Summer Nature Day Camp 2016

We had such an incredible week at WOLF School’s Summer Nature Day Camp this year! Held June 6-10, 2016 at Camp Monte Toyon in Aptos, CA, it is a week we look forward to every year.

It was great to see all the familiar faces of returning WOLF School campers, and to welcome so many new members to the Wolf Pack. The week was filled with awesome summer camp activities and experiences: exploring the forest, singing songs, playing games, and creating amazing art—and we even had some fun nature lessons added in each day.

After such a heat wave, it seemed logical to start the first day of Summer Nature Day Camp off with Solar Day. However with all the summer fog rolling in, as is typical of a central California coast June, we didn’t get much help from the sun that morning. There are always so many things to do at Camp Monte Toyon though! WOLF School naturalists who led Summer Nature Day Camp adapted the plans, and we all spent much of the day hiking the redwood forest trails, finding newts, and painting faces.  The sun eventually peeked out over the canopy of redwood trees later that afternoon, so we pulled out the solar oven and all of the kids pitched in to help make some solar cooked nachos. Past WOLF School campers once again marveled at this ability, and new campers were amazed to learn that they could cook with the energy of the sun!

The next day was Maker Day, and we were so impressed by the creativity of the kids! The day began by searching the forest for the perfect bow-making stick, we made bracelets and necklaces (as well as paper beads to put on them), and we decorated wood cookies using the power of the sun through magnifying glasses. Later we learned methods for making fire, then cooked our afternoon snack on the fire we made—an amazing lesson in self-ability and self-reliance for the campers.  As the day ended we set to making shelters, both for us and the small forest creatures that call Camp Monte Toyon home.

Our third day of Summer Nature Day Camp, Animal Day, was filled with fun songs and games about the animals that live in the forest at Camp Monte Toyon. Kids learned about the diverse life that resides in the redwood forest, and how it relates to WOLF School’s mission of “building respect, appreciation and stewardship within the web of life.” We also had our talent show, filled with entertainment from our day campers.  Later on, WOLF School’s summer campers got to experience some beautiful snakes first-hand, and made watercolor and bead animal representations of our live models.  Then came time for one of the campers’ (and naturalists’!) favorite activities, making some awesome tie-dyed clothes to give ourselves special coloration!

Adventure Day began with games and challenges, such as our low ropes challenge course, which gave kids the chance to be adventurous and challenge themselves in a safe space, under the watchful guide of WOLF School’s naturalists.  After lunch, we all hiked to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, a California State Park which protects a tract of secondary forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There we explored the creek, finding all sorts of creatures, fossils, and rock face paints, and WOLF School naturalists shared the concepts of river ecology and watersheds. Continuing our adventures, we participated in group fort building, followed by a game of capture the flag in the forest.

Like last year, the Summer Nature Day Camp week culminated in a Beach Day at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, CA.  WOLF School naturalists had tons of activities for the day on the sand: chasing waves, flying kites, digging holes, making hand-churned ice-cream (some said it was the best ice-cream they had ever had!) and the kids made their favorite solar power cooked nachos.  We even brought some fishing poles and kids were able to fish off of the pier.  Amidst all the fun, we also took some time to help give back to the community and teach lessons in stewardship by participating in an official Save Our Shores Beach Clean-Up, in which WOLF School’s Summer Nature Day Campers removed 15 pounds of trash from the beach!

The 2016 WOLF School Summer Nature Day Camp was an amazing experience for everyone. Our community of campers were all great, and brought a lot of positive energy to the week. To see all of the fun we had, visit WOLF School’s Summer Nature Day Camp photo album on Facebook. We look forward to seeing everyone again in January 2017, for WOLF School’s Winter Nature Day Camp!