Each day at camp is a different adventure. We have focus activities related to forestry, wildlife, and natural resources. We also have lots of fun games and projects throughout the week. While we don't have the exact schedule ready for this summer now, below are some of the previous year's activities to give you an idea.
FISHING AND MACROINVERTEBRATE SAMPLING
We took a fieldtrip to the UF Fisheries and Aquatic Science Millhopper Campus where Crystal Hartman of UF School of Forest Resources & Conservation- Fisheries and Aqautic Sciences led an activity where dip-netted for macroinvertebrates and learned how to identify them. Then we got to go fishing!
Jiri Hulcr of UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation gave us all bug nets and we ran around the forest catching the coolest bugs! Did you know that the big yellow and black banana spiders you see are females while the males are much smaller and a dull brown?
FROG IDENTIFICATION AND CALLS
Steve Johnson with UF's Wildlife Ecology and Conservation taught us some frog calls of local species. Then we went out and searched for frogs and learned how to handle them!
We headed to Rock Bluff Springs which is a second magnitude spring that recently opened to the public! There we explored the cypress trees growing in the spring and cooled off for the day.
DEER AGING AND SURVEYS
Becky Shuman of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission brought us live alligators, and other critters, for us to hold. We also learned how to age deer from their teeth alone and completed a deer browse survey around the forest.
Andrew Sims from UF SFRC came out to the forest and taught us about tree genetics. We visited the forest's clone bank and breeding orchard where he taught us about tree grafting. Did you know that 35% of trees planted in the Southeastern United States have the same parent trees?
On the last night of camp we grilled out dinner, went on a night hike, built a campfire and ate lots of s'mores. Once it got darker, we conducted a deer spotlight survey. After a night full of fun activities, we put tents up and camped out under the stars.
BIRD NESTING BOXES
For our service learning project, the campers worked in small groups to build bird nesting boxes from scratch. We made barred owl and bluebird nesting boxes. We then picked locations to install them around the forest. Hopefully birds will nest in them soon and we can help boost their populations in and around the forest.
We have many fun games and scavenger hunts planned throughout the week. They're always different and always fun! Whether they're about navigating through the forest, identifying tree and animal species, or solving fun riddles, it is always a time to be had!
TREE IDENTIFICATION AND FOREST MANAGEMENT
Michael Andreu of UF School of Forest Resources & Conservation led an activity where we flagged trees, learned how to identify them, and even gave us fun facts about them! Did you know that chewing gum, latex gloves, and toothpaste are all products made from trees?
LIVE ANIMAL HANDLING
Chase Pirtle of Ashton Biological Preserve taught us about local, non-native, and venomous reptiles. We also got to hold rat snakes, blue-tongued skinks, radiated tortoises, and more!
The forest has a beautiful wetland that we took dipnets too and explored the different aquatic invertebrates and tadpoles. We also saw an alligator and caught a few bullfrogs while we were there.