Kids learn, have fun at Camp Long’s NatureQuest Summer Day Camp

Award-winning author Richard Louv coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” for children who are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of negative physical, mental and emotional consequences.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Camp Long NatureQuest Summer Day Camp in West Seattle has just the “cure” for this disturbing trend: fun and educational day camp in the great outdoors.

Beginning Monday, June 30, 2014, summer day camp program hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at different park locations in West Seattle, depending on the week. See the schedule below. Fees are $215 per week (sibling discount $10) unless otherwise noted. Register by calling 206-684-7434

Week 1 (6/30-7/3):  Watershed Wonders (Camp Long) ($175; sibling discount $8 pro-rated 4 day week)
Wonder what’s a watershed? Come discover the Longfellow Creek Watershed and follow the creek through magical places like the Salmon Bone Bridge and the Dragonfly Pavilion. Learn how land and water shape each other, observe creek wildlife and build a watershed model. We’ll also hold a Science Council to make decisions about an imaginary watershed, while exploring the many ways humans affect our watersheds.

Week 2 (7/7-7/11):  Journey through the Intertidal Zone (Mee Kwa Mooks Park)
Search for life between the tides and discover how plants and animals have adapted to such changing conditions. Set up a beach science station where you can examine animals in their unique habitat. Learn how sea stars move, how clams and barnacles eat, and much more about the critters you find above and below the rocks, sand and water.

Week 3 (7/14-7/18):  Urban Wildlife Jungle (Camp Long)
It is a jungle out there and worth investigating! Seattle is one of the Top 10 Cities for Urban Forests. Become a scientist and explore this urban wilderness in the Camp Long woods. Unearth the forest’s secrets and learn how hawks, owls, coyotes, fox and a multitude of songbirds live here. In every layer you’ll find clues. Identify native plant species that have grown here for centuries and investigate the role forests have in human survival.  Learn how you can be involved in forest protection.

Week 4 (7/21-7/25):  Schmitz Park Wildlife Jungle (Schmitz Park)
What makes Schmitz forest special are some very old trees still standing. Wander through this native ecosystem and gather clues as to how everything is connected. Explore huge old tree stumps and see evidence of logging from years ago.

Week 5 (7/28-8/1):  History Happenings (Schmitz Park)
The natural and human history of Seattle is rich and diverse. From glaciers to Native Americans to European settlers, this area has a lot to tell.  How did Puget Sound form?  Where and how did Northwest Coast Indians live?  And what major changes have occurred through the centuries? Take a treasure hunt around West Seattle to find your answers to these questions and more.

Week 6 (8/4-8/8):  Winged Wonders (Lincoln Park)
Birds live in every habitat – forest, desert, fresh and salt water, icy, tropical – you name it, they are everywhere. Get to know the avian life all around us and gain skill at observing and identifying the numerous birds of Seattle. Learn using sight and sound, as well as watching behavior, how these adaptive creatures have survived and ways that we can support them. Binoculars are provided. 

Week 7 (8/11-8/15):  Watershed Wonders (Longfellow Creek South)
Learn the ways of a watershed as described above, but explore a different section of Longfellow Creek. Journey through restored areas of the creek and discover the wildlife that has also altered it. See beaver dams and study beaver ways to appreciate their unique impact on land and water.

Week 8 (8/18-8/22):  Survivor Week (Camp Long)
Could you survive a night in the forest? Create a shelter, build a safe fire and cook outdoors? Do all that and more in learning the art of nature survival. Gain skills at identifying edible plants and berries and which plants to avoid. Build confidence and ability to become most secure in a forest setting.