By: Emma Brown
In the middle of April we held a week-long educational day camp called Hawley Nature Days, filled with interactive lessons and games. Hawley Nature Days is an event attended by local children in kindergarten through sixth grade, many of whom our ten month members taught during education season.
As a five month member I did not participate in education season. I have never attended a summer camp, nor have I been a camp counselor. With sixty kids attending each day, I have not been around so many kids at one time since I was one myself. So this week was a new experience for me.
My fellow corps members and I each taught at least two lessons about environmental topics throughout the week. We taught the same lesson throughout the day as each group of kids led by their counselor rotated through our stations. I taught three lessons during the week: Leave No Trace, Music in Nature, and Birds.
Our Leave No Trace lesson started with the kids collecting our camping equipment from around our campsite we had set up by the fire pit. We spoke about what those items were used for and how to plan ahead and prepare for a camping or hiking trip. One of the items was a ziplock bag full of trash which we used to introduce the idea of “pack it in, pack it out.” We looked through the items and spoke about how long they take to decompose. One fact that really stuck with them was that glass bottles take one million years to break down if left outside! Our last lesson was a game about durable surfaces which left all of the kids singing about durable surfaces and hopping on stepping stones for the rest of the day.
Our Music in Nature lesson involved a lot of sitting, listening, and creativity. We started by making sound maps. On a piece of paper, the kids drew a picture of sounds they heard. After they shared their drawings with each other, we all picked up sticks, rocks, and leaves and made our own musical instruments.
Our Birds lesson started with an interactive quiz about bird calls. When we played recordings of bird calls, the kids had to walk to a photo of the bird that they thought made that call. We then taught the kids how to use field guides to identify and learn about birds. We finished our station with coloring pages and listening to more bird calls.
The kids who attended Hawley Nature Days learned so many things and I learned many too. I learned games and songs and patience.. I learned patience and I also learned that I wish I was here for education season.