By Amanda Charland
Camp Program Coordinator
Just a few weeks ago, my days were full of wolves howling on hilltops, bears lumbering through meadows, and occasionally, the need to dodge stampeding bison. I had the luxury of many amazing experiences in Yellowstone National Park, where I worked as a naturalist guide. There I discovered what John Muir meant when he said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
Apparently, I was not the only one. Some visitors to the park sought out nature, only to end up with more than they bargained for. One visitor took a close-up photo (too close!) of a 2000-lb bison, while another tried to pet an elk -- she thought the park animals were on leashes. Needless to say, both of these visitors left with some bruises.
I mention these accounts because while amusing, they are also common in wild places all over the world. Many people want to appreciate nature in a meaningful way, but don’t quite know how. I’ve come to find that enjoying wilderness is a learned skill. It’s a never-ending education and one that offers great rewards.
As the brand new Camp Program Coordinator at VINS, I’ll be spending the remaining snowy Vermont months creating exciting nature adventures for the hundreds of campers who will join VINS during the warm summer months. These special weeks spent at VINS’ Nature Camps this summer will foster meaningful experiences in nature for children -- experiences that will allow them to go forward into life with an appreciation for and understanding of our Earth, and their important role in it.
Quite simply, the best way to learn to enjoy nature is to be in nature. VINS summer camps are the perfect opportunity to help kids learn about the wilderness that surrounds them. From looking for salamanders in the deep dense forests, to creating works of art inspired by nature, to learning how we are connected to nature through the food that we eat: VINS camps foster wild curiosity in all children.
Find more information on our camps online here, (http://vinsweb.org/index.php/discover/nature-camp), and check back on our blog for detailed information on our upcoming camp season. Come explore with us at VINS -- we’re sure you’ll find more than you seek!