An Adventure in Ecology
Exploration Ages 8-12
Eco-Zone Day Camp is an adventure in nature! The Eco-Zone Day
Camp is based in the botanically unique Nettie Marie Jones Nature
Preserve. The Nature Preserve has woodland and swamp trails,
fields, wildflower meadows, brooks and a classroom building
all adjacent to 75 acre Lake Eisenhower. Each week in the
summer about 40-50 children ages 8 to 12 are divided into 4-5 groups,
each supervised by a trained counselor and junior counselor
to learn about ecology and go on an overnight camp-out.
Each week has a theme that will be woven into the basic
Eco-Zone activities. Click
Here for more
information on each theme.
Week 1: Aquatic Adventures
Week 2: America the Beautiful
Week 3: A Bug's Life
Week 4: Going Green
Week 5: Forest Frenzy
Week 6: Where the Wild Things Are
Week 7: Tadpoles, Crayfish and Turtles, Oh My!
Week 8: Habitat Detectives
The day begins at 9:00 AM with crafts and interactive songs
and games. The morning field session lasts from about 9:30
until 11:15 AM. During this session the campers are in their
smaller groups (about 10 campers). It is during the morning and
afternoon field sessions that the children learn about natural
history. All campers will take nature hikes to learn about
the forests, fields, meadows and wildlife. A session will
be spent studying wetland ecosystems—campers use nets
to catch aquatic insects, amphibians and crustaceans. Emphasis
is placed on discovery, observation and respect of nature.
Lunch begins at approximately 12:15 PM with hand washing. Campers
sit at their picnic table with counselors and junior counselors.
After lunch, and a reapplication of sunscreen if needed, campers have
a supervised free-play with balls, jump ropes and hula-hoops
in the field by the classroom. There is usually an organized
game (kickball, soccer, etc.) and a quieter game or craft in
the shade of a sun-shelter.
On Monday, before swim time, there is a period of canoe instruction.
Basic canoe safety procedures and paddling techniques are covered.
The children canoe with their groups on two days (about 30-40
minutes) during the week. A lifeguard, counselors and junior
counselors supervise canoe time.
Each day, weather permitting, there is a period of swim time.
The campers gather their swim items (suit, towel, change of
clothes, water-bottle) from the classroom building and head
for the beach. On the first day, the lifeguards review the rules
and each child finds a swimming “buddy”. Campers
who wish to swim in the deep end are given a swim test by the
lifeguards. This swim test 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. Usually swim times lasts about 45 minutes.
Two lifeguards and the counselors supervise swim time.
The afternoon field session begins after returning to the Nature
Preserve Classroom and putting away swim items. Again, the campers
are in their small groups. This session lasts from about 2:00
until about 3:20 PM. Activities may include: Native American
History, folklore, changes in the land, survival, maps, team
challenges and sensory awareness. Wednesday is the much loved
stream hike to get an up close (and fun!) perspective of these
On Thursday night there is an optional campout for all Eco-Zone
campers. Campers can let their counselor know by Wednesday afternoon
whether or not they plan to stay overnight. The Alton Jones
Campus reserves the right to cancel the campout if severe
weather is predicted. Tents for the campout
are set up immediately outside the Nature Preserve Classroom
where campers have access to bathrooms. We provide: tents, dinner,
evening snack and breakfast. Activities on the overnight include:
a tent demonstration and set-up, a cookout, games, a campfire
on the beach, a night hike, bedtime stories and an optional
early morning hike.
Friday morning the campsite is taken down and after breakfast
there is a morning lesson lunch and swim. Each day at 3:10 there is an all group closing activity
before sign-out and bus pick-up. Friday afternoon at around
2:45 PM, shortly before sign-out,
is the Family Program. Campers present songs and skits to close
out the week. This is their opportunity to give their families
a glimpse of what they did and perhaps what they learned during