Nature Day Camps 1

Crafting will be one of many activities campers in grades K-5 will do during Dickinson County Nature Center’s No School Day camps. The camps will take place Oct. 14 and 21. Photo submitted

Nature Center offering fall day camps

Class will be in session the next two Mondays at the Dickinson County Nature Center.

The nature center, normally closed on Mondays, will host No School Day camps for Okoboji Elementary School students on Oct. 14 and Spirit Lake Elementary School students on Oct. 21.

The schools will be closed on those respective days for staff professional development, which is why the nature center chose those dates for the camps. Home-schooled students are also welcome to attend the camps.

Bryanna Kuhlman, environmental education coordinator for the nature center, said the nature center will still be closed to the public those days, meaning the students will have the center to themselves.

The camps will go from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and will offer several nature-themed activities and games for students.

“We hope to do a lot of free play outside as well as some structured games,” Kuhlman said. “We want to get out and explore the prairie in the fall and the oak savanna in the fall and see what kind of wildlife we can find.”

Some of the games may focus on animals’ habitats and migration patterns, as well as resources they need for survival. Kuhlman said they might also do an obstacle course that demonstrates different obstacles animals face.

“So those are all a couple of the things we might do,” she said. “We have a very creative staff here, so sometimes we think of a new plan the day of.”

The nature center held its first No School Day camps in March, which were successful despite lingering winter weather.

“It was a lot of fun last spring, even though it was very snowy and cold,” she said.

Even if the weather turns chilly again for the upcoming day camps, Kuhlman hopes students learn to appreciate the weather in Iowa and how different animals prepare for winter.

“Unless it’s really hazardous weather, we plan to go outside and enjoy whatever is being given to us at the time. We also hope that our campers will learn a little bit about how Iowa changes in the fall to get ready for the winter,” she said.

The nature center will provide snacks for students in the morning and afternoon, but students are asked to bring their own lunches.

Parents can preregister their children in grades K-5 on the nature center’s website. Registration costs $20 per camper and will be capped at 20 campers each day.