Sea Turtle Camp
Location: Topsail Island, NC
Age Group: 13-17, boys only
Cost: $3,295 (including $995 deposit)
|At the Sea Turtle Open Water SCUBA Camp, campers will be trained by the best divers on the East Coast, and by the end of the session they will receive their SCUBA certification from the National Association of Underwater instructors. Camp tuition includes suites on Topsail Island, all meals, all equipment, professional scuba instruction, transportation, 24-hour same-gender adult supervision, and more.|
Sea Turtle Camp
Date: 6/23-7/3 (both male and female)
and 7/14-7/24 (male only)
Location: Topsail Island, NC
Age Group: 13-17
Cost:$2,695 (including $795 deposit)
Marine Biology Immersion Camp
An 11-day session where campers will spend 15 hours working with the volunteers of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. Campers will participate in rehabilitation at the hospital, conduct sea turtle nest walks, learn about salt marshes and sea turtles and study marine debris in the Sargasso Sea and other oceanic surface currents. Campers will earn up to 25 hours of community service.
Green River Preserve
Session: One to three weeks
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
Age Group: 7-19
|Green River Preserve provides opportunities for young children and teens to connect with nature in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Campers will spend time on hiking, campouts, afternoon activities and group learning projects. Through the activities, campers will learn healthy and rewarding ways to spend their free time.|
Session: One to three weeks; sessions open from 6/8-8/11
Location: Pisgah Forest, N.C.
Age Group: 5th-9th graders
|Join Eagle’s Nest Camp, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains in N.C., with campers from all around the world. Campers are encouraged to grow simply with activities that promote self-expression, personal growth, skill building and fun. Camp activities are related to wilderness, arts and music, athletics, classes and other special activities.|
UNCW Marine Quest
Session: One to three weeks
Location: Wilmington, N.C.
Age Group: 5-17
|UNCW MarineQuest offers a variety of different programs for that suit different age groups. Campers can observe marine organisms up close, conduct hands-on science experiments, play educational field games and crafts, or explore the ocean through more service learning programs.|
Session: One week
Location: Greeneville, Tenn.
Age Group: 4th-6th graders
Cost: $25 for day trip, $100 for overnight trip
|Camp Explore is committed to enhance student awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment by teaching and modeling good character traits while exploring nature. The camp features environmental education, character education, hands-on experiential activities, critical-thinking development, cooperative learning and more.|
Smoky Mountain Adventure Camp
Session: 5 days to 4 weeks
Location: Smoky Mountains, Tenn.
Age Group 8-18
Cost: $795 – $2795
|Have a summer of exploring with Smoky Mountain Adventure Camp. Adventures include backcountry hikes, caving, rock climbing rafting, tubing, horseback riding and overnight backpacking expeditions in the foothills of East Tennessee.|
Tate’s Day Camp
Session: 4 to 5 days
Location: Knoxville, Tenn.
Cost: $209- $286
|Tate’s Day Camp offers traditional camp activities. Through hands-on activities and low counselor-to-camper ratios, campers are given opportunities to build self-esteem and allowed individual growth and maturity.|
|Camp Idyllwild||Camp Idyllwild provides opportunities for campers to explore nature in an unstructured way and use their imaginations to discover their environment. Campers will build forts, explore creeks, hike, make arts and crafts, and learn about organic gardening. Camp Idyllwild’s child-centered camp philosophy allows campers to make choices throughout the day and encourages independent thinking and decision-making.|
Life Adventure Center of the Bluegrass
Session: 5 days
Location: Versailles, Ky.
|Life Adventure Center is an educational nonprofit that offers campers various programs from environmental education to wilderness living, to the challenge course and equestrian program. Campers are encouraged to engage, educate and empower each participant.|
West Virginia State Conservation Camp
Session: One six-day session
Location: Webster County, W.Va.
Age Group: 14-18
Cost: $185 (scholarship may apply)
|WV State Conservation Camp is located on the edge of Monongahela National Forest in the towering mountains of southern Webster County, West Virginia. Campers can enjoy an action-packed week filled with interactive workshops, group assemblies, recreation opportunities, evening campfires and social events.|
Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies
Session: 3-12 days
Location: Capon Bridge, W.Va.
Age Group: Ages 8-21+
Cost: $415- $1475
|Located in a remote valley of the West Virginian Appalachians, the Burgundy Center offers campers great ways to explore nature. Small camp size fosters camaraderie.Campers may get to see deer, dragonflies, red-spotted newts and more.|
Camp Greenbrier for Boys
Session: 3-6 weeks
Location: Alderson, W.Va.
Age Group: 7-18
Cost: $2775- $4750
|Camp Greenbrier For Boys, found in 1898, is located on the banks of the Greenbrier River in Alderson, West Virginia. Operated by the same family for three generations, Camp Greenbrier is a safe haven where boys have fun, gain self-confidence, and make lifelong friends.|
Camp Rim Rock for Girls
Session: 1-4 weeks
Location: Yellow Spring, W.Va.
Age Group: 6-16
|Operating for over sixty years and regarded by campers and camp professionals as one of the finest camps for girls, Camp Rim Rock Camp for Girls offers a well-rounded program. Activities include performing arts, arts and crafts, horseback riding, various sports and more.|
Session: 2-3 weeks
Location: Rockbridge County, Va.
Age Group: 7-15
|Nature Camp offers educational and recreational programs. Founded by Lillian Schilling of Afton, Va., in 1942, this camp educates its campers the importance of conserving and protecting the environment and to become more informed on the earth’s natural resources.|
Browne Summer Camp
Session: 8 weeks, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Alexandria, Va.
Age Group: 3-13
Cost: $270-$390 per week for mini camp. $390 for both junior and senior camps.
|Activities include daily swimming with certified lifeguards, art, sports, music, dance, technology, nature, drama and more. The staff members use an effective blend of gentle encouragement and support to help each and every child achieve his or her potential.|
Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing
Session: 1-4 weeks
Location: New Castle, Va.
Age Group: 8-18
Cost: $795- $2995
|Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing lies on 500 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 35 miles northwest of Roanoke, Va. Campers can explore the outdoors and the wildlife that comes with it. Programs are designed to challenge children both physically and mentally, but the ultimate goal is fun, friendship and camaraderie that can only be found around a campfire and sleeping under the stars.|
Camp Muddy Sneakers
Session: 5 Days
Location: Brevard, NC
Age Group: 5th Graders
A new and exciting day camp locates in western NC that seeks to educate rising 4th through 7th graders on the natural world through hands-on, nature based exploration.
Camp Muddy Sneakers offers an innovative day camp that seeks to build on each organizations’ recognized environmental education programming while filling a niche in the current summer camp offerings.
Posts Tagged ‘Green River Preserve’
Editor’s Note: We have long featured our region’s fantastic places and phenomenal hikes in the “Hiking the Highlands” column. What we have less frequently focused on, however, is how some of our favorite places were protected in the first place.
Non-profit land trusts are committed to the preservation of our region’s natural heritage and scenic beauty. And, most importantly for this column, they protect ample acreage for hiking and outdoor recreation.
Land trusts understand that to make conservation tangible, they need to get people outside and onto the lands that they protect. With an innovative new program that mixes conservation with a little competition, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, a Western North Carolina land trust, is doing just that. We went to Peter Barr, an avid hiker and the Trails and Outreach Coordinator for CMLC, to learn more about what they are doing to encourage the synergy between enjoying the land and protecting it.
Hiking the Southern Appalachians to Support Land Protection
By Peter Barr
Since 1994, the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy has protected more than 23,000 acres of western North Carolina’s mountains, including the headwaters of the French Broad River, the Blue Ridge Escarpment and Hickory Nut Gorge.
CMLC’s White Squirrel Hiking Challenge — named for the beloved wildlife oddity that can be spotted on some of the conservancy’s protected tracts — invites members of the community to get out on protected lands and discover the value of conserving the amazing places in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Protecting land from sprawling development, subdivision and other threats that damage and divide our mountains has myriad positive impacts — safeguarding clean drinking water, improving air quality and increasing biodiversity.
Whether you’re an experienced outdoors enthusiast or new to the wonders of nature, the idea is that once you experience these special places for yourself, understanding that they’re protected forever, you will become a conservationist for life.
By completing eight hikes on CMLC’s most spectacular conserved lands, finishers will earn a white squirrel hiking patch and bragging rights for land conservation. The real reward is experiencing these amazing places, partaking in a little friendly competition, and supporting their permanent protection.
Please note that while most of the hikes included in the hiking challenge are open to the public, a few are on private land. Landowners generously open their property to hikers but request in return that visitors support land conservation by becoming members of CMLC.
For directions to hike trailheads and to enroll in the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge, visit carolinamountain.org/hikingchallenge.
DuPont State Recreation Forest
Two Hiking Challenge outings entail journeys in the popular DuPont State Forest — which straddles Henderson and Transylvania counties — and celebrate CMLC’s origins following the movement to protect the forest in the 1990s.
The “Tour de Falls” hike requires hikers to reach three of DuPont’s popular waterfalls: Hooker, Triple and High Falls. The three falls—among the most beautiful in the region—can be reached with a round-trip hike of less than three miles.
Another hike, a two and a half mile jaunt to the summit of Stone Mountain, makes up for the ease of the waterfalls tour. But the climb up a steep trail rewards hardy hikers with panoramic views from the top of one of DuPont’s scenic granitic domes.
Once imminently threatened by development, the forest’s abundant natural beauty is now adored by hikers, cyclists and equestrians alike. A grassroots coalition of conservation supporters in the 1990s ultimately saved DuPont and facilitated its purchase by the state of North Carolina to become public land. CMLC’s support of the forest’s conservation was one of its first land protection initiatives.
CMLC protects DuPont to this day, by buffering its borders with private conservation easements and facilitating the acquisition of additional land — including 65 acres added to the forest in April.
Uncles Falls at Green River Preserve*
Tucked away in a hollow within Henderson County’s Green River Preserve, Uncles Falls requires a hike of only two miles round-trip. Totaling more than 3,000 acres, and one of the largest private conservation easements in western North Carolina, the preserve is home to a co-ed summer camp that thrives on experiential learning by connecting kids to nature.
More than 2,600 acres of unspoiled forests and rugged mountain slopes at Green River Preserve are conserved by CMLC — including the headwaters of the Green River. Summer campers use Uncles Falls for a ritual of initiation during their stay — jumping underneath the cascade with their clothes on and shouting the words “polar bear” three times. While the ritual is not a requirement of the Hiking Challenge, it is highly recommended for an invigorating extra dose of nature.
Florence Nature Preserve
A three-mile hike within CMLC’s Florence Nature Preserve in the Upper Hickory Nut Gorge parallels pristine mountain streams, traverses old growth forests and features historic mountain home sites. The Preserve was donated by the Florence family in 1996 and CMLC has retained ownership ever since, maintaining a five-mile network of public hiking trails on its 600 acres.
East Fork Headwaters – Foothills Trail
One of the largest remaining privately-owned tracts of land in the southern Appalachians, the East Fork Headwaters property hosts miles of trout streams, rare mountain bogs and federally endangered plants and animals. Its permanent protection is still a work in progress — to date, nearly 800 acres have been put into conservation ownership. For the Challenge, hike four miles along the venerable Foothills Trail — a long-distance hiking path which traverses the Blue Ridge Escarpment on the border of North and South Carolina.
A hike to Transylvania County’s Connestee Falls — quite literally a walk in the park — is the easiest in the Challenge and illustrates that not all beautiful natural features require a grueling trek to find enjoyment. A new wheelchair accessible boardwalk, compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, stretches fifty yards from the parking area on U.S. 276 south of Brevard, N.C., to an overlook platform that offers views of three picturesque waterfalls.
Connestee Falls, one of the region’s most popular cascades, and Batson Creek Falls converge to form a third falls known as Silver Slip. All three waterfalls are part a conservation easement obtained by CMLC, which also facilitated the property’s purchase by Transylvania County and its establishment as a county park.
Bearwallow Mountain may be the crown jewel of the White Squirrel Hiking Challenge. The hike ascends a one-mile trail — constructed by CMLC with the help of volunteers — to the summit of a 4,000-foot mountain on the Eastern Continental Divide. The peak hosts an expansive grassy meadow that offers a near-360 degree view to reward hikers who make the short climb. A CMLC conservation easement protects 81 acres atop the peak to date and CMLC is working to conserve nearly 400 more.
The trail up Bearwallow Mountain is part of a developing network of trails in the Hickory Nut Gorge that will link a growing network of conserved lands — including lands protected by Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Chimney Rock State Park. Ultimately, the network will encompass more than 50 miles of trails and span the length of the breathtaking Hickory Nut Gorge.
Kens Rock/Weed Patch Mountain*
Ken’s Rock, an impressive cliff on the west face of Youngs Mountain near Lake Lure, can be reached by just a half-mile hike. Located on private property, the landowner permits access one to two weekends a month for hikers that support land conservation. The dramatic view from the rock includes Weed Patch Mountain, a 1,500+ acre tract purchased by CMLC from bankruptcy court following failure of a gated housing development. The Weed Patch tract is contiguous to part of Chimney Rock State Park; CMLC and the Town of Lake Lure are developing an extensive hiking and mountain biking trail network on the property.
*denotes hike on private land