Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Learn about nature by being there

ERC is offering “wild” camps

Express Staff Writer

Kids looking for an outdoor learning experience this summer can attend the Environmental Resource Center's Overnight Adventures.

Overnight camps are open to fourth- through seventh-graders and take place at the scenic Central Idaho 4H camp at Prairie Creek, 18 miles north of Ketchum. The ERC has other offerings for children up to age 18.

Overnight adventures

To survive the mountains, you must know the mountains. During the week of July 18-22, children will learn how to seek and build shelters, and navigate with a map and compass. They'll track animals, safely obtain water, explore various uses for native plants and more. It costs $350.

From July 25-29, children will learn the relationship between geology and hydrology, study the anatomy of a river and explore the water's inhabitants. The adventure will culminate with a half-day rafting trip on the Salmon River with White Cloud Rafting. The week costs $430.

Later to bed, later to rise, and time to prowl the nocturnal world. From Aug. 8-12, children will use the daylight hours to learn about animals' adaptations to the dark. After sunset, children will stake out locations where animals may lurk at night and experiment with their night vision and hearing. The week costs $350.

Day and evening adventures for families

The ERC will once again offer Wild Lunch, a series of nature-education day camps during the Hunger Coalition's Summer Lunch Connections at Woodside Elementary School.

The program is open to ages 1-18, but children under 10 need to be accompanied by a caretaker over 15. Learn about the plants and animals that share the Wood River Valley. Wild Lunch is free and offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 14 to July 7.

The ERC will bring Wild Connections to the Sun Valley Summer Symphony again this summer, creating a fun and educational setting where children can connect with nature, freeing parents to connect with the concert. Wild Connections will be on the lawn at the Pavilion on Aug. 3, 4 and 16. It's open to ages 5-13. Call the Sun Valley Summer Symphony office at 622-5607, ext. 12.

The beaver has been called the most intelligent animal, aside from humans, for the ways in which it alters its surroundings.

During Thursday evenings from June 30 to Aug. 18, children will learn more about this amazing animal, and—with a little luck—see beavers in action. Get to know the largest rodent in North America. ERC members can attend for free, but nonmember families must pay $25. Register by calling 726-4333.

Come explore the Big Wood River on Aug. 5 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children and adults are invited to discover river ecology through hands-on exploration and learn more about the many plants and animals that depend on this aquatic wonderland for survival. ERC members can attend for free, but nonmember families must pay $25. Registration requested by calling 726-4333.

As a side note, the ERC is a beneficiary of the famous Back Alley Concerts at The Wicked Spud in Hailey. The 29 concerts will raise money for the EcoCamp scholarship fund. In 2010, half the campers attended EcoCamp on scholarship. Join the party, buy a raffle ticket, have fun and send a kid to camp.

For more details, visit or call the ERC at 726-4333.

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