May 16, 2011

Few spots remain open for Eco U nature camp

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- There are still a few spots open for this summer's Eco U experiential youth nature camp at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

Children entering grades two-seven in the fall can enjoy one or more of the four different weeklong hands-on camp adventures in June and July. Each session has a different theme centering around ecological experiences, giving the children a better understanding of the world around them through fun, creative activities, according to Kate Hellgren, environmental education program coordinator and Eco U camp director.

The Eco U 2011 camp schedule includes:

• Animal Adventures, June 13-17: Mammals, reptiles, bugs and birds are amazing creatures- no matter where you find them!

• Survival 101, June 20-24: Learn how Native Americans used the land to meet all of their basic survival needs.

• Wonderful Water, June 27-July 1: This is your chance to explore the totally different world found in water.

• Planet Earth, July 5-8: Discover planet Earth and how you can protect it and help make it a healthier place.

Registration is $185 per week for the first three camps and $148 for Planet Earth, the final camp, which is four days long because of the Independence Day holiday. Children can participate in all four camps and save $40.

The camp is from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Parents may bring children to the camp, about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. Or, they can save time and gas taking advantage of the free, supervised bus transportation each day from the SIU Arena parking lot to Touch of Nature. The bus leaves at 8 a.m. and returns about 4:30 p.m. and there is supervision for children only during that period, so parents should adhere to the timelines.

Campers should bring sack lunches each day. They can purchase Eco U T-shirts for $10.

There is a limit of 40 campers per session so organizers recommend early registration. For more information, or to sign up for Eco U, call 618/453-1121 or look online at