Summer camp has always been about teaching kids some practical outdoor living skills and to appreciate nature, from identifying plants and animals to arts and crafts. Although there are scads of specialty camps focusing on everything from music to basketball, old-school camping is perfect for teaching eco-consciousness to the younger set. Here are just some state camps that emphasize nature education and all things green.
Glacier Hollow is a YMCA sleepaway camp for ages 7-14. It's east of Stevens Point on spring-fed Lake Elaine and offers many different camping experiences, including a general "Nature Quest," a rock-climbing session, a canoe and kayak camp, a session for girls only and one for kids with learning disabilities. There's even a weekend family camp in August. 715-342-2999; glacierhollow.com.
A trip to Upham Woods teaches kids that the Dells is about more than waterparks. This 4-H camp on the Dells of the Wisconsin River offers kids the opportunity to camp in rustic cabins, canoe, hike and more. Dane County's camp week is Aug. 3-9. 608-224-3712; 4h.uwex.edu/uphamwoods/.
A very eco-conscious camp experience can be found during these two sessions at the Conserve School's "Summer at Lowenwood" in Land O' Lakes: Making Waves (July 6-July 19) and Nature's Odyssey (July 20-Aug. 2). The curriculum is ecology-intense, but with rec opportunities too - camping, canoeing, kayaking and hiking. Campers stay in the Conserve School dorms, with Making Waves participants taking a camping trip to Lake Superior. 866-547-1300; www.conserveschool.org/home/content.asp?id=1683.
Lake Superior Pathfinders is an environmental leadership and social justice camp for high-schoolers offered through Northland College in Ashland. The eight-day program offers activities ranging from ropes courses and kayaking to learning with members of the Chippewa tribe about Lake Superior, and native fishing and ricing. The camp runs July 26-Aug. 2. 715-682-1482; www.northland.edu/Northland/Soei/Programs/Pathfinders.