Here at Berks Nature, we believe nature is essential to our quality of life. Our annual summer Eco-Camp is the perfect way to pass that value down to your child/children. We’re excited to welcome campers back this summer for another season of exploration, learning, fun and nature-play at The Nature Place at Angelica Park!
Stay tuned…. 2019 Eco-Camp registration to open in January!
We’ll post all of the details here, and send out an eblast to our mailing list when registration is live. Register to receive Berks Nature’s latest news by clicking the icon on our homepage!
Berks Nature’s Eco-Camp is led by a team of veteran teachers, supported by members of our staff. Click here to get to know the camp leaders your child will be working with, and then meet the Berks Nature staff.
With more than 25-years of middle school science teaching experience under his belt, Mr. Dave (Dave Renninger) has served as a camp co-director for the past three years. Joining him again is Miss Anne (Anne Muvdi), director of Nature Preschool at The Nature Place. An elementary teacher for several years, Anne has a masters degree in education and her Administrative Degree. Together, Dave and Anne will coordinate the camp curriculum and schedules, as well as facilitate and lead our campers’ learning.
Each week, the following age groups will be offered:
Preschool: Ages 3 (potty-trained) and up
This group will have their own preschool director and instructors, separate from the older campers.
Grades K-4th, and 5th-8th
Kindergarten through 4th grade will form the second camp group, followed by grades 5-8.
Our new 2019 camp dates and themes will be posted in late December. Until then, take a look back at Summer 2018, for an idea of what to expect!
Eco-Camp 2018 Themes and Full-Day Fees
Prices listed are per camper, per week, and reflect the extension activities planned for campers in grades 3-8 that week. Don’t want to send your child for a full day of camp? We offer half-day, morning Eco-Camp at a rate of $110/week per child. Before and after care available at $25/each, a.m. and p.m., per week.
Week 1 – Getting To Know Our Angelica Wetlands
$210/per Camper, Preschool-2nd Grade
We’ll learn about the nature in and around The Nature Place, wetlands and surrounding areas with hands-on activities and hikes.
Preschool: Campers will spend the majority of this week exploring the wetlands, becoming acclimated with nature and breaking down any barriers or fears they may have about exploring in the great outdoors. Campers will participate in hands-on activities, including bug collecting, fishing with nets, and creating art with materials found in nature.
Grades K- 4 and 5-8: Campers will participate in nature hikes through the wetland, identifying its inhabitants, and in surrounding areas. Campers will collect different samples of insects and plants to bring back and observe, along with microscopic organisms to view under our new microscopes, projected on a TV for all to see.
3rd-8th Grade Excursion: The older campers will take a trip to the Union Canal, where we’ll learn the history of the canal and discuss ways that the Tulpehocken Creek is similar and related to the Angelica Creek, where we have camp.
Week 2 – Water and Soil Everywhere
Campers will learn the properties of soil, and how it provides life, cover, shelter and food. We’ll learn about water and how it’s used for drinking, playing and living, in addition to exploring different water sources and how they define a watershed. Be ready to play water games and get wet!
Preschool: Campers will learn about how humans use water, by creating a collage out of photographs from magazines. We’ll investigate how animals use water by creating and observing a bird bath- and how plants use water, by creating color-changing flowers.
K-4: Campers will dig in the soil to learn about what lives underneath the ground, identifying the different levels of soil and what is in each level as we dig deeper in and around the wetlands. Additionally, campers will learn what a watershed is and the watershed we live in, as well as how water is used for drinking, playing and living.
5-8: In addition to the above activities, campers will create a soil profile of the area and discuss why each layer is important. We’ll learn about the different water sources and how they define a watershed, with campers creating a floor model of the watershed that we live in and the different places that are in the area.
*All age groups will play lots of water games and get wet, wet, wet!
3rd-8th Grade Excursion: The older campers will take a trip to Nolde Forest to trace the water source and observe nature in the forest.
Week 3 – Fur, Scales, Wings and Bats
(June 25th- 29th)
We’ll explore the stream, garden and wetlands to learn about the critters that call Angelica Park home. We’ll learn about bats and how important they are to us, and build bat boxes to place in the wetlands.
Preschool: Campers will learn about bats while singing songs, creating art and exploring what it would be like to be a bat outside. We’ll learn about how the critters we found in the stream, garden and wetlands are different from bats.
Grades K-4 and 5-8: We’ll go into the stream to find the variety of organisms that live there. Campers will collect samples and bring them back to our interactive classroom, where they’ll study some of the organisms under the microscope. Additionally, campers will learn about bats and why they are so important to us.
*In addition to daily camp, we will be inviting all campers and their families Tuesday and Thursday evenings (6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) to learn and hopefully observe bats at Angelica. Snacks and refreshments will be served. Karen Campbell, an expert on bats from Albright College, will be visiting us this week to teach us more about bats.
Week 4- Cycle-Mania!
Our most popular week! This week will focus on biking, bike safety, trail building and observational skills while riding in nature. In partnership with BAMBA (Berks Area Mountain Biking Association), campers will have a session on bike safety and care. Campers will participate in bike rodeos and short bike hikes in and around Angelica Park.
Preschool: We’ll participate in bike rodeos and bike hikes using a scooter or tricycle, all the while, learning about safety and participating in such games as: wear the helmet, traffic light, and bike wash day. We’ll also enjoy a bike art activity.
Grades K-4 and 5-8: Campers will participate in rodeos and bike hikes that are geared to their biking ability, in addition to learning about bike safety and practicing their learned skills by riding in the park. Campers in grades 5-8 will take long bike rides through the trails in and around The Nature Place, as well as learn how to take care of their bike and the different parts that make up their bike.
Week 5 – In the Life of a Raptor
(July 16th- 20th)
Our popular Raptor camp week returns, in partnership with Red Creek Wildlife Center! Preschool and K-4: Campers will study live raptors in person, learn raptor study techniques, participate in migration games and activities, learn binocular use, practice bird ID and take guided bird walks through Angelica Park.
5-8: In addition to the above activities, older campers will learn what makes up a trail, and the meaning behind different trail markings.
3rd-8th Grade Excursion: On Wednesday of this week, the older campers will take a hike on the Hawk Mountain trails, as well as the Appalachian Trail. In the event of rain, this extension will be held on Friday.
Week 6 – Wetlands Through the Eyes of a Camera Lens
(July 23rd- 27th)
Each day, campers will take a hike through various areas of Angelica and capture the wetlands and the surrounding areas on a camera, learning about nature and looking at who calls the wetlands home.
Preschool: Campers will learn how to use and take care of a camera. We’ll work on being creative and enjoying the process of taking photos, rather than worrying about how to take “good” photos. We’ll walk the wetlands taking photos of all of the living things, with the assistance of camp counselors. Campers will then create their very own photo album telling the story of their week at camp.
Grades K-4 and 5-8: Campers will take photos through various areas of the wetlands, capturing the countless plants, animals, and insects that call Angelica home. They’ll then select their best photographs of the week to place in a photo gallery in the lobby of The Nature Place. Campers in grades 5-8 will learn how to download their photographs on a computer and work with them to make the perfect picture to frame. Older campers will also learn how to create a video, applying what they learned by creating a video of camp week.
Week 7 – Digging for Critters
(July 30th- Aug 3rd)
We’ll be on the hunt for critters of all kinds, underground and camouflaged. Be prepared to take hikes and dig in the soil and water, as we learn who’s hiding in the woods, trees, fields, and stream.
Preschool: Campers will learn what it means to camouflage by playing games, creating art projects and participating in hands-on activities reinforcing the definition of camouflage. We’ll put our newfound knowledge to use by exploring who is hiding in the woods, trees, fields and stream.
Grades K-4 and 5-8: Campers will practice being ESI— Environmental Science Investigators this week! Older campers will explore ways humans can camouflage themselves in the woods for safety. We’ll take things we find on our hunt back to the classroom at The Nature Place, where we’ll observe them in depth under the microscope.
Week 8 – Wild Things
(August 6th- 10th)
Our campers will learn about how to successfully survive in the forest. Archery instruction will take place, with kid-friendly equipment provided by a trained environmental educator. We’ll learn more about survival skills in the wilderness, with activities planned accordingly to fit these survival skills.
Preschool: Campers will learn about how to protect themselves outdoors, and participate in games such as Gear Up!, And Safety Rescue. They’ll be introduced to Archery by manipulating and learning how to use small, kid-friendly bow and arrows.
K-4: Campers will learn about what it takes to successfully survive in the forest, and participate in kid-friendly archery instruction with a trained environmental educator.
5-8: Older campers will learn how to survive in the wilderness by learning about proper first aid, and also how to build shelters in the woods. We’ll learn how to shoot a real bow and arrow by a trained archery member, with campers given supplies and asked to form teams, before going out to explore the woods. As they hike, they will be given scenarios that will make them work as a team to solve the issue to survive.
3rd-8th Grade Excursion: The older campers will take a trip to French Creek State Park and Hopewell Village to learn more about orienteering, while learning about first aid and survival in the woods.
Week 9 – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
(August 13th- 17th)
Learn about the 3 “R” importance, and how it impacts our wetlands and surrounding areas. Campers will learn how to use natural materials in the wetlands, such as common plants, soil and other items to make everything from food recipes to drinks and art projects. Learn how the Nature Place Reduces, Reuses and Recycles!
Preschool-8: Campers will participate in boat races down Angelica Creek and an egg drop, while learning how to use the three R’s. We’ll learn about the natural foods and materials in the wetlands that can be used in crafting or to eat. Note: *Campers will not be eating the natural selections in the wetlands. Finally, we’ll make natural crafts to take home using the materials that we find in the wetlands.
3rd-8th Grade and K-4th Grade Excursion: The older campers will go to the Ken Grill Pool to enjoy a relaxing afternoon celebrating the summer.
Berks Nature Eco-Camp is held at The Nature Place, located at 575 St. Bernardine Street, Reading, PA 19607- in beautiful Angelica Creek Park.
Preschool- 8th grade.
Full-day Eco-Camp begins at 9am and runs until 4pm. If you choose our half-day option, you can expect to drop your camper off at 9 and pick them up at noon.
Snacks & Meals
Campers should bring their own lunch. Some snacks are provided.
A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available, based on need and available funding. Financial information and documentation is required for consideration. Click here to download our 2018 Eco-Camp Scholarship Application.
Morning & Afternoon Extended Care
Available to all campers for $25 each/per week.
Morning Extended Care: Monday – Friday, Drop-off: 7:30-8:45am
Afternoon Extended Care: Monday – Friday, Pick-up: 4:15 pm – 5:3 pm
Pre-registration and payment are required for before and aftercare.
For more information, contact Berks Nature at 610-372-4992 x100.