"The work you do with children there, in that dusty, campy, space with barn, garden, creek, pond, pickup, skilled and highly motivated staff . . . It's how children used to grow up (without staff, but necessary now that growing up has become artificial). The essence of the healthiest two-weeks a child could have."
-Bob, Grandfather of Past Owl Campers
Owl Camp is a nature-based day camp open to young people aged 6-13 (and 5-year olds who have gone through Kindergarten). Camp is located at Rancho Mark West in Northeast Santa Rosa, off St. Helena Road-- a 120-acre preserve with a pristine creek, pond, redwood forest and miles of trails all ready for exploring. Location is about 25 minutes from downtown Santa Rosa.
Owl Camp offers a rich place for children to explore the natural world, test out new ideas and experience the freedom of child-directed, open-ended learning through nature exploration and play guided in small groups by expert educators. Each summer as children work through how to build a fort, engage in a theatre production, or discover native plants and animals, they are exercising their brains in important ways—and building a memorable connection with the land in every step.
Activities include (but are in no means limited to): storytelling, tracking, creek exploration, swimming, music, keeping a nature journal, nature art, fort-building, nature games, hiking, canoeing, woodworking, cooking and organic gardening.
Owl Camp is proud to be able to offer a staff of college-educated, skilled and trained outdoor educators who are CPR and First Aid certified, and who bring many years of experience working with children in outdoor settings. There will be at least three Staff Members present at Owl Camp at all times. Staff to camper ratio is kept small, generally one staff person to 10 campers. We also have a cadre of skilled and trained volunteers who help at camp throughout the day, so really the adult to camper ratio is generally one adult to five campers. All Owl Camp staff and volunteers have been fingerprinted.
LandPaths and Owl Camp are actively committed to keeping this experience wide open to all youth, regardless of socio-economic hurdles. Since its inception in 2010, Owl Camp has proudly offered generous scholarships to nearly a third of our campers, with the goal of a camper-body that is a true reflection of all of us who live here in Sonoma County. In 2012, we began offering a van service from Roseland, to and from camp, as we realized that transportation was the main obstacle for many families. The Owl Camp Scholarship Program is made possible through the generous donations of individuals, clubs and businesses in our community.
Each scholarship recipient is asked to pay a $50 minimum. LandPaths covers the remaining tuition, as well as the van service for those most in need. Please note that transportation is not guaranteed as a part of each scholarship recipient's package.
A donation of $350 covers tuition and transportation for one young person to be able to attend one session of camp. Scholarship donations go directly to the camper and each donor recieves a personal letter of thanks from that camper.
Thank you so much for considering making a donation to the Owl Camp Scholarship Fund. Click Here to Make a Donation Online! Be sure to designate "Owl Camp" in the Program Designation field.
OWL CAMP PROGRAM SPECIFICS:
CAMPER PROGRAM (AGES 6-10--(And 5-year olds who have gone through Kinder)
Campers are grouped according to age and come together as an entire camp for big-group activities off and on throughout the day.LandPaths offers an adventure-filled, nature-based day camp experience for campers ages 5-10. All campers must have completed kindergarten.
The Owl Camp experience offers children in this age-range the structure and safety to feel comfortable exploring the outdoors in a playful, free-spirited and challenging way. Many parents comment that Owl Camp brings out the "inner explorer" in their children.
We strive to provide a wide variety of nature-based activities ranging from time hiking on the trail, to creek explorations and fort building, to nature-crafting and cooking from the garden, in the hopes that all campers will find each day full of pleasant surprises, with plenty of time to romp around in the meadows and streams, while also being challenged by new experiences.
The 120+ acres of land Rancho Mark West includes redwood forests, hiking trails, a salmon-bearing creek and a pond--more than enough diversity and open space to keep kids in this age range on the edge of their seats. Rancho Mark West is far enough from town that the wildness of the place really becomes felt.
Cost is $250-$450 sliding scale until May 1st. After May 1st, the cost is $300-$450. Any amount within that price range is considered a full payment.
Camp is held Monday thru Friday 9:00AM to 3:00PM. There will be a maximum of 35 youth (including campers in this age range, as well as Apprentices) at camp each week.
Click on your desired session below for complete registration information
APPRENTICE PROGRAM (AGES 11-13):
LandPaths is excited to be offering an "Apprentice" Program for youth between the ages of 11 and 13. (11-year-olds must have attended Owl Camp for at least one session previously as a camper.) Space in this program is limited and will not exceed six per camp session. Apprentices will be invited to one overnight at camp. The date of the overnight is subject to numbers of apprentices per week. The cost for the apprentice program is the same as for campers. An online application (click here to find it) filled out by the potential Apprentice is required, however you register and pay now. Space in the program is first come, first served.
Provide an age-appropriate and challenging camp experience for older campers
Offer older campers the opportunity to gain leadership skills while serving as mentors to younger campers
Challenge youth of this age range to learn new and engaging outdoor skills
Foster a sense of lasting community
Serve as an assistant to a lead counselor during one or more weeks of Owl Camp
Lead a nature based activity or give a presentation on something they are passionate and knowledgeable about to their owl clan, and maybe all the other campers as time allows. We will provide a format/some materials and help with their idea development as needed.
Help guide the younger campers on the trail, assist with activities, escort younger campers to the restroom, be a positive role model, help to make Owl camp a fun and magical experience for all
Each Apprentice at Owl Camp needs to:
Be between the ages of 11-13. 11-year-olds must have attended Owl Camp for one year previously
Attend a one-day pre-training date in June (date coming soon)
Attend one or more sessions of Owl Camp
Arrive at 8:30am on the 1st day of the session they are attending
Go ahead and register normally. Upon registration, you will be asked to make a note if your child is interested in the Apprentice Program.
HERE'S WHAT PARENTS ARE SAYING:
"I really want to thank you and every one of the Owl Camp staff for running such a great program. Yours is the only camp I've found that mirrors my values so closely: to connect and interact with nature, natural crafts, mythology, and the opportunity to learn about many different beings from raccoons by their prints or scat......to faries!" Juliana Holstrom
"I just want to say that my kids LOVE Owl Camp. They hope that they can go again next year! I'm so thrilled that Owl Camp was even an option in the pool of various camps (nature is the BEST way to go)! Thank you so much for making this happen and the sponsorship provided has helped so much! Please extend my gratitude to Landpaths, the landowners, the sponsor, and your staff. I am one thrilled parent because my kids are SO stimulated when they come home, and they sleep like champs (eat like champs too!)! Thank you, thank you, thank you." Julianne Odell
"My child made many connections about Ecology, life cycles and food webs just by being out in nature, doing hands on activities, observing and getting great guidance from the teachers." Anonymous parent
"I also wanted to thank you and your fabulous staff for putting together such an innovative extension to IOOBY. I was so excited that our children would have such an opportunity to subsidize their science education this summer. As our education system continues to be eroded, we really yearn to find these types of fun opportunities to get the kids engaged in non-traditional environmental education. Great stuff!" Kim Batchelder
"Owl Camp gave my kids an opportunity to feel a part of something, to learn amazing amounts of outdoor/environmental knowledge, hike, play in a creek, canoe in a lake and make art and food! It was truly the best day camp experience they ever had."- Briana Herrod, Mom of two Owl Campers, 2014
Owl Camp Wish List 2015
Please contact Jessica Holloway, Education Coordinator, if you have materials to donate: email@example.com or call 707.544.7284 extension 104
General Camp Needs
Scholarship Funding. ($350 sends a camper to camp!)
Shade strutcures- easy ups, large fabric or tarps, sun shades, etc
Thick plastic or canvas tarps
Hammocks or hanging chairs
Hemp cord/ natural twine/ rope/ tension ties for art projects and shade structures
Radioflyer, wagon, Wheel barrow, or cart
Enclosed cloth changing room for the Lake
Hand crank ice-cream maker
GIANT water jugs to keep those kid hydrated!
fruit/vegetables for canning and eating
Simple cookware for camp: cutting boards, knives, mixing bowls, large frying pans (stainless steel or cast iron)
Re-usable cutlery, plates, bowls and mugs
Healthy snacks for campers (minimal packaging appreciated)
Jessica Holloway, Education Coordinator and Owl Camp Leader
Jessica Holloway (a.k.a. "Jessica Jelly Fungus") joined the LandPaths IOOBY team in 2012. Jessica brings her love of wild places, foraging for all things fungi and endless curiosity to all her adventures with kids. She counts herself lucky to live on and care take a beautiful Sonoma County Land Trust preserve. Jessica has been working in the field of environmental education since she obtained her B.S. in Environmental Science in 2005 from Humboldt State University. A Sonoma County native, Jessica returned to the area after living in Armenia as an environmental education volunteer for the Peace Corps from 2006 to 2008. There is nothing she loves more than sharing a rainy day in the woods with friends and family.
Nicolas Whitaker, Bilingual Education Assistant
Nicolas Whitaker was born and raised in coastal hills of Western Sonoma County, an environment which strongly shaped his connection with the natural world. Since completing his BA in environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010, Nicolas has dedicated his time to working towards a more socially and environmentally equitable society. This quest has led him from working in the highlands of Southern Mexico, to the redwood forests of the north coast, to teaching and living aboard a tall-ship on the Hudson River in New York. When not at landpaths, Nicolas spends his time exploring wild places, playing music , listening to records with friends, and growing food..
Dolores Barrett & Richard Baril, Owl Camp Leaders
Dolores Barrett (a.k.a. "Dandelion Dee") and Richard Baril, (a.ka.a. "Rich Mapache) long time happily married, have lived one mile upstream from Rancho Mark West (the Home of Owl Camp) for the past 33 years, in a little cabin in the woods near Mark West Creek.
Dolores, a devoted and much-loved presence at Owl Camp, is a certified nutritional consultant, and just retired from her long career as a registered nurse. Dolores expresses her joy of life in quilting and gardening. Dolores & Richard "adopted" the kids' garden at RMW over the past few years. Thanks largely to the expertise of Dee Dandelion, the teaching & eating garden has expanded each year, becoming part of the IOOBY program and a focal point for Owl Camp.
Richard has been a steadfast & much-loved presence at Owl Camp from its inception in 2010. A long-time carpenter and licensed contractor, he also has a BA in psychology from SSU. Rich volunteered and then worked as a coach & referee for soccer and basketball teams at the middle & high school level for over 15 years. He is one of LandPaths' most devoted stewards, and a long-time trusted mentor with the LandPaths In Our Own Backyard Program.
Interested in volunteering at Owl Camp? Here you should find all of the resources you need. Please fill out the Volunteer Interest Form and LandPaths staff will be in touch. For all Owl Camp volunteer, intern and work trade questions that cannot be answered here, please contact Jessica Holloway: firstname.lastname@example.org