Experiential learning in rich environments doing unique activities defines the American Nature Camp.
Additionally, students working and playing together from various cultures and nationalities makes it althemore enriching. The friendship developed by our student participants often leads to lifelong relationships across continents and oceans.
Small groups and intelligent hands on learning experiences allow students to learn quickly and deeply. This depth of knowledge increases the students awareness to the natural world around them, instills an attitude of appreciation, and prepares them to be the “genius” among their friends back home.
In addition to the regular fun camp things like team building games, songs, skits, kayaking, fishing, volleyball, horse shoes, and other games, some of the topics and activities during these four days are:
Day 1: Rocks and minerals. Using a testing kit to learn to classify rocks and minerals based on hardness, color, smell, taste, magnetism and reaction to acid.
Learn the different types of rocks and find a sample of each. Observe glowing rocks when exposed to UV wave lengths. Observe a sample of monzonite Using a hand lense determine the percentage of quartz, mica, hornblede, and feldspar crystal in monzonite, for example. Learn about tumbling and polishing rocks. Receive polished stones and begin building and labeling a rock collection.
Day 2: Paleontology and Fossils. Demonstration of fossil types--trilobites, bivalves, dinosaur bones, gastropods, coprolite, etc. Students sort through piles of rocks looking for what they consider to be "noteworthy." Sorting and identification of the fossils found. Discuss the formation process of each type of fossil.
"Excavate" and prepare the fossils using tile saw and rotary tools. Make a cast and mold from a fossil.
“Solving the mystery”—Dissection of owl pellets. Begin the introduction of dinosaurs in preparation for Dinosaur Academy.
Day 3: Caves, plants, birds, and insects. Learn how to gather and identify native plants and insects. Bird identification and observation games.
Explore Minnetonka Cave. Minnetonka Cave, in beautiful St. Charles Canyon northwest of Bear Lake, offers a half-mile of fascinating stalactites, stalagmites, and banded travertine in nine rooms.
Day 4: Fossil dig. Start the day with a visit to Fossil Butte National Monument. Then, the real fossil fun begins! Students dig for their own fossil fish in a private quarry. This includes: Knightia, Diplomystus, Phareodus, Mioplosus, Amphiplaga, and Priscacara! Keep what you find!
Despite the full days of activity, the students are never too tired for the evening campfires of songs, skits, and even a Native American dance.