Children explore their wild side at Kalmia Gardens

By Melissa Rollins, Editor,

‘Does anyone know what this is?’ Dan Hill asked that question more than a few times during the Week in the Wild camp last week at Kalmia Gardens. Hill, assistant director at Kalmia was leading nearly two-dozen campers around the grounds of the gardens and through explorations of the species they encountered.

Though the activities varied slightly day-to-day, students played games, ate snacks, looked at artifacts around the education center and explored the woods around Kalmia Gardens.

Hill said that his main objective was to show kids how much fun it can be to explore the outdoors.
“We want to foster an appreciation of nature,” Hill said. “Hopefully sparking wonderment about what’s around them.”

Camps are a great change of pace from what a lot of kids do over the summer: sit in front of a screen.

“To get kids outside and away from screens is the number one goal,” Hill said.

During their hike Tuesday morning, campers spotted a green snake slithering on the ground next to the trail. Hill picked up the snake and asked the students why the snake was sticking its tongue out. A chorus of ‘its smelling’ rang out. Hill told the students that they were right and cautioned them from trying to touch snakes, especially if they have just applied things like bug spray. He said that the snake’s skin could absorb the spray’s chemicals and get hurt from them.

During their outdoor excursions, one camper kept a notebook of drawing of the animals, wildlife and interesting places that they visited so that she could remember them later.
In the Joslin Education Center, campers were able to view a variety of bones including dog and turtle, even an intact rattle from a rattlesnake.

During the camp, students were fast to make friends laughing, talking and even holding hands during their hikes.

Two more camps are available in the month of July. Third and fourth grade camp is July 17-21; fifth and sixth grade camp is July 24-28. Call Kalmia Gardens at 843-383-8145 for more information.

Find more photos from the camp here.

Author: mrollins

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