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Recap of 2009 Wild and Wonderful Summer Youth Camp
Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center
July 12-14, 2009

Our GCG Chairman Molly Kimler gave all the children and parents a warm welcome, introduced the other counselors and told everyone a bit of what to expect in the days ahead. The parents were then excused and we went right into high gear.

Click for high-res photos: Left: Game to test hearing blindfolded. Center: Container gardening class. Right: Jadon and Lindsay testing their sense of smell

Karen Hoydick, our CEWC counselor, took us all on our first hike to gain our Eagle Eyes, Deer Ears and Coyote Nose. In between hikes, a series of games allowed the students develop their animal senses. GCG members were on hand to teach a variety of classes. Container gardening was a big hit, taught by Susan Turner. Each child was given a container and the lesson included discussion on annuals and perennials, proper drainage, soil composition, planting placement and size and proper care of the finished design. The children were very eager and excited to make their own container garden. GCG 3rd Vice-President Suzanne Wheeler, our Birds and Butterflies Chairman, brought a fascinating presentation on attracting birds to your home. Each child made a very clever nesting box using recycled juice cartons, pipe cleaners and small baskets.

CEWC's Ranger Pete grabbed everyone's attention with his presentation on endangered species. Turtles, snakes and a variety of reptiles of all sizes and colors (trust us, all sizes!) were available for the kids to see, touch and ask questions about. Ranger Mike introduced Mr. Barred Owl during the Creatures of the Night program, held before the night hike.

Click for high-res photos: Left: At the pond. Center: Pond study participants. Right: Specimen tray pond activity

A visit to the Pond Study down at the lake was an up close and personal experience with nature. The campers loved prodding in the muck to gather specimens in their trays. Fishing off the dock was another activity very popular with our campers. Catch and release is the word of the day; lots of fish were well fed from our visit.

GCG 1st Vice-President Caroline Silcox presented a most entertaining and beautiful program on basic flower design. She brought with her a plethora of fresh flowers and a container for each camper. From oasis to design, the campers learned and created the most artistic and lovely designs. They were all Blue Ribbon Winners!

Click for high-res photos: Left: Helping build a bluebird house. Center: Container planting. Right: Scavenger hunt in the library

Glen Blair, Walton County Extension 4-H Agent and camp counselor, brought wood for each camper to make a bluebird house. With hammer and nails in hand, the sound was deafening but the results, fantastic! We were fortunate that so many members of GCG, Charlie Elliot Wildlife Center and the extended community are so involved with this youth camp project. The CEWC Chapter of the Greater Atlanta Astronomy Club gathered their equipment for our use and to teach a little stargazing to our campers. Planets and nebulae can be seen on a clear night over the pristine skies of east Georgia.

Member clubs and Districts of GCG have sponsored children to attend camp with monetary donations. Of our 18 campers in 2009, almost half of the children were sponsored to attend. We greatly appreciate the time and talents of our leaders who not only assisted, but truly made this camp a fun learning environment. Many thanks to Molly Kimler, GCG Youth Team Coordinator and Camp Chairman; Susan Turner, GCG Youth Garden Clubs Chairman and Camp Co-Chairman; Caroline Silcox. GCG 1st Vice-President; Suzanne Wheeler, GCG 3rd Vice-President; Glen Blair, Walton Co. Extension 4-H Agent; and Susan Tardif.

Click for high-res photos: Left: Pete with snakes. Center left: Pete with snakes. Center right: Mike with owl. Right: 2009 Wild and Wonderful group

We are so thankful to Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center for hosting us and providing interesting and exciting programs, as well as educators and facilities to meet the needs for ourselves and our campers. We are grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness in our youth of environmental education in so many areas of study from the Wild & Wonderful Experience Camp. These children gained a wealth of knowledge and the desire for more in a short time. We trust the memories from this camp will inspire and lead each child to discover her/his own way to make a difference in our world.

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