2013-06-13 / Local & State

Kids DiscoverE Camps A Perfect Summer Activity

Children’s mini-camps to be held at Cowans Gap State Park
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Before kids start singing the summertime blues, parents can stave off pleas of “there’s nothing to do” by signing up their little ones for an environmentallythemed camp at Cowans Gap State Park.

Entitled DiscoverE 2013, the trio of camps overseen by park environmental education specialist Renae Saum were created on a statewide level by the Bureau of State Parks to get kids to “Explore, Experience and Enjoy” the great outdoors and “to get to know the world around them.”

Currently in her second year as environmental education specialist at the Gap, Saum has been a naturalist for five years, having previously worked at the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Adams County. Her work experience as well as an ecology degree from Shippensburg University have served her well at the Gap as she works out of the Brightbill Interpretive Center and educates the masses that come through the state park looking for fun, sun and sand.

Saum stated each of the summer mini-camps as well as the activities scheduled are age appropriate. Activities range from crafts and kayaking to geocaching, stream stomps and fishing.

On July 8 and 9 between 9 a.m. and noon, children age 4 and 5 can experience “Wonders of Nature.” Saum will teach these campers about bugs and flowers on a hike, sing songs, play games and make crafts.

Children age 6 to 8 are invited to participate in “Water World” between 9 a.m. and noon on June 24 and 25. Campers will be introduced to the lives of insects, plants and animals that are interconnected with a water habitat. The program includes plenty of hands-on, outdoor activities.

“Nature Adventures,” for campers age 9 to 12, offers a firsthand experience in activities such as birding, kayaking, hiking, digital photography, geocaching and stream studies. Two stations will be offered daily between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on July 15 and 16.

Saum stated camps are limited to 10 to 15 participants. However, if there is a high demand for a particular age group, additional minicamps could be added to the schedule. Cost is $15 per child.

Parents and guardians are also welcome to attend the DiscoverE camps along with their children. All in attendance are reminded to dress appropriately and wear proper footwear.

Registration can be made online at www.dcnr.state.pa.us or through the park office at 717-485- 3948.

In addition to the Gap offering summer mini-camps, additional activities are available to help get your kids connected with nature. Self-guided DiscoverE activity booklets are available at the Brightbill Interpretive Center, and Beach Club awards are available for children who attend 15 different activities at the beach or nature center and one park program.

Information about these and other summer activities at the Gap can be obtained by calling the park office or e-mailing Saum at NRCowansEEPrograms@state.pa. us.

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