Curing Nature Deficit Disorder with Summer Camp
What are your strongest memories of nature when you were a child? For me it’s building forts and playing in the woods with my best friend (and now business partner) Trefor and his brother Chris.
Some of my favourite moments growing up at Camp Kintail are also of playing in the woods but it wasn’t until I was a counsellor and we had a woman named Sue leading the nature program that I was blown away by what nature had to teach me.
In this week’s show Ruby (welcome back, Ruby!), Joe and I talk about our magical moments in nature at camp, what activities and programs we believe to be most effective and even how to incorporate nature as the setting for you summer camp staff training.
Resources for Nature Programs
Ruby was kind enough to send us that list of book resources that she loves. Please check them out!
National Audubon Society Field Guide to Southeastern States - Great overview of all things natural in the southeast.
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide (broken down by season for when plants produce edible components)
Fandex Family Field Guides: Trees (Really easy for the kids to compare the leaves, much of the information comes straight from the Audubon Field Guide for Trees.
National Audubon Society Pocket Guide: Familiar Mushrooms (hands down, best mushroom field guide I have encountered as far as quality of pictures of info. not super extensive but packs a lot of punch for a pocket guide)
National Audubon Society Pocket Guide Familiar Reptiles and Amphibians North America - (great info at the beginning about the parts of reptiles and amphibians, telling the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes, great pictures).
National Audubon Society Pocket Guide: Insects and Spiders (again not super extensive, but great photos and a condensed version of the larger Audubon Guide to Insects and Spiders--which is also awesome).
Little Guides: Bugs ( I have written a whole bug class curriculum based on this book. Phenomenal!)
The Backyard Birdsong Guide: Eastern and Central North America (includes an audio playback system so you can hear the calls--also has great interesting tidbits about the various birds listed).
USA Today: The Weather Book (lots of great visuals and explanations of how weather works).
The Cloudspotter's Guide (Just an overall fun read about clouds. This would be more for a nature instructor, less of a book that kids may be interested in).
Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians (this is my all time favorite flower field guide. It is WONDERFUL. Great photos, incredible info. It's my first consult when I encounter a flower I don't know or want to know more about one I do know).
Stokes Nature Guides: A Guide to Animal Tracking and Behavior (This field guide is a great one to read straight through. awesome info about animal behavior with some from tidbits you might not otherwise know).
The Night Sky Revealed (Ratcliffe & Nix) (this has glow in the dark star charts. Great for those who don't have the fancy skywatch app but who want to learn constellations to old fashioned way).
Glow in the Dark Constellations (Thompson & Chewning) (I carried this book on every night hike I ever took in case it was cloudy or I wasn't in a good position to see the stars, I could still show various constellations. I have also made my own glow in the dark constellation representations with construction paper and glow in the dark paint, which you can get at most craft stores).
- Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature (the bible of mentoring in nature).
Tool of the Week – Make yourself a better Camp Director
Travis: Net Promotor Score survey. Need to include a “ask you child these questions about his/her camp experience” page BEFORE you send the survey
- Ruby Compton, Summer Camp Program Director at Green River Preserve
Thanks for the evening, friends.