April 14, 2010

Registration under way for Eco U summer camp

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Summer is coming and that means it is time to sign kids up for the ever-popular Eco U summer camp at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Fun, hands-on learning experiences await youths entering grades two-seven this fall during each of the four, weeklong camp sessions. The trained, professional staff members orchestrate innovative activities that provide participants with a heightened ecological awareness and better understanding of the world around them.

“We are so excited to embark on our fourth year of Eco U! Each year gets bigger and better. We’ve reclaimed a fun trail through the woods that leads to a beautiful pond -- new nature settings for inspiring new activities,” said Kate Hellgren, environmental education program coordinator and Eco U camp director.

Hellgren said the camps always draw rave reviews from participants and parents. She said parents commend the camp for its “creative ideas, simulating activities and awesome variety” as well as the way staff interact with diverse groups of children and yet “retain special connections with each child individually.”

Each session of the camp has a different them. Children can attend any number of sessions as each offers different activities and learning experiences.

The cost is $175 per week except for the final session, which costs $140 since it’s a four-day camp. Those participating in all four camp sessions save $40 on registration.

Eco U begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m. each day. Parents can drop children off at the camp, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. Or, drop off the kids at the SIU Arena parking lot by 8 a.m. each day to catch a free bus ride to the camp. The bus will return children to the lot by 4:30 p.m.

Here’s the schedule for Eco U 2010:

• Animal Adventures, June 14-18: Discover that wherever they live, animals are amazing creatures.

• Survival 101, June 21-25: Learn how Native Americans met their basic needs using the land.

• Eco Fun! June 28-July 2: Find our more about planet Earth and how to protect it and make it a healthier place.

• Wonderful Water, July 6-9: There’s a whole different world that exists in the water; learn about it during this session.

Space is limited so sign up soon. Registration is through May 31 or until each camp session is full.

For more information, contact Hellgren at 618/453-1122, ext. 250. To register, call 618/453-1121.

The mission of Touch of Nature Environmental Center is enhancing learning and promoting the professional development of students while providing high quality outdoor educational, research and experiential programs and services to the University and community. The center is on a 3,100-acre plot along Little Grassy Lake.