SRU offering summer day camps for children to experience nature

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Kids learning about soil

Attendees at a “Let’s Get Growing” program learn about nutrient-rich soils as part of a summer day camp hosted by Slippery Rock University’s Macoskey Center for Sustainability Education and Research.

June 15, 2022

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — School's out for summer, but day camps are in at Slippery Rock University. SRU's Macoskey Center for Sustainability Education and Research, along with the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center, are hosting various summer day camps for children ages 7-12. This year marks the first time in more than 20 years that the Macoskey Center is hosting regular summer day camps.

"This gives kids hands-on opportunities to be out in the natural world but in a structured setting ," said Sami Laurence, manager of the Macoskey Center. "Developing a relationship with nature is proven to lead to more conservation and sustainability outcomes in their future and it's also healthy for the kids to be away from their phones, video games and screens by getting outside."

The Macoskey Center is hosting four sets of three-day camps, 8 a.m. to noon daily, June 27-29, July 11-13, July 25-27 and Aug. 8-10. There are also separate daylong camps, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., July 18 and Aug. 1, where kids spend the mornings with horses at Storm Harbor and the afternoon exploring the grounds at the Macoskey Center, learning from staff and playing games. The Macoskey Center consists of the education center, barn, gardens and hiking trails on an 83-acre homestead at 247 Harmony Road.

Kids in camp

Cost is $90 per camper for each camp, both the three-day sessions and the daylong camps, with family discounts for siblings.

Programming for the Macoskey Center camps include:

  • "Farm to Fork: Let's Get Growing!," July 27-29, in which campers learn how to plant and care for gardens.
  • "Farm to Fork: Let's Get Cooking!," July 11-13, in which campers learn how to make tasty treats using ingredients grown at the center's gardens.
  • "Nature Explorers: Into the Wild," July 25-27, in which campers explore the trails at the center and learn about the animals that live there.
  • "Plein Air Creators: Nature Art," Aug. 8-10, in which campers create art using materials found in nature, including edible herbal wreaths, as well as planters made from "upcycled" tires.

The July 18 and Aug. 1 afternoon programming at the Macoskey Center is similar to the "Let's Get Cooking!" and "Nature Explorers," respectively, after campers spend the morning at Storm Harbor. The first of the daylong camps occurred, June 13, with 10 campers learning about growing. Spots are limited and registration and full descriptions for the half-day camps is available online. To register for the remaining daylong camps, July 18 and Aug. 1, contact Storm Harbor at 724.738.4010 or stormharbor@sru.edu.

All camps are led by Macoskey Center staff, which consists of two SRU graduate assistants and seven undergraduate students.

Laurence

   LAURENCE

"Another benefit of hosting these camps is it gives our students more experience teaching and being involved with environmental education," Laurence said. "Many of them are interested in this as a career and we want to get them involved and provide them this opportunity. During the summer, we have more capacity to offer programming geared toward kids, whereas other parts of the year it's usually for the general public or college-student audiences."

The Macoskey Center was recently recognized by the Bartramian Audubon Society for its "outstanding environmental contributions and achievement in conservation and sustainability by a regional organization." Offering summer camps further enhances its profile and fulfills its mission.

"This totally aligns with our big vision to inspire and create a more just and sustainable future," Laurence said. "Parts of our mission are providing education and demonstrations, as well as mutually beneficial partnerships, and this is where we can really enter into that, especially with our partnership with the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center."

More information about the Macoskey Center is available on the SRU website, or by contacting the center at 724.738.4050 or macoskey.center@sru.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |   justin.zackal@sru.edu