Summer camps are great for both kids and their parents. Why not send them to a summer camp that does all that, as well as teaches them about eco-friendly living? Here are five great camps across North America that incorporate fun with teaching sustainable living.
Plantation Farm Camp (California)
This certified green overnight camp is located in Cazadero, on the northern Sonoma County coast. Established in 1952, this 500-acre co-ed, traditional camp hosts children ages 8 to 17. Campers learn what it’s like to live on a sustainable farm and how to care for animals, milk cows, tend a garden, compost and feed pigs. The camp emphasizes living responsibly in an environmental way — using minimal resources and maximizing time spent outdoors. Plantation Farm also offers similar camps in the winter and spring at discounted rates. For more information, visit http://plantationcamp.com.
Gwynn Valley (North Carolina)
For kids in kindergarten through eighth grade, this 320-acre overnight camp in Brevard has been around since 1935.
“Mary Gwynn created (the) camp based on the values of simplicity, acceptance, a non-competitive program and an appreciation of the natural world,” according to the camp’s website. “These values are still embraced by Gwynn Valley today.”
Campers gather eggs, grow popcorn and learn about the web of life in order to foster a connection with the land. Not only does Gwynn Valley recycle, compost, use compact fluorescent lighting and have low-flow shower heads, but they also serve 70 percent homegrown food from its own farm and heat 70 percent of the camp’s hot water with fallen or dead trees found on the property. For more information, visit http://www.gwynnvalley.com.
Eden Village Camp (New York)
In Putnam Valley near the Appalachian Trail, you will find Eden Village. This non-profit Jewish environmental overnight camp for third- to 12th-graders teaches up-to-date sustainable habits. On 248 acres, the camp has a zero-waste goal and serves only organic kosher food, mostly from its farm. It also runs on solar power and biodiesel. Campers take part in organic farming, wilderness adventures, natural science and animal care, as well as helping to build and renovate cob ovens, straw bale huts and rainwater catchment systems. For more information, visit http://edenvillagecamp.org.
Camp Kawartha (Ontario, Canada)
This environmental education center in Lakefield proves that instilling the importance of green living is important worldwide. Campers’ sessions focus on creating a caring and motivated youth and inspiring environmental leadership. The camp offers day and overnight camp for kids ages 5-17, plus more than 80 curriculum-based programs. The center is home to one of Canada’s most eco-friendly buildings — it has straw bale and hemp walls, solar power, a wetland water treatment system and a living roof — and a straw bale solar greenhouse. For more information, visit http://campkawartha.ca.
Audubon summer day camps (Nationwide)
All across the nation, state chapters of the National Audubon Society host day or overnight camps led by environmental educators that help kids discover nature and teach them about conservation.
For example, the overnight summer camp at Wildwood in southern New Hampshire gives participants the chance to explore the environment while gaining a greater respect for nature and our role in maintaining it. For more information, and to find an Audubon Society near you, visit http://www.audubon.org.
Summer camps are all about getting active outdoors, but not all of them practice environmentalism. Finding a camp that boasts solar power, green architecture, sustainable farms and organic gardens, plus teaches future generations is a great way to teach children how to live a green life.