Crow’s Nest Camp: Week Five
By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager. Photos by Pete Smyrl and Daniel Barringer.
The fifth week of camp is the oldest group and therefore we run a different kind of program. These campers know the preserve well and are comfortable in the outdoors so we try to tie our work at Crow’s Nest Preserve to conservation throughout the region. We visit other Natural Lands preserves and the Schuylkill River that flows through some of our core project areas.
We begin with a kayak trip on Scott’s Run Lake at French Creek State Park followed by a trip to the Schuylkill River. This year we stayed in the canal due to high water. After the trip all of the equipment is cleaned (above) before being transferred to another preserve—we don’t want inadvertently to transfer plants or aquatic critters between water bodies.
Above, the campers who are “graduating” from our program. The camp movie contains “throwback” footage of them from their many years at Crows’ Nest. They will have opportunities to continue a relationship with the preserve as we offer various teen programs and volunteer days.
This week of camp has an emphasis on service so that the kids have a chance to make improvements for future campers. Above and below, the kids built a raised bed for a future pollinator garden. The plastic lumber edging will make maintenance easier because turf grass won’t tend to creep into the wildflower planting.
Other service projects included building a giant bird’s nest for the play area, and adding gravel and wood chips to muddy paths. Even the field trip to Cheslen Preserve included some trail maintenance there.
Crow’s Nest camp is the combined effort of many staff and volunteers. Pictured below are Daniel Barringer, Molly Smyrl, Pete Smyrl, Eloise Smyrl, Serena Hertzog, Erin Smith, Aubrey Smith. Many others contributed time toward a day, a week, or more of the camp including staff loaned from other Natural Lands preserves: Cody Hudgens, Tom Levendusky, and Sean Quinn. We also benefitted from several teen volunteers: Garrett Bland, Samantha Homburg, and Genevieve MacFarlane. Thanks to all! And thank you to all the parents who send their kids to Crow’s Nest Camp.