Crow’s Nest: Family Camp
By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.
As you may have read elsewhere, we are not holding our traditional summer day camps at Crow’s Nest Preserve this year. We are offering up an alternative which offers many of the same experiences in nature for families who will remain socially distanced. Families are signing up for time slots at one of six different spaces on the preserve and at their designated time will borrow from us a bag of items relating to each.
No, it is not the same as having a bunch of wild kids splashing in the stream together, making new friends and renewing old acquaintances. But it was the best we could come up with and keep our staff, volunteers, and camp families safe. And the preserve offers some wonderful opportunities for exploring and for campers to share their knowledge with their families.
I used my Independence Day holiday to scout out some of these activities with our son. First we spent some time under a tree on a blanket reading together. It was an incredibly hot day but the shade and gentle breeze felt amazing. There were a few distractions—Owen found this leaf-footed bug nymph (Acanthocephala terminalis) nearby. And here’s a shout out to BugGuide.net which is good at helping you identify these critters.
Then we went on a hike which included the two bridges over Pine Creek—the log bridge upstream on the boundary with State Game Lands and the wire bridge a little further downstream near the kids’ play area (which also has a picnic table, balance beam, jumping logs, a vine house, and tic tac toe game).
Since we also probably won’t be going to the beach this year there was some interest in making drip castles. Fortunately this is something that you can do in a couple places along the shores of Pine Creek and French Creek at the preserve.
Along the way we met Aubrey who was weed whipping trails in preparation for Family Camp as well as planting some donated trees in the kids’ play area.
Feel free to use the preserve for your own summer camp-style experiences, and please contact us to share your ideas or ask for guidance. Keep in mind that you may run into other families who are also engaged in these activities and so please maintain social distancing while here.