Summer Spotlight: Blue Hills Summer Camp
Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Summer Camp provides nature experiences close to home.
Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Summer Camp meets through August 26 atop Chickatawbut Hill. Up to 70 preschoolers through teenagers participate in the nature programs in one- or two-week sessions. The eight counselors (college students and young adults) and several counselors in training help guide campers through a variety of activities focused on the great outdoors.
When campers arrive at 9 a.m., they meet in a big field that overlooks the Boston skyline, and play tag or circle games until about 10, when they break for a snack. Groups then head out onto the trails, exploring a new spot in the Blue Hills each day. Some campers return for lunch, while others eat on the trail.
After lunch, the youngest campers (Chickadees, ages 4.5 – 6) have a story time, and campers participate in an arts and crafts activity in keeping with the theme of the week. One recent theme, according to camp director Martha Flower, had a different spin on a familiar acronym.
“It was CSI: Critter Scene Investigation,” said Flower. “Campers might find the remains of an animal, and use their observation skills to determine what it was, how it died and who ate it. Or they might find tracks and use their detective skills to learn about the animal and its interactions with the environment.”
One special event is the “Journey Day,” when campers go through a time machine built by the counselors in training. Participants go to different stations to explore animal history or learn about Native Americans who lived in the Blue Hills in lessons led by costumed CITs.
Flower said that the camp’s location and access to the Trailside Museum make it a unique experience for young people.
“We are on the top of (Chickatawbut) Hill,” said Flower, “and you get a different perspective there. You can see Boston, you can see the Harbor. There are so many trails and places to explore.”
Campers had the chance this summer to see a hatchling great horned owl just learning to fly, and a red-tailed fox hunting small animals like chipmunks in the field. But even campers who might have missed those encounters with nature get the opportunity to see wildlife up close.”
“If campers don’t find wildlife on the trails, we bring it to them from the Museum,” Flower said.