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Summer Camp

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A group of children stand outdoors and make faces at the camera.

Nature Explorers Camp

Summer Camp 2023

Awaken your child’s curiosity and nurture their appreciation for nature by registering them for Morris Arboretum’s Nature Explorers Camp. Led by experienced educators, our goal is to inspire new generations of environmentally aware citizen scientists. 

SOLD OUT: We offer a waitlist and will notify those who sign up of cancellations. There is no charge to be waitlisted, and spots often become available between now and summer.

How to Register
1. Reserve your week(s) and pay online here.
2. After you pay, check for and read your confirmation email.
3. Download the registration form sent with your confirmation email or use the link below.
4. Use a separate form for each participant.
5. Email these forms to Ilana Grubin at igrubin@upenn.edu by June 1 in order to hold your spot. Forms received after June 1 will incur a $25 late fee. If we are missing your forms, your child cannot attend camp and your spot may be forfeited. 


Dates and Details

Little Lightning Bugs: Ages 4 to 5 (Adult/Child ratio of 1:6)
Bloomfield Buddies: Ages 6 to 11 (Adult/Child ratio of 1:8)
Weekly Camp Sessions: July 3 to August 11, 2023
Duration:  Monday - Friday, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
*We are not able to offer before care or aftercare.

Pricing

Members*: $300 (weekly) / Non-members: $320
* To receive the member pricing for camp, you must be a current member at the Family level or above. If you purchase a membership online at the same time as your camp purchase, you will get the discount for camp. If you purchase a membership a few weeks before camp registration opens, please check with membership prior to January 23 and make sure that your member account has been updated in our ticketing system (sometimes this can take a few weeks).
** Because we sell out so quickly, we are no longer offering Early Bird pricing.
*** A limited number of partial scholarships may be available on a first-come basis to those with demonstrated financial need.

Attending Nature Explorers Camp with a Same-Age Friend or Sibling
We only have one group for Little Lightning bugs, so all 4-5 year old campers will be in the same group. Bloomfield Buddies will be divided into two groups by age. Groups will be preassigned, and children will be told their groups each Monday. If your child has a friend or relative registered in Bloomfield Buddies and you wish to place them in the same group, please email igrubin@upenn.edu at least TWO WEEKS PRIOR to the start of camp.

Is a nature camp right for your child?
It is our hope to inspire a love of the outdoors in all participants. We spend the majority of our day outside in nature—not in air conditioning. Our campers hike and navigate uneven terrains throughout the Arboretum. We also play games and use natural materials for our arts and crafts. Safety is our number one priority; however, injuries can still occur. Children encounter bees, biting insects, slippery terrain, and tree roots, which all can pose a hazard. Together, we enjoy fun, physical activities under careful supervision of Arboretum education staff. With the guidance of educators, campers must listen to directions, stay with the group, adhere to camp rules, and take accountability for their own safety. Please see Parent Handbook for more information about our camp and rules.

Weather Policy
Camp is held rain or shine. In the case of lightning, activities will be modified and moved indoors. Please dress your child in clothes that can get wet or dirty! If temperatures exceed 90 degrees, activities are modified, and participants will not be doing anything strenuous. In addition to morning creek walks about once a week, we will do water play (sprinklers, wading pools, etc.) whenever there is a heat advisory.

2023 Registration/Cancellation Policy

Planning ahead can be challenging for everyone, but please be mindful when making your camp registrations. We try to accommodate requests to change scheduled weeks, however, since we fill up quickly there is no guarantee there will be any space available in a different week. 

Cancellations on or before April 14th: $20 fee will be deducted from refund for each week cancelled.

Cancellations April 15 to June 1st: $50 fee will be deducted from refund for each week cancelled.

After JUNE 1st: Refunds will ONLY be issued for extenuating circumstances and are at the discretion of the Camp Director. If a replacement is found from the waiting list, a refund may be granted minus a $75 cancellation fee.

Seeking Teens ages 13-16 for our Volunteer Counselor-in-Training Program 

We are currently looking for volunteer CITs (Counselors in Training) to join our camp program this summer. This is an unpaid opportunity for students aged 13-16. We will provide weekly leadership training, and CITs will assist our experienced camp staff. Some of our CITs are former campers, but the program is open to anyone who is good with kids, likes to spend time outdoors, and is looking for work experience. Please reach out directly to Ilana Grubin at  igrubin@upenn.edu. If you are looking for a paid position as a Lead Counselor or Assistant Counselor, please visit our employment page (we expect to post positions in February).

Little Lightning Bugs (Ages 4 – 5)

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be an insect? How do they see? What do they eat? What is it like to have an exoskeleton? Campers will learn about all of this and more when they immerse themselves in the fascinating world of arthropods.

No camp on July 4

What makes plants so interesting and important? We will see pollination in action, find different seeds, learn about plant parts, and see how plants support all the other living things in the world. From the tiniest seed to the largest tree, campers will explore our plants here at the Arboretum.

Even our youngest campers can learn about surviving in the wild. Learn to tie a basic knot, pitch a tent, ID helpful and harmful plants, and learn the principles of “Leave no trace.” This week will also include discussion of the Leni Lenape, the original inhabitants of this land.

Morris Arboretum is home to many different creatures. From frogs and turtles to birds and mammals, we have an array of animals to choose from. Each day we will choose a different animal, discover that animal’s habitat here at Morris, and learn about animals through games and crafts. 

In the world of fairy tales, the forests are full of magic and mystery. This week our imaginations will run wild as we read and recreate a variety of fairy tales, look for magical creatures residing at the Arboretum, and build fairy homes.

Campers will spend the week exploring the lifecycles of different plants and animals. Each journey is unique— some even go through a complete metamorphosis! By the end of the week, we will also be discussing how we grow and change during our lifetimes, and ask what the children envision for their future.

Bloomfield Buddies (Ages 6 – 11)

Are you ready to explore the world of insects and spiders? These small but fascinating creatures live in every habitat on earth, and about 1 million different species are known (with many more yet to be described). During this week, learn all about different species, crazy adaptations, and imagine what it is like to live in the world of arthropods.

No camp on July 4.

 Plants support all other life on earth through the food chain. We need them to survive, but do they really need us? What happens when plants fight back? Learn all about plant adaptations as well as some of the medicinal uses for plants, and how to ID and stay away from the poisonous plants.

This week we will learn some survival skills as we hike and explore the Arboretum. In this week of outdoor adventure, campers will tie knots, build a shelter, use a compass, and discover edible plants. This week will also include discussion of the Leni Lenape, the original inhabitants of this land.

What do bees, birds, ants, and humans all have in common? We all build our own homes! Animals can be excellent engineers and architects. Campers will learn all about different animal homes as well as design and build things themselves.

 Every culture has myths about the natural world, often with magical creatures or strange spells. We’ll read stories and use our imaginations to bring these creatures to life! Campers create potions, design wands, cast spells, and more.

Everything in nature has a cycle— water cycle, weather cycle, rock cycle, etc. We will explore some of these different cycles, including the life cycles of animals. We will end camp with an ode to summer, as campers think about what the next season will bring.