Swaner EcoCenter warms up with spring break camps | ParkRecord.com

Swaner EcoCenter warms up with spring break camps

The Swaner EcoCenter's spring break camps offer kids who are staying in town a chance to get outdoors and learn a thing or two, as well. (Courtesy of Swaner EcoCenter)

Spring break is a time for families to get a jump-start on warm weather outdoor activities. Some families head out of town, while others enjoy a staycation.

The Swaner EcoCenter staff knows there are many local families who don’t leave town during spring break but would love their children to enjoy the outdoors.

This is why the EcoCenter is offering its first spring break camps, said Katherine Veeder, the nonprofit’s education director.

"This is the result of feedback we have gotten from parents," Veeder told The Park Record. "Every year after our summer camps, they ask if we do a winter break camp or a spring break camp. They tell us that they would love for their children to visit the Swaner EcoCenter even more."

So, the staff sent out an official survey last year and asked if parents would prefer a winter camp or a spring camp.

"We got a lot of responses for a spring break camp, and we wanted to give them what they asked for," Veeder said.

The camps will be held Monday, April 4, through Friday, April 8, and align with Park City School District’s spring break schedule. Camps are available for students who are currently enrolled in first through fifth grades.

Each day will have a different theme, which is different from the summer camps, which feature a theme per week.

"We didn’t want the spring camps to overlap too much with what we do in the summer," Veeder said. "This was such a neat opportunity to think about topics that we don’t touch on all the time, but still relate to the Swaner EcoCenter’s mission, which is to preserve the environment, educate the public and nurture the public’s relationship with the environment."

The themes are as follows:

  • Monday, April 4: Nature Safari. Campers will explore the Swaner Preserve and learn about the natural world, including how animals adapt to their surroundings. Campers will also dissect owl pellets.
  • Tuesday, April 5: Super Space. Campers will learn about the solar system, design a stomp rocket and create a moon candy geyser.
  • Wednesday, April 6: Splish, Splash, Splat. Campers will use water for art and science experiments and examine different types of slime that are found on the preserve.
  • Thursday, April 7: Effective Detective. Campers will learn what it takes to be a detective and will use some detective skills and teamwork to solve problems, while collecting and analyzing evidence around the preserve.
  • Friday, April 8: STEAM Olympics. Campers will participate in an Olympic-themed STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math — match throughout the day.

"The neat thing is campers can register for the whole week or register one day at a time," Veeder said.

Veeder and Education Assistant Natalie McHale will lead the camps.

"We’re both familiar faces in our summer camp and other education outreach programs here, but we’ll also bring in high school students as well," Veeder said. "These students have either worked as past camp counselors or are interested in doing so this summer. These students will change from day to day, but Natalie and I will be there the whole week."

The most important thing for parents to know is the spring camps will be held both inside the EcoCenter and outside on the preserve.

"Each day will include an outdoors portion, a science portion and an art portion, because we wanted the camps to be well rounded and appeal to different interests," Veeder said. "Since we’ll be outside and the snow has or will be melting, campers should wear clothes and shoes that can get muddy and dirty."

The shoes, especially, should be appropriate for walking in mud.

"They should be closed toed and I would recommend either rain boots or sneakers that can get dirty," Veeder said.

The camps start each day at 9 a.m. — parents can drop off their kids as early as 8:45 a.m. — and will run until 4 p.m.

The Swaner EcoCenter will provide a morning snack and afternoon snack, and parents will be informed of what will be offered because the staff is aware that some students have food allergies, according to Veeder.

In addition, each child is also required to bring his or her own sack lunch as well, she said.

"These spring break camps are great opportunities for kids in Park City who don’t go on spring break vacation," Veeder said. "It’s a way for them to get outside and learn more about science and nature with other kids."

The Swaner EcoCenter, 1258 Center Dr. at Kimball Junction, will offer spring break camps from Monday, April 4, through Friday, April 8, for students enrolled in first to fifth grades. Cost is $50 per day and registration deadline is April 4. To register or for more information, visit swanerecocenter.org.

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