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Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Hosts Summer Day Camp
Midwest Region, August 2, 2013
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An Eco Explorer Day Camper investigates a pollinator caught at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
An Eco Explorer Day Camper investigates a pollinator caught at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. - Photo Credit: USFWS
An Eco Explorer Day Camper sketches a bird in her nature journal at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.
An Eco Explorer Day Camper sketches a bird in her nature journal at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. - Photo Credit: USFWS

This July, 22 area youth partook in the 2nd Annual Eco Explorers Day Camp at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. This three-day day camp offered to youth grades 1-6, was designed to foster the next generation of Wisconsin conservationist by increasing their awareness and knowledge of the natural world. Through a range of experiential and inquiry based experiences, campers explored the various habitats of the refuge including: oak savannas, prairies, and wetlands.

Each day campers learned about a historic naturalist who also studied the environment at a young age and recorded their findings in a nature journal. Similarly, campers were asked to observe, record, and sketch in their nature journals while at Necedah Refuge. Upon completion of camp, each camper went home with a one-of-a-kind guide to flora and fauna found at the refuge. “I hope nature journaling becomes a gateway into nature for our campers,” said Visitor Services Specialist Kara Zwickey, “something they can continue into the future!”

From searching for animal tracks and scat while hiking to the Observation Tower, to identifying the tiny critters that live in the refuge wetlands, to catching a fish for the very first time, campers were continually captivated by the natural world and the wonder it had to offer.

As parents and grandparents picked up their campers one child exclaimed, “This was way better than school!” The skills and excitement these campers gained at Necedah Refuge did not end after leaving, as one parent testimonial said, “Thank you! Never before did they stop to look at a dragonfly and appreciate the detail. The observation skills they learned have caused our whole family to stop and enjoy the nature around us.”

This camp experience, provided free to campers, was made possible in-part by Friends of Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Staff at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge hope to continue this annual program into the future, to engage an even larger group of area youth.


Contact Info: Kara Zwickey, 608-565-4412, kara_zwickey@fws.gov



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