No one is really sure who first thought of having day camps at the Audubon Center and Sanctuary, but it has held children's camps in the summer months since the late 1970s.
"In 1976, the Audubon Center hired its first employee so I think it was probably his idea" to start the summer camps, said Jeff Tome, a member of the Audubon Center's education staff.
Registration for the day camps started in early June but parents are encouraged to call as soon as possible to register children, Tome said. Some classes have already started moving to waitlists.
Most Audubon day camps run over a four-day span from Tuesday to Friday and some are Monday to Thursday. Some camps start in July and others begin in August and accommodate preschool-age children to high school seniors. Each camp has a slightly different theme, and parents are encouraged to call as soon as possible to register children.
Most day camps run over a four-day span from Tuesday to Friday and some are Monday to Thursday. Some camps start in July and others begin in August and accommodate preschool-age children to high school seniors. Each group is run by one adult supervisor and a teenage counselor, too.
Each camp has a slightly different theme: there is the nature safari, where children trap and release wild animals, which allows them to experience the creatures on a personal level. While the arts camp features an artist, Lori Rothfus, who will guide the children in outdoor-art activities, according to the Audubon Center Web site.
"We love to get the kids to look at the world in a new way," Tome said. "Too often we walk and run through the woods, and talk and not pay attention to what's around."
Tome, who leads groups himself, loves to get the children active in any way he can. He uses simple activities - like a mass game of tag where everyone is fair game - to make everyone get involved.
He also enjoys getting down and dirty and allowing the children to experience every side of nature.
"We have days where we just sit in the middle of a pond or just sit in the mud," he said.
No matter who is teaching the class or the title of the camp, the Audubon Center has one goal in mind for the children, he said.
"It is great just to have contact with nature and to get them comfortable with nature."