CIRCLEVILLE — In a partnership with local Earth-related groups, some kids this month had the chance to experience the outdoors and learn about the world around them.

Earlier this month, Pickaway Soil and Water Conservation District, Pickaway County Park District and RPHF Solid Waste District partnered to host Experience Earth Camp (EE Camp) for incoming third, fourth, and fifth-grade students Aug. 3 through 5 at Canal Park.

Katerina Sharp, education and outreach coordinator for Pickaway Soil and Water Conservation District, said there were about 30 campers who attended the three-day camp that featured adult and teen group leaders.

“Pickaway SWCD has been hosting EE Camp for over 20 years and we have been fortunate to partner with Park District and Solid Waste District in 2020 and 2021, and plan to continue to partner in the future,” Sharp said.

In addition, the partners also offered a Junior Experience Earth Camp for incoming first and second-grade students on Aug. 12. About 20 campers attended that.

“Campers at our EE Camps get to experience outdoor opportunities like hiking, fishing and archery. Campers also learn about native, non-native and invasive species, fossils, life cycles, water cycles, animal habitats, geology, wildlife, insects, fossils, forestry, recycling and composting, and more each year at camp,” she said.

“We rotate locations in Pickaway County each year to make sure returning campers have a new experience each summer at camp.”

Sharp said the junior camp worked great and are planning to have it again next year in addition to the older group.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in camp from other students the past couple years, so this year, we decided to invite three additional grade levels to camp: first, second and third grades,” she said.

“The third, fourth and fifth-grade students are able to handle the three-day camp no problem, and in fact, some of the campers have even said they wished camp was all summer long. We held a separate one-day camp for the incoming first and second-grade students and this worked well for the younger kids.”

Sharp said for these kids, they learn everyday so they try to create memorable, hands-on lessons.

“My main goals for camp each year are for the kids to have fun and learn while spending time outside,” she said. “I think it’s easy to forget we have an entire world to explore if we just step outside our doors. Kids are so curious and interested in the natural environment around them; sometimes they just need something like camp to give them the opportunity to explore.”

Sharp said she and Soil and Water want the students to learn about that environment.

“The goal of Experience Earth Camp is to give Pickaway County elementary students an opportunity to learn about the natural environment in the county,” she said.

“By learning about environmental and natural resources and how these resources interact, kids are more likely to be well informed, interested in and good stewards of our natural resources as they grow up.”

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