Summer Camp

Join Us for Eco-Discovery Camp!

New themes and learning topics for 2020. Week to week registration available.

Check out our new video to get a sense of what Eco-Discovery Camp is all about!

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, Maggie Cozens, at or (203) 546-7789 to find out more.

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

Take advantage of our $25/week discount for Family Level members and above.

Pricing & Details:

Registration for each weekly session is $275 for non-members and $250 for Family Level and higher members. Camp hours are 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM daily. Optional camp t-shirts are available to purchase for $12 at the bottom of the page or in person, at Great Hollow. Cancellations 14 or more days in advance of the start of a weekly session can be made without penalty. For all other cancellations, a 25% fee will be deducted from the refund.

Registration for the 2020 camp season will open on February 25th for Family Level or higher members and on March 5th for all others.

Within a few days of registering, you will receive a confirmation email with additional information and forms to complete.

To be added to the waiting list for any sessions that are full, please email the Camp Director, Maggie Cozens, at .

 

2020 Dates Session
Age Group
 
June 22-26 Buggin’ Out! Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay
June 29-Jul 3
Aquanaut Adventures Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay
July 6-10 What’s the Buzz? Eco-Explorers (9-12)  Register and pay
July 13-17 Fearless Field Expeditions Eco-Explorers (9-12)  Register and pay
July 20-24 Blast from the Past Knee-High Naturalists (5-8)  Register and pay
July 27-31
Get Lost! Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay
Aug 3-7 GREEN Team Eco-Explorers (9-12)  Register and pay
Aug 10-14 Survive in the Wild Eco-Explorers  (9-12) Register and pay
Aug 17-21 Full STEAM Ahead Knee-High Naturalists (5-8) Register and pay

 

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

Buggin’ Out: June 22-26

Did you know that some wasps mummify spiders to feed their young? Or that praying mantises sometimes battle bats? Let’s kick off the summer with a week-long exploration of the bizarre world of bugs! We’ll dissect wasp nests, search for rare insects, and explore the importance of pollinators like bees and butterflies in our very own pollinator garden.

Topics covered: invertebrates; insects; food webs; energy transfer through ecosystems; keystone species; pollination; predator and prey relationships; adaptations; bee conservation; scientific inquiry; symbiotic relationships; parasitic relationships; mutualism; biological controls; gardening; native plants.

 

Aquanaut Adventures: June 29 – July 5

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; water pollution; aquatic macroinvertebrates as biological indicators; natural history of crayfish; water cycle; watersheds; properties of mud; best management practices.

 

Blast from the Past: July 20-25

Become time travelers for the week! Hop in our time machine and learn about dinosaurs, volcanoes, and glaciers that once covered the North American landscape. Every day of the week will take us further back in time as we move through the geologic eras. We’ll dig for fossils, simulate volcanic eruptions, crack open geodes, and search for the many dinosaurs that once called Connecticut home (and their descendants!).

Topics covered: geology; ecosystems; climate change; paleontology; geologic eras; extinction; adaptations; evolution; glaciation; earthquakes; plate tectonics and continental drift; prehistoric New England; lithology; natural history.

 

Get Lost!: July 27 – 31

Do you have what it takes to make your way through the woods? This week, we’ll learn how to use a map-and-compass, how to make shelter, and other basic survival skills! At the end of the week, we’ll test out our skills with a collaborative survival challenge.

Topics covered: navigation; topography; map-reading; survival; engineering; orienteering; team-building and interpersonal communication; health and fitness; celestial navigation; anthropology; foraging; resource management.

 

Full STEAM Ahead: August 3 – 7

Calling all artists and scientists! Spend the week completing increasingly complex STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) challenges related to the natural world. We’ll tackle a wide range of hands-on interdisciplinary topics: from build-a-boat engineering projects and wildlife observation to natural ceramics and basket weaving. There’s something for everyone!  And of course, between projects there will also be plenty of time to frolic in our brook and on our trails!

Topics covered: science; technology; engineering; art; math; natural crafts; design; simple machines; physics; direct and indirect observation; scientific inquiry; biomimicry.

 

 

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

What’s the buzz?: July 6-10

Get your hands dirty and get growin’ in our week about pollinators and gardening! Learn about the importance of natural pollinators like bees and butterflies, the value of locally sourced foods, and how to properly garden and harvest plants. We’ll work in Great Hollow’s pollinator garden, discuss the health benefits of different plants, and put together our own culinary creations throughout the week!

Topics covered: pollinators; symbiotic relationships; pollinator conservation; gardening; composting; local foods; bio controls; plant identification; native vs. invasive species; best management practices; water conservation; local foods; health and nutrition; culinary arts; agriculture; resource management; sustainability.

 

Fearless Field Expeditions: July 13-17

What do scientists do? During this week of camp, YOU’LL be the scientist and find out! We’ll design our own research projects and head out into a variety of different ecosystems to observe wildlife, collect data, and answer our very own research questions. Get ready to get dirty – field work is no walk in the park! We’ll investigate soil and mud, explore Great Hollow’s creeks, track wildlife through the woods, and more.

Topics covered: scientific method; field investigations; research questions; scientific inquiry; wildlife conservation; water pollution; water quality; watershed health; best management practices; soil science; plant identification; sampling techniques; environmental surveying; dendrology; forest ecology; how to use scientific equipment; research design; citizen science.

 

GREEN Team: August 6-10

Let’s go green! Can you rise to the sustainability challenge? Over the course of this week, we’ll work together to discover the importance of healthy ecosystems, experiment with different types of renewable energy, and design a sustainability project that can be used in our community. Every day will consist of a different sustainability competition; like upcycling trash, surveying the critters in our wetlands, creating rainwater gauges and more. Join us in keeping our natural world clean for both animals, plants, and people!

Topics covered: sustainability; composting; recycling; environmental awareness; environmental footprint; environmental justice; extinction; art; engineering; renewable energy; solar energy; wind energy; fossil fuels; climate change; phenology; science communication; local to global; service learning.

 

Survive the Wild: August 13-17

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 and Survive 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.

 

 

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