We had 130 homeschoolers join us for our first 3-day field trip to the Barrier Island Environmental Education Program this November. The campus was beautiful and peaceful. It included nearly one mile of beach, 100 acres of salt marsh, 200 acres of undisturbed maritime forest, freshwater ponds, and a freshwater marsh. The lodge rooms were fine, as were the cabins. Both reflected a "camp" feel - not luxurious, but perfectly adequate for our stay.
So far the feedback I've received has been very positive. Parents and children enjoyed the classes, activities, and even the food (which was surprisingly good!).
Classes were varied and included many topics - mostly dealing with marine science, local barrier island ecology (beach, dunes, estuary, marsh, maritime forest), marine animals, environmentalism, conservation, astronomy, botany, and more. Other than the hands-on aspects of the classes, I especially enjoyed the campfire songs and watching the parents beat the kids in dodge ball. (And I have great pictures to prove it, too!)
The naturalists were great - enthusiastic and knowledgeable (for the most part, depending on experience level) about the topics they were presenting. They worked well with the kids in keeping them engaged and interested in what they were learning. Even though the camp traditionally serves 3rd-8th grades, I've also received good feedback from the parents of our K-2nd graders and high school students.
The weather was great, for the most part. The rain held off until we left, but sometimes the weather got a little cold for us - especially when we were wet from seining, investigating pond life, walking in the marsh, exploring the beach, or playing in the mud pit. That didn't stop most of the kids (and parents!) from jumping right in anyway.
Many of the parents and children told me they'd like to return next year, and others who missed this year's trip have been emailing me asking me to coordinate another trip, so I'm already working on it and will post more information soon.
Thanks to everyone who camped with us this year. I enjoyed meeting you and watching our children have so much fun together! I look forward to seeing you again on a future trip.