At Camp Chicory, budding naturalists will spend their days outside, immersed in the diverse ecology of the Rondout Creek and surrounding areas in Kingston, NY. Through age-appropriate, hands-on exploration led by knowledgeable environmental educators, campers will learn about different components that make up our ecosystem each week, including habitats, soil, waterways, flora, fauna, funga, and more. Threaded through all the weeks will be a child-friendly introduction to the idea of stewardship, with a focus on how our actions impact our fellow creatures and the land. Nurturing each child's natural curiosity about the world around them is our goal!
Week 1 ~ June 26 - 30 ~ Pollinators & Friends
Come discover who our local pollinators are, why they are so important, and how we can help support them! Through daily visits to the neighborhood community garden, Forest Sanctuary, and parks, campers will learn about the anatomy of flowers and the bees, butterflies, birds, and other animals that pollinate them. We will even try our hands at pollinating flowers ourselves and see how much work it would be without our friendly neighborhood pollinators!
Week 2 ~ July 3 - 7 ~ Can You Dig It?
Come discover all the busy life that happens below our feet! Campers will explore a different terrain of neighborhood each day to take soil samples and sift through, learning hands-on about the bugs, worms, other invertebrates, plant roots and mycelium we find. This week will include some basic microscopy, and the chance to observe soil dwellers too small to see with the naked eye. We'll conduct fun and easy experiments to learn about soil chemistry and answer the question: What makes soil healthy, and why is healthy soil important for all?
Week 3 ~ July 10 - 14 ~ Hudson Homes
Come discover the many different habitats of the Kingston waterfront! Campers will explore various habitats, from forested to riparian to the estuary watershed of the Hudson itself. We will explore what makes a good home for different creatures, from the thousands of species that may call a single oak tree home, down to a tiny caddisfly larva that gathers trash from stream beds to make its house. Campers will even get to try their hands at nest building, gaining appreciation for the skill of animal architects.
Week 4 ~ July 17 - 21 ~ All About Birds
Come discover the amazing world of birds! Campers will learn to identify common birds by sight and song while exploring different avian habitats. We'll learn why birds come in so many shapes, colors and patterns, and even how to guess what a bird eats by its beak alone. Through hands-on experiments we'll learn about adaptations for flight and the engineering in a single feather. Through the week we'll focus on how our actions can either help or hurt the health of bird populations worldwide.
Week 5 ~ July 24 - 28 ~ Mushroom Fan Club
Come discover the secret life of fungi threaded all through our world! Campers will foray in both forested and grassy areas of the neighborhood, learning to identify signs of fungal life from mycelium to mushrooms, and explore their relationships with plants and animals. With the aid of mushroom growing kits we'll learn about the lifecycles of fungi, and even learn how to take spore prints for mushroom identification.
Week 6 ~ July 31 - Aug 4 ~ Trees Are Magic
Come discover the guardians of our planet, the trees! Campers will learn to identify common trees by leaf/needle and bark, read our local history through tree rings, and learn about trees' many methods of seed dispersal through hands-on play. Through simple experiments like leaf chromatography, campers will be able to see what pigments leaves contain, and make a guess at what colors they will turn in the fall. Through the week we'll consider how we can support the trees that help support life on Earth!
Who is camp for?
Camp Chicory will welcome up to 12 campers aged 6-10 each week, and is open to children with any level of experience--including none--in outdoor exploration. For younger campers, bear in mind we will be doing a fair amount of walking/hiking (up to 2 miles over the course of the day) in a variety of weather conditions. For older campers, leadership opportunities will be available, as well as time to explore their independent interests more deeply.
When is camp?
Camp Chicory runs weekly, M-F, from June 26th till August 4th. Drop off is at 9am, and regular pickup is at 3pm. Aftercare is available for an additional charge, see FAQs for details.
Where does camp happen?
Why choose Camp Chicory?
We are a small, fledgling camp deeply dedicated to providing exciting, genuinely educational experiences in nature to kids from all backgrounds. Our lead educator is Fiona Keating, an ecologist who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the camp, and is committed to fostering an appreciation for the natural world among young people. Choosing Camp Chicory helps support our broader mission, which is reconnecting broken chains of generational knowledge about the natural world and the species with whom we share our daily lives.
How much is camp?
Regular tuition is $375 per week per camper, plus materials (which can either be brought from home or purchased at a 30% discount).
Full and partial scholarships for low-income families will be available on a limited basis, with first preference given to families who identify as BIPOC. To learn more and/or apply, follow the guidelines here.
If you have the means pay extra to help support another family in need, please consider donating to our scholarship fund by sending any amount to paypal.me/chicorynaturalist with the memo "Camp Chicory Fund." All proceeds will be used to create more spaces for low-income families.
Looking for all the details? Check out the FAQ page!