Friday, August 19, 2016

Outdoor Explorers

On Monday, the campers learned some outdoor survival skills, such as how to build a shelter, and what kinds of knots they should tie depending on what they need.  Using just dowels, rubber bands, and plastic sheets, the campers were able to assemble their very own shelters. Some of them were even able to fit their entire group under a roof!  Then the campers practiced making a variety of knots, all with different uses. Need to tie down a tent? Try a Taut-Line Hitch knot. Need to hang a hammock? Try a Clove Hitch knot! In all, the campers practiced making about 10 different knots!  After all that knot tying, the campers made paracord bracelets by weaving together paracord rated at 550lbs.  **Please note, campers should not use this paracord for climbing**
A Camper works on his paracord bracelet
Campers take shelter

On Tuesday, the campers learned how to use a compasses to the figure out the direction they are heading.  Then the campers made their own compasses, which we used later in the week at the Arb!  They campers also learned how to use natural materials, such as gravel, coarse and fine sand, and charcoal to purify dirty water.  To finish off their day, the campers got to use the Museum's own 12 foot long stream table to experience the forces of water.  They watched as the water carved natural looking stream, and learned how polluted ground water can move underground towards rivers.

Campers at the stream table!
Campers watch as their filters clean the dirty water!

Campers play a card matching game in a small group
On Wednesday, it was all about the plants and animals of the forests.  The campers learned about some telltale signs for poisonous plants, and also about some edible plants that they can find here in Michigan!  We also talked to the campers, and explained that even edible plants can be unhealthy if they were grown in contaminated soil, and so they should never eat anything they find in the wild.  To end the morning, the campers walked over to the Diag, where they sketched pictures of the plants and animals they saw.  Some campers found an adult cicada! Then to end the day, the campers played a matching game, where they had to match animal tracks with the correct animal!

An adult cicada!
Campers observe and draw a cicada ----->

Thursday was archery day, and the campers fired off real arrows with real bows in a program lead by Our Global Kids.  Instructed by professional archers, the campers learned how to correctly hold and fire arrows!  They practiced archery right outside the museum, and fired arrows at targets about 10 feet away. A few campers even got a bulls-eye!  After learning about archery, the campers fired plastic arrows dipped in chalk paint to make a picture on our side walk.  To cool off a bit, the campers read wilderness survival skill knowledge cards in an air conditioned room. Finally, to end the day, the campers looked at various types of maps, and map projections, and then tried to make their own maps of the Museum's butterfly garden.

Ready? Aim. Fire!

On Friday, we took our trip to the Arb!  The campers got to check out critters down by the river.  We even found some albino millipedes!  The campers used their compasses to help them navigate the Arb, and learned that the university's north campus really is in the North! After snack by the river, the campers ventured towards the main valley of the Arb, where we played a fun game called bases!  While a counselor counted to various numbers with their eyes closed, the campers tried to tag a base, and hide again before the counselor opened their eyes. On our way to the valley, one of the counselors showed the campers a flowering raspberry bush.  After playing a few rounds of bases, it was time to head back to camp for frozen Popsicle treat!

Albino Millipedes were abundant, and an instant hit with the campers
A flowering raspberry bush in the Arb!

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