Eco-Camp

Here at Berks Nature, we believe nature is essential to our quality of life. Our annual summer Eco-Camp is the perfect way to pass that value down to your child/children. We’re excited to welcome campers back this summer for another season of exploration, learning, fun and nature-play at The Nature Place at Angelica Park!

2020 Eco-Camp

Registration is now open for Eco-Camp!

Please note, all registration must be done online. Secure your child’s place and register them today through our easy, online portal.

Become a Berks Nature member today to receive a 10% discount on full-day camp fees through the duration of the summer! *10% discount applies only to FULL-DAY camp registration.

Full-day Eco-Camp begins at 9am and runs until 4pm. If you choose our half-day option, you can expect to drop your camper off at 9 and pick them up at noon.

Berks Nature’s Eco-Camp is led by a team of veteran teachers, supported by members of our staff. Click here to get to know the camp leaders your child will be working with, and then meet the Berks Nature staff.

With more than 25-years of middle school science teaching experience under his belt, Mr. Dave (Dave Renninger) has served as a camp co-director for the past three years. Joining him again is Miss Anne (Anne Muvdi), director of Nature Preschool at The Nature Place. An elementary teacher for several years, Anne has a masters degree in education and her Administrative Degree. Together, Dave and Anne will coordinate the camp curriculum and schedules, as well as facilitate and lead our campers’ learning.

We’re looking forward to another fun summer of Eco-Camp!
Among the new and exciting things to look out for this summer:

A special Eco-Camp sleepover at The Nature Place on Aug. 6th!

• Hot dog parties around the fire pit!

• Visits from Critter Connection, BAMBA, Red Creek Wildlife Center, and more!

• Back again, our popular bike week (July 6th – 10th) ending with a fun ride and sweet treat at Scoupe DeVille Ice Cream Shop!


Each week, the following age groups will be offered:

Preschool: Ages 3 (potty-trained) to Kindergarten (5 years old)
This group will have their own preschool director and instructors, separate from the older campers.

Grades 1st – 3rd and 4th – 6th:
First through 3rd grade will form the second camp group, followed by grades 4-6.

** Campers will be grouped according to age on excursions. Please note: scheduled trips, special group visits, and activities may be altered, changed or even cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.


Eco-Camp 2020 Themes and Full-Day Fees

Prices listed are per camper, per week, and reflect the extension activities planned for campers in grades 3-8 that week. Don’t want to send your child for a full day of camp? We offer half-day, morning Eco-Camp at a rate of $135/week per child (preschool through kindergarten) and $125/week per child (1st through 6th grade). Before and after care available at $25/each, a.m. and p.m., per week.

*10% discount applies only to FULL-DAY camp registration.

Week 1: Wacky Science, Science Exploration
(June 8th – 12th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $215/per camper ages 6-12
Come learn the ways you can create with everyday household products! We will mix up interesting ingredients and experiment with all-natural elements of the earth at Berks Nature.
Ages 3-5: This age group will get their hands into doing the fun experiments
as well as observing some of the crazy chemical reactions that will occur in each experiment each day.
Ages 6-7: As like the ages 3-5, this group will also do the same each day. All the campers will explore and learn how some of the everyday experiments work and look.
Ages 8-10: The campers will experience some of the same experiments as the other age groups but will also create some of their own all week long. The idea will be to create an experiment using natural materials and explain it to their friends.                                                                                    Ages 11-12: Besides watching and doing some of the really cool experiments, this age group will also explore making their own experiments and creating some new inventions in nature.

Week 2: Scales, Skin, and Creepy Crawlers (Amphibians/Reptiles)
(June 15th – 19th)

$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
Be on the lookout for amphibians and reptiles that call this place home as you enter Berks Nature this week! We will dig deep into the soil and into Angelica creek with nets to discover the creepiest crawlers and macroinvertebrates. You will learn the benefits of these creatures, what they eat, best time of year to find them and much more!                        Visitor: Critter Connection                                                                              Special Excursion: Lehigh Valley Zoo                                                              Ages 3-5: The campers will explore the wetlands to find and identify reptiles and amphibians that live in the wetlands. They will be able to make a habitat that is suitable for these creatures and observe them every day of the week.
Ages 6-7: The campers will explore the wetlands and find reptiles and amphibians but will also explore ways that these little critters made this their home. This age group too will be able to create a habitat that will allow them to observe the living things they find all week.
Ages 8-10: This group of campers will walk the wetlands and find these reptiles and amphibians but will also explore what these critters need to stay alive in their everyday lives. As they learn these important needs, campers will be able to identify why some of these live creatures cannot live at Berks Nature all year round.                                                                           Ages 11-12: The campers of this group will explore the wetlands to discover the reptiles and amphibians but will also discover how the wetlands are extremely important to these organisms. They will also find ways to help these critters stay safe from humans and our negative impact on them and their habitats. This group of campers will also learn the six basic characteristics of all living things.                                                                        *All age groups will participate in an interactive hands-on reptile show at Berks Nature with real live reptiles and amphibians.                                      **Ages 6-12 will be permitted to go on the field trip to the Lehigh Valley Zoo.

Week 3: Creature Count – What Lives Where?
(June 22nd – 26th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
This week we’re keeping count of the different varieties of creatures we find at Berks Nature, Earl Poole Sanctuary, and on Neversink Mountain! Explore and use your imagination to write stories, take pictures, and even create videos about your experience.                                                           Special Excursion: Earl Poole Sanctuary and Neversink Mountain (two preserves that Berks Nature owns and manages!)                                                  Ages 3-5: The campers will find all sorts of interesting tiny organisms that live in the wetlands. Once they find these living things, they will then count them and sort them into different categories using pictures. This group will be introduced to different habitats and what a habitat needs to survive.
Ages 6-7: The campers will learn about the different types of habitats that the living things call home in Angelica. They will also create a tally sheet of the varieties we find and categorize them on a chart.
Ages 8-10: These campers will explore the different areas of the wetlands and discover the different types of habitats that are homes for the living organisms. They will associate the creatures to their preferred habitat and what would happen if they are removed from their habitat.                              Ages 11-12: This group will explore and learn about habitats and the overall
ecosystems that are in the wetlands and surrounding areas. Then the campers will discover ways we can help the biotic (living) and abiotic (nonliving) things stay balanced in nature in the wetlands. Can humans walk nature without “leaving a trace” that we were there? We will find out.

Week 4: Pedaling the Trails, Bike Week
(July 6th – 10th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $215/per camper ages 6-12
Hop on your bike and head to Berks Nature for this fun week of bike riding and learning about bike maintenance from the experts themselves! A popular week for bikers of all ages, everyone will be pros by the end of the week and ready for our big ride to Scoupe DeVille Ice Cream Shop in
Birdsboro.                                                                                                            Visitor: Berks Area Mountain Biking Association (John Pacharis)                      Ages 3-5: The tricycles and little bikes will be flying around the wetlands and paved areas. This will be a great chance for your young child to learn more about biking and safety of biking. It is a necessity for your son/daughter to have their bike, scooter, tricycle, or other type of transportation for this week.
Ages 6-7: As this group of campers arrive, they will be taught ways to be safe on a bike, learn the street rules of biking, and take bike rides according to their ability to ride a bike of any sort.
Ages 8-10: The campers will be learning more detailed safety and rules on bikes as well as taking longer bike hikes with their leaders.                               Ages 11-12: The group will be involved with longer rides and more in-depth
learning about bike safety and some minor repair work to be done while on
a bike ride.

Week 5: The New “R” – Repurpose, things to do with our junk and trash
(July 13th – 17th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
This week, campers will learn all about the new “R” – repurpose! Thinking about questions like where does our trash go and how can we reuse it will be the theme, ending the week with our very own “Shark Tank” contest of who can create and repurpose a product that could be sold to use! Campers will even get to take their new creations home. The week also includes our infamous egg drop!                                                                                                       Special Excursion: Pioneer Landfill (landfill/recycle center)                      Ages 3-5: The campers will trace the path that takes place once the trash leaves our hands in our home. They will create their own junk art with all sorts of things that they may usually find in the trash. This group will be engaged in many hands-on activities to learn about the theme.
Ages 6-7: This group will do the same as the 3-5 year old.
Ages 8-10: The kids in this group will do the same as the younger campers but then will also figure out a plan on how to help their community to reduce, reuse, and recycle.                                                                                    Ages 11-12: The kids in this group will do the same as the 8-10 group but will also write an action plan that will help their community, they live in to stop wasting materials. They will invite the Berks Nature Board to come and hear their ideas at the end of the week.

Week 6: Let’s Take a Hike, Angelica and Beyond Outdoor Adventures
(July 20th – 24th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
From easy walks to more vigorous hikes, campers will get out in the woods this week – here and at Hawk Mountain! Push your limits and see how far you can dive into the woods, all while exploring the creatures and habitat around us and how humans and animals use them!                                      Visitor: Evan Corondi from Berks County Conservation District                        Special Excursion: Hawk Mountain                                                                    Ages 3-5: The campers in this group will hike at their own ability level in and around the wetlands. They will create tree rubbings, leaf rubbings, and observe what lives in the different types of trees.
Ages 6-7: Like the younger campers, they will be hiking in and around the wetlands and doing similar activities as the 3-5 age group.
Ages 8-10: This group will learn how to hike and what things they need to take with them. As they hike in different areas, the campers will learn about the trees and why they live and do well in that area. It will be a time for the kids to be involved with using their senses to learn about the different areas hiked.                                                                                                                            Ages 11-12: This group will learn how to hike and what things they need to take with them. In addition, they will learn about the history in the areas they hike each day. This group of campers will also learn about edible plants found in nature as well as some geology in the area they are hiking.

Week 7: Finding and Making Tracks, fishing, archery and tracking
(July 27th – 31st)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
Fishing, archery and tracking are the theme for this week! Campers will learn how to fish, shoot a bow and arrow, as well as track animals through tracks and scat to learn where and what kinds of animals live in Berks County!                                                                                                                          Visitor: Andrew Desko; PA Fish and Boat Commission                                Visitor: Dan Lynch; PA Game Commission                                                    Special Excursion: Fishing and fun at Blue Marsh Lake                                    Ages 3-5: These campers will learn about the different types of fish that are found in our creek. They will practice their fishing skills by using a practice fishing rod. They will also learn about the animals in our area as well and how they survive by using camouflage.
Ages 6-7: Same as the 3-5 year old.
Ages 8-10: This group of campers will practice their fishing skills with the rods as well as shoot a bow and arrow. They will learn about tracking animals and set up a tracking system during the day to find who lives in Berks Nature at night.                                                                                                 Ages 11-12: This age group will practice their fishing skills, shoot a bow and arrow and track animals. These campers will draw a map of the wetlands and track what types of animals live in what area of the wetlands. They will try to identify if there is a particular reason for where they live in the wetlands and surrounding areas.

Week 8: Camping but Leaving No Trace (and a sleepover!)
(August 3rd – 7th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
Leave No Trace! Campers will venture out into the woods to pitch a tent, set up camp, and eat what they pack – all while making sure we take out what we brought in. The Leave No Trace Program will teach campers everything they need to know about how to survive in the woods without leaving a mark.                                                                                                                              Special Event: Sleepover at Berks Nature (Thursday, August 6th – Friday, August 7th)                                                                                                          Special Excursion: Nolde Forest (simulation of where and how to set up a camp)                                                                                                                            Ages 3-5: The campers in this age group will learn how to survive in the wetlands. They will pitch a tent and figure out what they need to do when out in the woods for long periods of time.
Ages 6-7: Same as the younger kids in the 3-5 ages. This group will also learn how to draw a trail map and use it in the area.
Ages 8-10: This group will learn more about the idea of how to survive with a minimal amount of materials and items packed in a backpack. They will also take a small hike practicing what they learned about packing their backpack and using what is in it.                                                                            Ages 11-12: This age group will do the same as the 8-10 group but will be more aggressive in what they are going to find in the woods and how they would survive using minimal materials provided prior to their hikes. This group will learn about outdoor first aid as well as outdoor and hiking hazards and practice it all on their daily hikes.

Week 9: All About Raptors and Bats
(August 10th – 14th)
$250/per camper ages 3-5, $235/per camper ages 6-12
Real life Raptors? Yes, please! In this very popular week, campers will get to see and learn about raptors as Red Creek brings in a real live raptor. Dr. Campbell will come and teach us about bats and their habits as well. Come learn about all different birds of prey and how they live here!                         Visitor: Karen Campbell – Albright College Professor                                            Visitor: Red Creek Wildlife Center (Peggy Hentz)                                                Ages 3-5: The campers in this age group will be able to be up close to observe wild animals that Red Creek brings to the Berks Nature camp. Each and every day will be a different lesson on a different wild animal that is brought to The Nature Place. There will be hands-on activities and crafts for this age group as well.
Ages 6-7: The campers will learn about the different types of raptors and bats found in the wetlands. They will be able to observe the animals up close like the age 3-5 group.
Ages 8-10: The campers will identify signs of raptors and or bats in our wetlands by using simple made equipment to help them. This group will get a chance to see the live animals up close too.                                                   Ages 11-12: With the help of the professionals this group will help center
and focus on helping raptors that are in trouble and need help. There may be some service opportunities this week at camp. This group of campers will get a chance to observe the animals up close.


Eco-Camp FAQ

Access the 2020 Eco-Camp Handbook by clicking HERE!

Location
Berks Nature Eco-Camp is held at The Nature Place, located at 575 St. Bernardine Street, Reading, PA 19607- in beautiful Angelica Creek Park.

Ages
Preschool age 3 (potty-trained) – Grade 6 age 12.

Time
Full-day Eco-Camp begins at 9am and runs until 4pm. If you choose our half-day option, you can expect to drop your camper off at 9 and pick them up at noon.

Snacks & Meals
Campers should bring their own lunch. Some snacks are provided.

Scholarships
A limited number of full and partial scholarships are available, based on need and available funding. Financial information and documentation is required for consideration.
Download our 2020-Eco-Camp-Scholarship-Application HERE!

Morning & Afternoon Extended Care
Available to all campers for $25 each/per week.  
Morning Extended Care: Monday – Friday, Drop-off: 7:30-8:45am
Afternoon Extended Care: Monday – Friday, Pick-up: 4:15 pm – 5:3 pm
Pre-registration and payment are required for before and aftercare.

*10% discount applies only to FULL-DAY camp registration.

For more information, contact Berks Nature at 610-372-4992 x100. 

Berks Nature Eco-Camp is run by Berks Nature Education Programs, LLC.