Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A day at camp

Down along Beaver Creek
Yesterday was my first day of adventure camp for this season. For me, camp means spending a day with kids down on Beaver Creek at the bottom of Roundtop Mtn. I show them how to catch crayfish and frogs and salamanders and anything else they can find, and I get to spend the day outside.
The weather yesterday proved fine for the event. The early morning was cloudy, not always the best for crayfish catching, but the kids still found some. The groups that arrived after noon when the weather was sunny caught crayfish faster than I could keep up with how many they caught. I’m sure they found at least 30.
The kids caught the same poor pickerel frog three times. It had a damaged toe, so I know it was the same one. I kept releasing it after each group of kids left so it wouldn’t get stressed, and the next group of kids kept catching it. The crayfish ranged in size from nearly invisible to big enough to eat. The kids were also much impressed by the sheer ugliness of the hellgrammite, the aquatic larva of the dobsonfly.

The idea of the camp is to get kids outside and interested in something other than video games. I don’t have each group long enough to actually teach them very much. I consider it a good session if the kids have fun and get to see and catch a variety of stream denizens. My hope is that their fun will translate into wanting to do something outdoorsy another time and maybe another and then yet again.


Cathy said...

I hope they don't find a snake. You'll have bedlam real quick.

Carolyn H said...

Cathy: Yes, I probably would have bedlam if they found a snake. I've only seen one at this spot and that was last year. I don't know what that one was. I only know it disappeared so far I never got enough of a look at it to ID it. I think the thing was scared to death!

Scott said...

You're right, Carolyn. It's tough to teach the kids anything in only an hour or so, but it certainly opens their eyes to another world and maybe at least some of them will get "hooked" and come back and flip over rocks again--or even turn into naturalists!

Alas, our creek doesn't have hellgramites. It's either too impaired in terms of water quality, or they just don't occur in this part of the Piedmont.