Turn off the TV! It’s time for summer camp | TheUnion.com

Turn off the TV! It’s time for summer camp

Good old fashioned dirt between the toes, sleeping under the stars and peering at pond life under a microscope are some of the treats in store for youngsters who attend two summer nature camps at an old Maidu village site this month.

Children age 7 – 12 are welcome at Earth Explorer Nature Camp, held 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 16 to June 20 followed by Maidu Ways a Native American Camp, June 23 to June 27.

The Nevada County Land Trust hosts the camps at its Burton Park property on Lake Vera Drive, where the Tsi-Akim Maidu are building an authentic interactive village with cedar bark houses.

Director of the camp, Sandy Simmonds has been connecting youth with nature for more than 30 years. Even the most withdrawn children with limited experiences outdoors can benefit from nature camp, Simmonds said.

“There’s something about being in the natural world that wakes something in a child,” she said.

Unlike summer camps that focus on activities like swimming and arts and crafts, the ones held at Burton Park are different, Simmonds said.

“Our camp is about bringing kids in touch with the natural world and culture,” Simmonds said.

Activities include pond life and ecosystem studies, nature walks, bird watching with binoculars, art projects, songs and games, tracking animals, tanning, basketry and learning about how local tribes used native plants.

“A lot of it is just getting them to be aware,” Simmonds said.

Some of the camp’s visitors come from more metropolitan areas while visiting relatives for the summer.

“We get some city kids. In the beginning they’re very squeamish,” and some are concerned about getting their clothes dirty, Simmonds said.

After a week of nature walks, animal tracking and bird watching, the children’s attitudes change.

“They start looking at the world a little different. They become more aware of the sound of their footsteps,” Simmonds said.

A one week camp costs $85. For more information visit: http://www.nevadacountylandtrust.org/camps.html or contact camp director Sandy Simmonds at camp@nevadacountylandtrust.org or call 272-5994.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail lbrown@theunion.com or call 477-4231.

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