Summer Camp

Join Us for Eco-Discovery Camp!

New themes and learning topics this year! Week-to-week registration available.

Our weekly day camp offers children ages 5-10 unique and fun opportunities to forge lasting connections with the natural world on our 825-acre nature preserve in New Fairfield, CT. Our days will be 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. See below for weekly topics and schedule, or click here for a printable flyer. Please contact our Camp Director, Sena, at gro.w1531729003olloh1531729003taerg1531729003@anes1531729003 or (203) 546-7789 to find out more.

10% off for Family Level members and up!

*Due to the extension of the school year into the week of June 25 in many districts, we are accepting prorated, individual day registration for that session. Please contact our Camp Director, Sena, at the email address or phone number above if you are interested in signing up for individual days that week.*

 

2018 Dates Session Name
Age Group (years)  
June 25-29 Mudpuppies Knee-High Naturalists (5-7) Register and pay
July 2-6 *no camp July 4
Minibeasts Knee-High Naturalists (5-7)  Register and pay
July 9-13 Stream Stompers Eco-Explorers (8-10)  Register and pay
July 16-20 Zombie Apocalypse Eco-Explorers (8-10)  Register and pay
July 23-27 Senses & Defenses Knee-High Naturalists (5-7)  Register and pay
July 30-Aug 3
Tales & Trails Knee-High Naturalists (5-7) SOLD OUT
Aug 6-10 On the Prowl Eco-Explorers (8-10)  Register and pay
Aug 13-17 Child vs. Wild Eco-Explorers  (8-10) Register and pay
Aug 20-24 Ecosystem Explorations Knee-High Naturalists (5-7) Register and pay

 

Weekly Session Descriptions for Knee-High Naturalists (5-7 year-olds):

Mudpuppies, June 25-29

Get your feet wet and hands muddy as we spend the week exploring Great Hollow’s Quaker Brook and beaver pond. We’ll venture into creek beds, waterfalls, shaded pools, and pond edges to investigate the creatures that make our waters their home. Our week will end on a festive note as we celebrate International Mud Day on Friday!

Topics covered: aquatic ecosystems; plant and animal adaptations; beavers as a keystone species and ecosystem engineer; beaver dam engineering; aquatic macroinvertebrates as water quality indicators; natural history of trout; the water cycle; watersheds; properties of mud.

 

Minibeasts, July 2-6 (*no camp on July 4)

Invertebrates, the “minibeasts” of the animal kingdom, make up a staggering 97% of all animal species on Earth! We’ll spend the week taking a bug’s eye view of Great Hollow, investigating the variety of minibeasts living in our forests, meadows, wetlands, streams, and skies, to learn about them and the vital roles they play in the natural world.

Topics covered: invertebrates vs. vertebrates; exoskeletons and molting; invertebrate ID; life cycles and metamorphosis; insects vs. other invertebrates; food webs; pollination; insect adaptations; biological indicator species; social insects; habitats; role as decomposers.

 

Senses and Defenses, July 23-27

We’ll spend the week putting our senses to the test to discover how they stack up against those of the plants and animals around us. Each day we’ll focus on one of the five primary senses and the ways plants and animals (including people!) use them to survive and thrive in their environment.

Topics covered: human senses; plant and animal senses; what living things need to survive; food webs; plant and animal adaptations; predator/prey relationships; symbiotic relationships; carnivorous plants; photosynthesis; species niches; competition; animal tracks and sign; biomimicry.

 

Tales and Trails, July 30 – August 3 (*Currently full. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the waiting list.)

Our imaginations will soar this week as we explore Great Hollow through the lens of our favorite storybooks and adventure tales. We’ll wander the forests, meadows, and streams in search of the critters (both real and make-believe) that live there and imagine the stories they could tell if given the chance. These stories will come to life as we recreate them through a variety of crafts, games, and activities—and perhaps even a short theatrical performance for parents on Friday.

Topics covered: forest, meadow, wetland, and stream ecosystems; animal tracks and sign; birds; reptiles and amphibians; mammals; trees and other plants; fungi; adaptations; life cycles; protecting the environment; nature art; storytelling.

 

Ecosystem Explorations, August 20-24

*Optional evening program on Friday (camp day extended until 8:30pm, includes campfire dinner and night hike)

This week we’ll explore each of Great Hollow’s four major ecosystems—forests, meadows, wetlands, and streams—in depth to discover the variety of plants and animals that make them home. We’ll learn what all living things (including us!) need to survive and the diverse methods different species use to meet these needs. The week will be capped off by an optional night hike so we can observe the changes that occur in each ecosystem as the sun goes down, and maybe see or hear some nocturnal critters that are just starting their day.

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

 

Weekly Session Descriptions for Nature Detectives (8-10 year-olds):

Stream Stompers, July 9-13

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 venture into creek beds, waterfalls, and shaded pools to investigate the creatures that make our streams their home. Along the way we’ll learn about the water cycle, our watershed, the importance of healthy stream ecosystems, and 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; beaver dam engineering; aquatic macroinvertebrates as biological indicators; natural history of trout; water cycle; watersheds; substrate types; properties of mud.

 

Zombie Apocalypse, July 16-20

Did you know that a zombie apocalypse of sorts is underway in the natural world? “Mind controlling” parasites are the culprit and wide variety of plant and animal species become their unwilling victims every day. We’ll spend the week investigating the diverse ways parasites infiltrate their hosts and the methods some species have developed to fight back. There will also be plenty of opportunities to play Humans vs. Zombies, an Eco-Discovery Camp favorite!

Topics covered: symbiotic relationships; predator/prey relationships; food webs; role of parasites in ecosystems; parasites vs. parasitoids; plants as parasites; brood parasitism by birds; species niches; animal behavior; competition; plant and animal adaptations; lifecycles; adaptations arms race.

 

On the Prowl, August 6-10

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

Topics covered: predator/prey relationships; what living things need to survive; producers and consumers; herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, and decomposers; food webs; trophic levels; bioaccumulation; ecosystems; biotic vs. abiotic; carrying capacity and population regulation; species niches; competition; symbiotic relationships; plant and animal adaptations; adaptations arms race; direct vs indirect observations; invasive species.

 

Child vs. Wild, August 13-17 (*Currently full. Please contact us if you would like to be added to the waiting list)

*Optional evening program on Friday (camp day extended until 8:30pm, includes campfire dinner and night hike)

If you want to find out if you have what it takes to survive (and even thrive!) in the wild with just your skills and the supplies in your daypack, then this is the camp for you! We spend the week practicing outdoor skills such as fire building, cordage making, shelter building, use of a map and compass, off-trail navigation, and more. We’ll put our skills to the test through friendly competitions to determine our quickest fire builders, most skilled shelter makers, fastest map readers, and most successful wild edibles collectors.

Topics covered: fire building and safety; cordage making; shelter building; staying found; what to do if lost/S.T.O.P; rule of threes; what to always carry on a hike; map reading; compass use; topographical maps; off-trail navigation; edible and medicinal plant ID; edible invertebrate ID; animal tracking; spoon carving; water collection and filtration; 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 $225 for Family Level and higher members of Great Hollow, and $250 for non-members. Registration for the abbreviated session from July 2-6 is $180 for Family Level and higher members, and $200 for non-members. The fee for the optional evening programs is $25. Optional camp t-shirts are available to purchase for $12.

 

Buy Camp T-shirt