Outdoor summer programs flourish throughout Appalachia, but some have a deliberate focus on teaching children to know, care for and cherish the environment.
Located on the banks of the Greenbrier River in Summers County, W.Va., Camp Waldo is one such establishment. The camp offers summer fun and ecologically themed activities for grades 4 through 7. Campers split their time between camp traditions like archery and ecology classes that include instructional time and hands-on activities. Last summer a soil scientist explored a creek with the campers while teaching them about soil types.
The camp is operated by Appalachian Headwaters, a nonprofit environmental and community organization.
“Summer camps show kids how fun the outdoors can be, and form habits that last into adulthood,” says Appalachian Headwaters Vice President Kate Asquith. “A kid that is afraid of walking in the grass because of the bugs on their first day is not going to feel that way after three weeks.”
Camp Waldo costs $200 per child, which is less than 10 percent of the operating cost, and financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis dictated by need.
For dates and details on Camp Waldo and to review a list of other environmental camps across Appalachia, visit appvoices.org/summer-camps-2020. — By Finn Halloran