BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Kids searched through the plants on Clarkston Family Farm looking for the perfect materials to build a shelter last Thursday.
Each day at Camp Wild they learned about a different theme and Thursday was about forests.
“They are learning about shelter building, survival skills, tracking, what animals live in the forest,” explained Program Director Chelsea O’Brien.
They discussed how every animal needs water, food, shelter and space before discussing shelters and making their own wigwam. They took into consideration materials they would need, how big to make it and where to place the door.
The Eagle Scouts also stopped by during the day with a survival skills station for the campers.
The kids participated in activities at individual stations to learn about the theme/ecosystem for the day.
Monday was all about the wetlands and they explored the pond and did some water testing.
“We got to look at the macro and micro invertebrates and organize those to see what the quality of our water is,” O’Brien said. “They were able to use scientific metrics to establish we have really excellent water quality out here in the pond. It was medium to high quality, and the kids were able to assess that based on how many different indicators of species they found in the water. You count how many of those you find in the water and that helps determine water quality. It was super fun.”
The theme for Tuesday was “What’s Under Our Feet” and the kids learned about composting, what makes for good soil and talked about geology.
“Kids love rocks and we did fun things with organizing sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rock,” O’Brien added. “We do this in a way that’s fun – sneaky science. We also had a river clay craft. They got to create a little worm out of river clay.”
Wednesday was all about the meadows and had two special guests visit. Dana Campbell, a local beekeeper, talked to them about honey bees. The kids also were able to do a honey tasting and tasted the difference between spring honey, summer honey and winter honey.
The second guest was Debbie Jackson who taught them about monarch butterflies. Each camper received their own monarch butterfly caterpillar.
“They were so excited,” said O’Brien. “They are all named.”
On the last day, campers headed to Bittersweet Farm to help owners Bob McGowen and his wife, Barbara Hamilton for Friday’s theme “Getting Our Thumbscreen”, in which they learned about farming, agriculture and how to do it sustainably.
“We help them with whatever they need – planting, harvesting and weeding,” O’Brien said. “Bittersweet Farm is committed to sharing their food with kids and families who don’t have enough to eat. We wanted to be part of giving back to our community. The kids just love the trip over and back.”
O’Brien added one of the delights of Camp Wild was doing it on the Clarkston Family Farm and being able to spread out over the land.
“We really have an exploration in nature,” she said. “It’s six acres and it’s our farm. I have the infrastructure created to make camp just that much more awesome.”
Camp Wild is offered through Clarkston Community Education for three sessions this summer for children ages 5- to 12-years-old.
For more information about the Clarkston Family Farm, programs offered or upcoming events, please visit www.clarkstonfamilyfarm.com.