Gulf Coast Bird Observatory’s Summer Bird Camp for 8-11 year olds has come and gone for another year. Even though it was hot and we had plenty of mosquitoes after the 3 inches of rain the day before camp started, the campers did great and were engaged with the session leaders. We did bug sweeping in our wetland and determined it is very healthy. The kiddos got to see up close birds in the hand during banding and a presentation by our local wildlife rescue organization. We played some really fun games and learned about ecosystems, habitat, migration, bird communication, played Bird Olympics and even practiced drawing birds. Each day we had a time for bird observation and identification. The group saw a total of 24 different species and everybody learned to identify the most common ones.
This camp is only possible because of the dozen or so wonderful and dedicated volunteers whose commitment to helping these kiddos become nature lovers and caring conservationists is unfaltering. They spend their time preparing lesson plans and activities to help explain and illustrate various principles about birds and birding. A few of them spent 5 hours each day at camp in the heat and mosquitoes to ensure the campers had a complete understanding of the information and also had their needs attended. This camp has a limited enrollment so that each camper gets lots of personal attention and can ask questions pretty much anytime. They also completed activities and worked at their own pace. I do not have words to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to these wonderful and caring folks.
At the graduation party last Friday afternoon I offered to let campers come up and tell about what they learned. I was impressed by what they remembered, what they liked and what they learned. Some of the activities were highly active and involved running while others required thinking and reasoning and still others required learning how to use a bird field guide. The activities were mixed in such a way that they kept the campers asking for more and wishing the week would not come to an end. So if you have a young person in your life, you will want to get next summer’s camp on their schedule now. The dates are June 9-13, 2014. Our new conservation center will be complete so we will be able to have some activities inside and maybe even have our lunch inside. Reserve a space now and wait to see their face light up as they tell you about what happened at Bird Camp today!