Summer may seem far away, but the staff at Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA) is already gearing up for a season full of nature day camps offering outdoor learning and explorations for children aged three through 16 – plus a special program for high school students.
Registration is now open for RHA’s 17 one-week camps from late June to mid-August. Most will be held at the Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve in Bedminster. One will be held at the historic Dvoor Farm in Flemington, headquarters of the Hunterdon Land Trust.
“We’re very excited to once again offer day camps that foster children’s love of nature and teach them about local plants, animals, and ecology,” said Lauren Theis, RHA’s education director. “Our camps are tech-free, so campers and counselors are fully present and interacting. We let kids be kids, exploring their surroundings and growing their connections to the natural world.”
The camp schedule includes two specialized art camps for older children, and two one-week sessions of “Watershed University,” a program geared toward high school students considering environmental sciences or related studies in college.
Fairview Farm, a 170-acre former dairy farm located at 2121 Larger Cross Road in Bedminster, includes trails, forests, meadows, streams, gardens, historic barns, and indoor education rooms.
All camps follow CDC guidelines for Covid-19 safety precautions, and group size is limited. “The camps are outside, in the fresh air,” said Theis. “We’ve kept our camps Covid-free for two years, so we feel we’re doing something right.”
Here are the 2022 camps:
“Honey Bees” programs for children ages 3-4 will be held from 9 a.m. to noon during the weeks of June 27-July 1, July 25-29, Aug. 1-5 and August 15-19 at Fairview Farm. Children will enjoy nature games, stories, and crafts. Each week will feature different activities and adventures, so parents can sign their children up for multiple weeks.
“Red Squirrels” programs for children ages 5-6 will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the weeks of July 6-8 (half week), July 11-15, July 18-22, and August 8-12 at Fairview Farm. Discover the exciting mysteries of nature: Who lives where? Who eats what? What’s hidden high and low? Campers will learn the secrets of the woods, fields, and streams through adventures, stories, and games. Wild-crafts and scavenger hunts open up even more explorations! Different activities and adventures are planned for each week, so campers can attend multiple weeks.
“Tree Frogs” programs for children ages 7-10 will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the weeks of July 6-8 (half week), July 11-15, July 18-22, and August 8-12 at Fairview Farm. Learn about the birds and animals living in the woods and fields of Fairview Farm, and investigate the creatures living in the pond. Activities include hikes, games, craft projects, storytelling and more. Different activities and adventures are planned for each week, so campers can attend multiple weeks.
Nature Day Camp in Flemington is for children ages 6-10 and will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the week of Aug. 8-12. Children will explore the trails of the Dvoor Farm and the beautiful Walnut Brook, learning about local history and discovering the wonders of nature together. Each day will include exploration, STEM challenges and creative projects.
Drawing in Nature Camp for children ages 11-16 will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week of July 25-29. Using the flora and fauna of Fairview Farm as inspiration, campers in this session will hone their creative skills using various media including pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, watercolor, batik and more. Each day includes warm up, exploring, new techniques and plenty of space and time for campers to get their creative minds flowing! Most materials will be provided.
Nature Journaling and Photography Camp for children ages 11-16 will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the week of Aug. 1-5 at Fairview Farm. Campers will make their own nature journals, and hone their skills of observation and creativity through the arts and photography. Explorations, games and plenty of creative time will make this week fun for all.
Watershed University for students entering grades 9-12 will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the weeks of June 27-July 1 and Aug. 15-19. This week-long certificate program is built for students wishing to gain insights in the environmental field, make impactful change, and serve their communities. Each day includes a speaker, hands-on scientific exploration, and team building, making for an experience designed to inspire and empower. For detailed information, go to www.raritanheadwaters.org/watershedu/.
Camp enrollment is limited, and registration is on a first come, first served basis. Register or learn more about the camps. For more information or to learn about scholarships and before and after care, contact Lauren Theis at email@example.com or 908-234-1852, ext. 314.