If you’ve never seen a butterfly or dragonfly spread its wings for the first time, you’ll amazed to see how sensitive those first unfurling moments are. And if you have seen it, you know that moment happens only once in a lifetime; for as soon as they can, they fly away on those wings.
Biocitizen’s Wings program is designed to teach your child what “place” is, by giving them vivid experiences of it in outdoor classrooms, and equipping them with the space and the concepts to capture and dwell upon what they discover.
A typical day includes a van ride to the day’s location, a hike, a swim and an adventure (as well as lunch and snacks whenever hunger strikes), and a hike back out followed by a van ride back home. Throughout that flow is a lot of sharing of information, both about the location and its inhabitants and about the many little things that come up throughout the day based on campers’ observations and questions. There are not a lot of rules or set schedules in comparison to other more traditional “nature camps,” but the freedom leads to deeper, curiosity-driven learning and a greater sense of accomplishment when success happens.
We are extremely pleased to have Robin Morgan Huntley, who writes the wonderful Nature’s Table blog for Hilltown Families, directing our Wings program this summer. She has a few words to share about it:
In my experience, Wings tend to exist as their own tiny universes within a space – making their own decisions about what to zoom in on (or not), and exploring or playing together when interests overlap and parting ways when they don’t. Once we reach our destination, campers tend to gravitate on their own towards whatever activity or space seems most interesting – meaning that there are few moments when the group needs to decide together on what to do. The ratio of adults and CITs to campers almost guarantees that campers will be able to explore whatever they feel they need to (within reason, of course!), so I’m hopeful that your child will feel comfortable pursuing their own curiosities or ideas without needing to negotiate plans with others first.
SO—Wing sessions are designed for younger campers who want to explore awesome places, & learn and have fun, without being forced to go on hikes that are too long and hard. The general, but not strict, age is from 6 to 10.
Wings move softly through forests, fields and rivers, and are encouraged to perceive how these places “open up” to those who are sensitive—i.e., “able to sense.” Expect 1/2 to 2 miles of hiking a day.
In the field, Wings learn:
—Basic principles of soil, forest, wetland, pond, river ecology
—Basic principles of geology
—Names and ways of local plants, fungi, insects and animals
—Cultural history including architecture and patterns of human inhabitation
—Stream Crawling & River Walking
—in toto: the dynamic biophysical characteristics of the five ecoregions of the Nonotuck Biome, and the East Branch of the Westfield River
—Parents pack camper’s food and water, and dress them in weather-appropriate clothing. River-walking shoes are required; Keens are the best.
—Each Wings and Sharpshins session runs M-F, 9am-3pm, except the week of 4th of July.
—Drop off and pick-up are at Sheldon Field in Northampton.
Cost: Each Wings session costs $310.00; the one exception is the 4th of July 4-day Tues.-Thurs. Wings session, which is $250.
If you would like to reserve a spot for your child, please use the paypal link and indicate the week and session you are interested in. You will receive a reservation confirmation and the registration materials; registration is complete when Biocitizen receives by postal mail your completed registration forms.