):

Gross Out! June 24-28

If you want to explore the slimy, sticky, smelly, and gooey side of nature, this camp session is for you! We’ll discover the many ways that being gross can be good for survival, such as vultures spewing vomit to defend themselves or carrion plants smelling like rotten meat to attract pollinators. We’ll investigate animal poop, dissect owl “pellets”, feed our resident birds of prey and snake, collect and study earthworms, and hopefully realize that some of the “gross” parts of nature are actually pretty cool.

Topics covered: plant and animal adaptations; adaptations arms race; animal tracks and signs; owl pellets; food webs; predator/prey relationships; earthworm ecology and behavior; “mind-controlling” parasites; scavengers and decomposers.

 

Creek Quest, July 1-5 (*no camp on July 4)

Spend your week frolicking in the water of Great Hollow’s Quaker Brook! We’ll catch crayfish and other critters, go on stream walks, see beautiful waterfalls, and visit a real beaver lodge. We’ll be busy having so much fun that we won’t even realize we’re learning all about the water cycle, watersheds, and the importance of healthy stream ecosystems.

Topics covered: aquatic ecosystems; plant and animal adaptations; beavers as a keystone species and ecosystem engineer; aquatic macroinvertebrates as biological indicators; natural history of crayfish; water cycle; watersheds; properties of mud.

 

Enchanted Forest, July 22-26

Let’s spend the week exploring Great Hollow’s magical places! Using our imaginations and the sense of wonder that nature provides, we’ll venture into forests, meadows, wetlands, and streams in search of mythical creatures such as gnomes, fairies, pixies, and elves. Along the way we’ll learn about the real animals and natural phenomena that are the basis for many of these fabled beings while celebrating the magic of their lore.

Topics covered: forest, meadow, wetland, and stream ecosystems; animal tracks and signs; plant and animal adaptations; lifecycles; fungi; situational awareness and observation skills; folklore; nature art; storytelling.

 

Jaws, Paws, Talons, and Claws, July 29-August 2

This week is all about predators and prey! Through hands-on activities and games we’ll examine the adaptations that predators and prey use against one another and how they escalate over time, and the food webs of Great Hollow’s four major ecosystems.

Topics covered: predator/prey relationships; what living things need to survive; producers and consumers; herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, scavengers, and decomposers; food webs; ecosystems; symbiotic relationships; plant and animal adaptations; adaptations arms race.

 

Nature’s Neighborhoods, August 19-23

Did you know that plants and animals live in neighborhoods just like you? These neighborhoods are called ecosystems, and Great Hollow has four of them—forests, meadows, wetlands, and streams—for us to explore! We’ll learn about these different types of ecosystems, what an ecosystem has to provide for its occupants’ survival, the many ways “neighbors” interact with one another, and ecosystem invasions. We’ll use this knowledge to compare and contrast Great Hollow’s ecosystems to our own neighborhoods.

Topics covered: ecosystems; biotic vs abiotic; predator/prey relationships; what living things need to survive; producers and consumers; herbivores, omnivores, scavengers, and decomposers; food webs; habitats; species niches; competition; symbiotic relationships; adaptations; lifecycles; invasive species.

 

 

Weekly Session Descriptions for Eco-Explorers (9-12 year-olds):

H2Whoa! July 8-12

Get your hands dirty and your feet wet as we spend the week exploring Great Hollow’s Quaker Brook and its many tributaries. We’ll check out all the different features of the brook and search for cool creatures that make it their home. Along the way we’ll learn about the water cycle, our watershed, the importance of healthy stream ecosystems, and the things we can do to protect our local waters.

Topics covered: aquatic ecosystems; plant and animal adaptations; beavers as a keystone species and ecosystem engineer; aquatic macroinvertebrates as biological indicators; natural history of crayfish; water cycle; watersheds; properties of mud.

 

STEAM Team, July 15-19

Calling all scientists! Spend the week completing increasingly complex STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) challenges related to the natural world. We’ll learn, then practice, the scientific method and engineering design process as we tackle both individual and team challenges such as building a nest that can protect an egg falling from the top of our observation tower and designing experiments to study crayfish behavior. And of course, there will also be plenty of time to frolic in our brook and on our trails!

Topics covered: scientific method; engineering design process; biomimicry; plant and animal adaptations; direct vs indirect observations; nest-building techniques of birds; beavers as a keystone species and ecosystem engineer; crayfish natural history and behavior.

 

Squatch Watch, August 5-9

Have you ever wondered if sasquatches are real? What about unicorns or dragons? Stories of these creatures (and other cryptids) have been around for eons, and though mythical, their origins are thought to be based on real animals and natural phenomena. We’ll spend the week investigating a few of these cryptids, delving into their folklore, probable origins, and the often questionable methods that “cryptozoologists” employ in their research. We’ll then create our own cryptids—folklore and all—based on local plants, animals, and natural phenomena.

Topics covered: scientific method; critical thinking skills; direct vs indirect observation; observation skills; plant and animal adaptations; natural phenomena; cryptids and cryptozoology; local folklore; storytelling.

 

At Home in the Wild, August 12-16

If you want to hone your outdoor survival skills or see if you have what it takes to survive (and thrive) in the wild, then join us for this adventurous week at Great Hollow! We’ll spend our days practicing outdoor survival skills such as fire building, cordage making, shelter building, map and compass use, off-trail navigation, and more, culminating in a daylong survival scenario on Friday. Find out if you can rise to the challenge of being At Home in the Wild!

Topics covered: fire building and safety; cordage making; shelter building; staying found; what to do if lost/S.T.O.P; rule of 3’s; what to always carry on a hike; map reading; compass use; map making; topographical maps; off-trail navigation; edible and medicinal plant ID; animal tracking; water collection and filtration; useful knots; Leave No Trace; basic wilderness first aid.

 

Pricing & Details

Camp hours are 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM each day. Registration for each session (excluding July 4th week) is $250 for Family Level and higher members of Great Hollow, and $275 for non-members. Registration for the abbreviated session from July 1-5 is $200 for Family Level and higher members, and $225 for non-members. Optional camp t-shirts are available to purchase for $12.

 

Buy Camp T-shirt