Peals of laughter echoing across rock outcrops, delightful splashes in Mark West Creek's frigid waters, picky eaters turned into "foodies" by eating and harvesting from the garden, and a historic barn filled with live music. Constructing elaborate teepees and forts, sleeping out under the stars for the first time, launching a homemade raft on its maiden voyage - and it actually floated!
Four weeks, 16 volunteers, 40 scholarships, 120 campers, 720 hours of discovery, learning, challenge and fun all in the Big Outside. This was summer at LandPaths' Owl Camp at Rancho Mark West - 122 acres of redwood and fir forests, oak woodlands, pristine creek and historic ranch.
All summer LandPaths environmental educators drew upon "teachable moments" to inspire campers with the magic and wonder of nature. Each hole, animal skeleton or scat discovered, exploded into questions, theories and ideas about habitat, ecology and personal responsibility. A crew of volunteers shared their own nature-based passions: art, medicinal crafts, archeology, birds, gardening, recycling, Aztec dancing. For campers ages five through thirteen, Owl Camp is fun piled on fun.
For LandPaths, witnessing this glee unfolding, we see our success in the next generation coming into their own relationship with nature.
At Owl Camp, as with all of our youth in nature programs, we invest in this joyful, curiosity-filled interchange between child and nature as the foundation of a lifelong relationship - a relationship that bears both opportunity for delight and discovery, and responsibility for ones own actions. We offer ample opportunities to sing out, get dirty, explore, romp and take action, and then, with fingers crossed, we let the unique relationship between land and child take on a life of its own.
Click here to learn more about Owl Camp, and check back to this page early in 2014 to register for next summer.
Contents (c) 2008 by Land Partners Through Stewardship (Landpaths) Site Credits