Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Natural Education Weekend

Registration Open for November Event at Camp Bayou

A Natural Education Weekend is a 3 day event, held over the Veteran's Day weekend, for families to learn how to have fun in the outdoors while thinking and acting responsibly.  
The format of the weekend is similar to a conference, with 45 minute sessions, meals, social hour and keynote but the feel of it is more like a family summer camp.

There will be a Camping 101 afternoon on Friday, with the opportunity for 10 'clueless camper' families to stay overnight in tents at Camp Bayou. Reservations are taken on a first come- first serve basis and are approved as registration forms and fees come in. 

Other activities offered during the weekend include a fishing clinic, nature journalism, a number of sessions for wildlife walks/wades focusing on different nature subjects, plus classroom sessions on subjects ranging from flora to fauna. Sunday is field trip day with 4 options for folks to choose from to round out their weekend, including a guided tour of Emerson Point Preserve with Around the Bend Tours, a 'Green Tour' of HCC SouthShore and a Fossil Trip to Peace River.

Schedule and registration form are available on the blog which includes options for camping, weekend sessions/meals and/or field trip- Registration forms are also available at Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center during our regular hours of operation, Thursday- Saturday, 9am-2pm. 

This event is part of a Be Out There!, Get Outdoors Florida!, "Let's GO"- Children and NatureNo Child Left Inside, and Let's Move Outside inspired initiative. Partners in this event include Hillsborough County Community College's South Shore Campus, West- Central League of Environmental Educators in Florida, Firehouse Cultural Center, and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Services. Sponsors include Cargill and Publix. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact Dolly at 813-363-5438 or for more information.

Camp Bayou is nether a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the RCDF offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks.

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public- private partnership between the non-profit Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at or call 813-641-8545. 


Picture: Family programs are a key component of A Natural Education Weekend. 

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