Saturday March 23, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Spring Break is just around the corner for area school kids, and for many of them, that means spending time outdoors. So why not have them learn some interesting facts about nature and their personal health in the process?

Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) invites "spring breakers" grades 1-4 to their Spring Vacation Camp, which takes place during the week of April 15-19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.

As the seasons change, what plants and animals will campers stumble upon in the forests, meadows, and ponds?

"Each day is a new theme for learning and playing, and it’s all centered around children experiencing the natural world," said Meredith Naughton, program coordinator at BEEC. "Anything to spark their interest. Unstructured outdoor activity has a lot of physical importance, but because we promote playing and learning, we are able to also teach something each time, and a lot of kids come to camp excited about that."

Up to a mile of hiking is required each day in order for campers to reach their destination, which involves something new every day. Below is the schedule:

Monday, April 15: Spring Frolic. Campers make their way through the forest to discover signs that the seasons are changing: bursting buds, singing birds, incredible insects.

Tuesday, April 16: Where the Wild Ones Are. Participants travel on a quest through the woodlands of BEEC. Campers learn how to use a map and compass, then practice their skills as clues lead them on a journey to discover where the ‘wild ones’ play.

Wednesday, April 17: Vernal Pool Party. What is that creature swimming in the water? Whose eggs are those? Students will discover giant mysterious puddles that appear each spring in the forest and meet the fascinating critters who use them.

Thursday, April 18: Forest Fairies and Garden Gnomes. Children will discover the mysteries of plants -- both springtime flowers and majestic trees -- to cultivate gardens and explore the wilds of the forest.

Friday, April 19: Glorious Mud. Campers will discover creatures who love mud, then build mud sculptures themselves, and make mud paintings.

Kristina Weeks, youth educator, will lead the students, and an hour of time is spent in the classroom each day before explorers journey out onto the 60+ acres BEEC has to offer.

"Maybe it’s animal tracking one day, or finding something in the pond the next. With that, comes the energy expenditure."

The cost of the vacation camp is $35/day for members, or $150 for the week. The cost for non-members is $45/day, or $200 for the week.

Parents are asked to call 802-257-5785 or email beec@sover.net for more information on the camp.