2017 Summer Camp Blog

2017 Summer Camp – Montrose/Fairhope, Alabama


We had the best time at Summer Camp! Check out the blog below and see more photos from camp by clicking here.

Monday – Montrose

Sensory Awareness Games – practiced listening with “deer ears” and sneaking with “fox feet”

Leaf Scavenger Hunt – find two different kinds of leaves with your partner and bring to the circle

Opening Circle – Welcome, Story about Place, Leaf ID and discussion, Share your name and favorite animal, agreements

Play Game – Fishtails

Snack then Wander/Explore the Beach

Found the clay wall, collected clay to make art

Found artesian well, discussion about that

Animal Tracking – Bobcat or Fox?

Collected little crabs and made pools for them in the rocks

Swam in the Bay – water games


More swimming and exploring

Made art out of clay

Wander back to boardwalk

Closing circle – highlights

20170605_112806 20170605_112644 20170605_112451   20170605_135727

Tuesday – 17 Turtles Outfitters, Fairhope

Used nets to catch crabs and minnows off docks at 17 Turtles Outfitters

Opening Circle – Movement, Game, Tree-pose balance exercise, Sun Salutations, Gratitudes, Sensory Meditation

Play on the Beach – swimming, watching Great Blue Heron

Discussion about tides


Canoe orientation – split into paddling teams

Paddle down Fly Creek – practice communicating to steer together

Lunch on the creek bank

Paddle back to 17 Turtles

More play on the beach

“Otter Steals Fish” game – Sensory awareness game

Swimming, exploring

Closing Circle – Highlights


Wednesday – Montrose

Creek Exploration – Challenge to see how many critters you could find; caught tadpoles, frogs, and salamanders; saw spiders – one was actively building her web!

Experimented with redirecting flow of water with rocks and leaves

Built sand “city” complete with driftwood walls and a snack table

Made “frog” houses in the sand and decorated them with stones, pinecones, shells, and plants

Lunch and wildlife stories

Swimming, Water Games

Geology discussion

Closing Circle – Highlights, Stories


Thursday – Montrose

Opening Circle – Gratitudes, Yoga/Movement

Sensory awareness games – Practiced using our “owl eyes”, “deer ears”, and “fox feet”

Made fishing poles out of bamboo

More work on sand “city” – great team building. Worked together to divide different jobs.

Discovered and created a clay slide!

Seine Net, Cast Net – caught minnows, shrimp, and crabs!

Lunch under Magnolia trees

Observed Canada Geese and tried to get close to them

Found a dead stingray on the beach

Creek Exploration – found a new species of frog!

Closing Circle – Highlights of the day


Friday – Montrose

Opening Circle – Gratitudes, Sensory Meditation

Nature awareness games

Build a fire to fire our clay pots, practice starting fire with flint and steel, fire song

Seine Net, Cast Net – Caught minnows, shrimp, and crabs!

Worked on “Sand City”


Learned invisibility techniques and tried to find local fox kits

Sit Spot – quiet time to observe your surroundings

Creek Exploration – more salamanders and frogs

Closing Circle – Thank you and highlights of camp



Kids need access to nature for mental health

Written by Randy Shore

Children today are more likely to report symptoms of attention disorders and depression, and more likely to be medicated for those problems than at any time in human history, according author Richard Louv.

Mental health issues, childhood obesity and even online bullying appear to be exacerbated by a lack of access to nature, outdoor play and urban greenspace, said Louv, who will be a keynote speaker at the Children and Nature Network International Conference in Vancouver from April 18-21.

Thirty years ago, there was no more than a handful of studies on the restorative effects of natural environments on children.

Today, there are more than 500 and their conclusions are spectacularly well-aligned, said Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life.

It might be over-extrapolating the research to draw a causal link between nature deprivation and the deteriorating mental and physical health of our children, but the research consistently shows restorative effects when children have improved access to nature, he said.

In short, nature matters.



When Kids Connect to Nature, Benefits Abound


Article written by Sally Shuffield

During times of uncertainty, it is essential to recognize the constants that provide joy and groundedness to transcend politics.

Studies have shown that a connection between children and nature is one of the essential components to a brighter future. In fact, it has been shown that this connection may be one of the key factors in improving public health, education and economics as well as human happiness.

Many will remember the groundbreaking book by Richard Louv published in 2005, Last Child in the Woods. This book focused on what has been termed “nature-deficit disorder” and the effect it is having on children growing up today. Nature-deficit disorder was found to be a contributing factor to many problems affecting children, from obesity to attention deficit disorder to depression.

The benefits of being in nature are enormous and include increased imagination, problem-solving skills, self-confidence and the ability to focus. Another study shows that children who are in nature each day are more physically active, more aware of nutrition and are more civil to each other. And, on top of all this, children who are involved in environmental education programs increase their science testing scores by 27 percent. These attributes are certainly needed for the future of our country.

Click to

The Benefits of Nature-based Learning by Kristen Hampshire


Early childhood programs with lesson plans like ‘over the river and through the woods’ provide a valuable foundation.

A rumbling preschooler pushes against a log in the woods, rolling it over just enough to get a peek at what’s underneath. A few worms squirm across the worn bark, prompting a peal of laughter: “Look!”

The natural world is alive with spontaneity and unexpected lessons at every turn. Unlike predictable games, the surprises a young learner discovers outdoors promote problem-solving skills, scientific and mathematical exploration, language and preliteracy skills.

Curiosity. Persistence. Creativity. Risk-taking. Resilience.