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!
EARLY BIRDER SPECIAL: $50 off registration (per week) now through April 30th or until spots fill up!
July 3 - 7 ~ Can You Dig It? & Pollinators & Friends
*Camp will end early (1pm) on July 4th*
Come discover all the busy life that happens below our feet as well as discover who our local pollinators are, why they are so important, and how we can help support them! Campers will explore a different terrain in the 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. It will also include visits to the neighborhood community garden, Forest Sanctuary, and parks where campers will learn about the anatomy of flowers and the bees, butterflies, birds, and other animals that pollinate them. 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?
July 10 - 14 ~ Hudson Homes & All About Birds
Come discover the many different habitats of the Kingston waterfront and the birds that live there! 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 also 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 how to guess what a bird eats by its beak alone. Campers will even get to try their hands at nest building, gaining appreciation for the skill of animal architects.
July 24 - 28 ~ Mushroom Fan Club & Trees are Magic
Come discover the secret life of fungi threaded all through our world and discover the guardians of our planet, the trees! 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. Campers will learn to identify some common trees by leaf or needle, bark, and general shape. We will learn to read local history through tree rings, and discover trees' many methods of seed dispersal through hands-on play. With the aid of simple experiments like fungi growing kits and leaf chromatography, we'll learn about the lifecycles of fungi, from spores all the way to mushrooms and be able to see what pigments leaves contain, making an educated guess as to what colors they will turn in the fall. Through the week we will learn basic skills for mushroom identification, including how to take spore prints with simple materials found at home and consider how we can support both fungi and trees that help support life on Earth!
Who is camp for?
Camp Chicory will welcome up to 9 campers aged 6-10 each week, and is open to children with any level of experience--including none--in outdoor exploration. All that is needed is curiosity and attention. 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 has years of experience fostering 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). This price reflects the true cost of appropriately compensating professional educators, administrative costs, safety trainings, and insurance.
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.
We also offer a sibling discount of 10%. Simply enter SIBLING in the discount code and receive 10% of your second registration. (*Must be the same week)
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!