W. Alton Jones Campus

Frequently Asked Questions
From Parents

What is the W. Alton Jones Campus?

The University of Rhode Island’s unique 2,300-acre campus is devoted to preservation, research, educational conferences, and year-round environmental education. Over 40,000 acres of state parks and forests adjoin the Campus, making this one of the largest preserved regions in southern New England. Special features of the campus include Lake Eisenhower, the historical Woodvale Farm, a 1,000-acre Environmental Research Area, and the botanically unique Nettie Marie Jones Nature Preserve.

What is URI’s Environmental Education Center?  

Located on W. Alton Jones Campus, the Center serves as a year-round outdoor school for more than 10,000 students each year providing experiences with nature as the subject, classroom, and teacher. We strive to help children develop a familiarity with our natural surroundings and an active concern for the quality of the environment.

How do I get to Alton Jones?

Take route 95 to exit 5B in Rhode Island. Continue on route 102 North for 2.5 miles. Take a left onto Browns Corner Road. Follow Browns Corner Road for 0.6 miles and you’ll see a large sign on the left for W. Alton Jones Campus. Continue straight onto Francis Horn Drive and after 0.9 miles you will reach a T-intersection. At the T-intersection take a left onto Wheatley Road towards the Environmental Education Center (EEC). Follow Wheatley Road into the camp parking lot.

GPS Address: 
9 Wheatley Road 
West Greenwich, RI 02817.  
This will get you to the Environmental Education Center Main Lodge. 
NOTE: This is NOT our mailing address

What happens at Camp? 

Alton Jones Camp offers children and teens an opportunity to learn about the environment and each other in a safe and beautiful setting. Your child will be involved in their chosen theme in addition to a variety of camp activities such as swimming, canoeing, campfires, story-telling, songs, arts and crafts, and games.

How are group assignments made?  

You will find out your cabin assignment at check-in. Friends and siblings of the same sex and similar age may request to bunk together. Campers are assigned to small co-ed learning groups by age and theme within which they spend most of their daytime hours. Many evening programs involve campers in large group all-camp activities. Upon request, every effort is made to include one similarly aged friend in the same field group. To preserve the experience for others, groups of more than 3 friends are sometimes separated. If your child is coming with a friend or sibling and you have not yet made a cabin or field group request please call the office as it can be difficult to switch children around at check-in.

Who conducts the program?

Counselors, chosen for their ability, enthusiasm, and dedication to children and the environment, lead the Alton Jones Camp program. They receive on-site training and are sensitive to the needs and interests of children. The staff is composed of college graduates and undergraduates from throughout the United States and high school age Junior Counselors who help with the younger camp programs. All staff are excited about being at camp and exploring nature with children.

What are the accommodations like? 

Our kitchen is staffed with professionals from URI Dining Services including our head cooks, who have been serving children at the Environmental Education Center for 20 years. The knotty pine dining lodge with fieldstone fireplaces, hardwood floors, and five meeting rooms provide a rustic, comfortable learning environment. Six year-round cabins have bunk-beds, showers, and lavatory facilities. Each of these cabins sleeps 16, plus a counselor and junior counselors. When not on expeditions teens stay in screen house cabins at the Poor Farm Base Camp which has a central bathhouse.

How are severe discipline issues handled?

Alton Jones Camp offers active and positive learning experiences in a well-supervised atmosphere, but if a camper’s behavior is unmanageable, is adversely affecting others, or if a child is engaging in activities that are potentially harmful to themselves or others, we will regretfully send the child home. No refunds will be given.

What if medical help is needed?

During camp there will be a Registered Nurse on site part-time every day and on-call 24 hours each day. Our nurse has been caring for campers and students at the Environmental Education Center for over 15 years. An EMT will be on site and available to campers 24 hours each day.  Kent County Hospital, in Warwick and Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence serve the Center. All Alton Jones Camp Counselors are trained in CPR and First Aid. Parents will be called if their child becomes sick to his/her stomach, gets an imbedded tick, runs a fever, or becomes ill or injured in any way that may require more than just basic treatment.

Is the camp accredited?

The W. Alton Jones Camp is accredited by the American Camping Association, which requires us to uphold strict safety rules, regulations, and guidelines. All counselors are required to have first aid and CPR certifications and there is always a member of the medical staff available to handle special situations. We also adhere to the Principles of Operation set forth by the Rhode Island Association of Camps.

Can my child receive mail while at camp? 

Yes! You can send your camper mail during camp, ahead of time, or drop it off at check-in and the staff can distribute it throughout the week. The mailing address is:

Camper’s Name
Session Number and Program or Cabin (if known)
W. Alton Jones Campus
401 Victory Highway
West Greenwich, RI  02817-2158

Allow plenty of time for delivery.  Keep in mind that it may take 2 or more days for letters to reach your camper, even when mailed from nearby. So mail early, even before camp begins! 

Please refrain from sending food, candy, or electronic devices to your camper. These types of items will be confiscated if found. While they might be fun they can be distracting and cause problems. You may also email your camper a brief message (no photos or attachments) at altonjones@uri.edu. These emails are printed out by the office staff and given to campers at their next cabin time.  We do not have the ability to allow campers to send return emails. The best communications are upbeat and supportive (please refer to Thoughts on Homesickness and Summer Camp Prep Tips).  

What will happen at Check-In? 

Plan to spend about an hour for check-in and move-in. The majority of people check in during the first half-hour. If you would like to avoid the lines and you don’t mind a bottom bunk, come between 2:30 and 3:00pm. When you arrive you will check in and receive your cabin assignment.  Then you and your camper must visit the medical personnel. Have all medications and medical forms ready. If your camper has developed any communicable diseases, skin rashes, a fever, serious cuts or bruises, or sustains an injury please call during business hours the week before camp or you may be turned away at check-in. You may reach us during business hours at the numbers listed below.

Can I phone my camper?

Calls to and from parents tend to make homesickness much worse or stimulate it in children who aren’t experiencing it (please refer to Thoughts on Homesickness). You may call at any time to speak with the camp coordinator about how your son or daughter is doing. The coordinator may have to call you back after checking on them, but they will give you an honest appraisal of how they are getting along. If your child has persistent homesickness a call will be placed to you to let you know and seek advice. If you receive a letter from your child indicating that they are having difficulty, please call us so that we can address the issue and take steps to correct it.  The following numbers are available; feel free to call at any time:

Main Office: Monday to Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm 
(401) 874-8200

Camp Office Hours During Camp: Sun-Thurs, 8:00am-9:00pm, Friday 8:00am-3:00pm (People are in and out of the camp office so you may have to leave a message and/or call back.)
(401) 874-8145

URI Police, 24 hour emergency
(401) 874-2121

How often will my child shower?

Cabin counselors will have campers sign up for daily shower times at check-in and the schedule will be adhered to throughout the week. However, campers will not be forced to shower. To encourage showering among those who are self-conscious, campers may shower in their bathing suit.   

What is the swim check? 

On Sunday or Monday the lifeguards review the rules and each camper finds a swimming “buddy”. Campers who wish to swim without a life jacket in the deep end are given a swim check. The check consists of swimming one length of the swim area (about 75 feet) using a forward stroke, swimming a second length using any stroke (except dog paddle) and one minute treading water. At the end of the swim check every camper is designated as a “deep end swimmer” or a “shallow end swimmer.” Group swim times last about an hour.

Is it possible that my child will get a tick? 

Frequent tick checks, groomed trails, and staff diligence greatly reduce the chances of a tick biting your child. You may also encourage the use of insect repellent.  If your child does have an imbedded tick we will remove it and call you to let you know. At that time you may wish to consult with your family physician for further instructions.  Check out additional information on Ticks and Your Child.

Also check out Frequently Asked Questions from Campers!