Summer Day Camps
Explore the Outdoors with Us!
Woodbury County Conservation Board has been hosting summer day camps at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center since 1997. They are designed to encourage hands-on learning through outdoor explorations, hiking, activities, games, crafts and more. The programs are led by full-time professional environmental educators and seasonal naturalist staff. Our camp leaders thrive on the joys and challenges of teaching about the amazing facets of nature through hands-on creative and fun activities.
The number of campers is limited to ensure a fun learning experience with a ratio of between 14-20 campers to 2 staff depending on the campers ages.
- All campers participate in outdoor explorations and hiking
- Ages 9 & up must bring a bag lunch with a drink
- Each registered camper receives a camp T-shirt
- A daily snack with drink are provided for all ages
- Please click on the links below to learn more!
- Members of the Woodbury County Conservation Foundation receive early registration benefits and potential camp discounts. Become a member today.
Can you help?
We are always looking for ways to keep the costs of our camps down and donations help with that. Below are some items that would be helpful for our educational programs and camps. Thank you for your support & generosity.
- Napkins, Paper Towels, Paper Plates, Paper Bowls, Lunch size paper Bags, Coffee filters, Reusable Plastic Cups
- Healthy Snacks and Lemonade or Juice (no red)
- Peanut Butter and Shortening (to make bird feeders)
- Card Stock and Photo Paper
- Plastic terrariums
- Empty Cigar Boxes to make ‘treasure boxes’
- Thumb drives
- Digital Camera
- Rewritable CD’s and CD Mailers
- Children’s Nature puzzles and books
- Old Crockpots (to melt wax in for making candles)
- Altoids or Sucrets containers (for mini 1st aid kits)
- Cardboard Egg Cartons
- Misc. Craft Supplies: Elmer’s glue, tacky glue, washable tempra paint, pipe cleaners, glitter glue, paint brushes, wiggle eyes, pom poms, construction paper, tissue paper, craft foam sheets or shapes, magnet strips, etc.
- First Aid Supplies: Band-aids, Bug Spray & Sunscreen
As each registration form is processed; a confirmation email (or letter) will be sent. Please review this for the correct camp dates and themes. Reminder emails will also be sent the week before your registered camp.
Cancellations & Refund Policy
If a camper must cancel their reservation, please notify the Woodbury County Conservation Staff as soon as possible. This allows us to possibly fill the space from our waiting list. The $20 deposit is not refundable. The balance of the registration cost is refundable with 7 days or more notice.
Camp Behavior Expectations & Discipline Guidelines
Please share these with any child registered for camp. Thank you. Basic rules that all campers
must follow are: 1) Campers must not hurt themselves or others. 2) Children must stay with the group. 3) Campers must stay on the trails (unless directed otherwise). 4) Respect all others as well as nature. 5) No foul language or threats (verbal or physical).
If needed, staff will give a verbal warning first, followed by a Time-out. If 3 time-outs are given in one day the parent or guardian will be contacted immediately and that camper will be asked to leave. No refunds will be given in this situation. We will also do our best to inform you of any behavior difficulties at the end of each camp.
We will be actively exploring the outdoors and there is a definite possibility that your camper(s) will get dirty. Please make sure your campers are dressed appropriately for outdoor play. Open-toed shoes are not allowed as they offer little protection against sticks and other sharp objects along the trails. We plan on going outside every day – even in the rain! So please dress for the weather or send spare clothes (make sure to mark with your child’s name).
Drop-off & Pick-up Policy
Please be prompt in dropping off and picking up your camper(s). Campers may not arrive before the start of their respective session and must be picked up promptly. This allows staff time to prepare for and clean up from each session.
Please call the nature center if your camper is unable to attend or you are running late. Campers will not be released to anyone other than a parent/guardian or listed carpool person unless you notify the education staff ahead of time.
We wish to avoid any potential accidents in the parking lot, so please escort your child(ren) inside the nature center to their individual classrooms. Thank you!
Woodbury County Conservation Education staff will provide all materials that are needed for each day’s explorations. Personal items that might be handy include a hat, insect repellant and sunscreen. Please mark these items with your camper’s name.
Food & Water
A daily snack and drink are provided for all ages. If your child has any food allergies or special diet, please note on the Camper Information Form. Water fountains are available but each camper may bring a reusable water bottle if desired. Please mark with your child’s name. Meadowlarks, Badgers and Hawks campers must bring a sack lunch with drink.
Restroom Use Requirement
We require that all campers must be toilet trained. Our staff is not allowed to change diapers or pull-ups. Thanks for understanding.
Special Conditions Emergencies
Our staff is certified in CPR and First-Aid and is trained to handle emergency situations. Please note any severe allergy or medical conditions on the Camper Information Form. We will keep parents informed of any out of the ordinary occurrences.
Special Needs Campers
Woodbury County Conservation Nature Camps try to accommodate all interested children. However, they are extremely active camps with a large number of transitions and sensory changes throughout the day. Children are expected to keep up and keep going. They must be able to follow directions, rules and expectations independently. Children must participate well with others and follow safety rules without adult prompts.
For certain special needs our camps are wonderful, for others it puts the child and staff in uncomfortable and unsafe situations. We are responsible for the safety and well-being of all the campers and cannot allow one child to jeopardize that. Please call to discuss your child’s particular needs.
We all know the weather in Iowa is unpredictable. The Woodbury County Conservation staff and volunteers follow procedures to maintain the safety of your children. Precautions in place include the following:
- A weather alert radio is on during camp operations. Staff will respond accordingly when alerts are announced. Staff also carry cell phones and/or radios while on the trails. This allows us to be in contact with receptionists that monitor the weather radio.
- If a warning is issued for our area, we will move the children to a place of safety within the nature center or park we are visiting. The weather will be monitored until severe weather has passed. Staff will be responsible to helping to calm and reassure the campers during these times.
- At first sound of thunder or first sighting of lightning, all children will be required to be indoors and stay there until the threat is gone. Appropriate indoor nature-based activities are ready for such moments.
When can I register?
We will begin registrations on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. for Woodbury County Conservation Foundation (WCCF) members. Non-members can begin registering one week later on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. See the registration tab for more details and registration form. We will accept registration by mail or in person in the order received. Please do not mail registrations early; we will accept them starting with postmark date of April 6th as the earliest date.
May I register for more than one camp?
We ask that you only register each child for one camp to start with. If openings are still
available after May 15th you may register for additional sessions.
What is the camper to staff ration?
Our camper to staff ratio is 14 to 20 campers to 2 staff members. The younger the children the fewer campers per staff members. This doesn’t include additional camp volunteers that assist with each camp. The number of campers is limited to ensure a fun, safe and memorable experience for all.
Who are the camp staff?
Theresa Kruid is a full-time staff naturalist and started the camp program in 1997. She has more than 20 years of experience working with children and leading them in outdoor nature activities and experiences. Jim Henning is a full-time staff resource naturalist with over six years of experience and will assist with the camps and sharing his knowledge and experience with outdoor skills. Dawn Snyder is the Education Director and will also assist with camps when needed. She has over 27 years’ experience in the field. We hire summer naturalists that are college students or graduates interested in the environmental education field. We carefully screen applicants and interview those who have experience working with kids (previous camp experience, student teaching, volunteering, etc.). We also look for people who have that certain spark that makes them kid magnets. The seasonal staff participates in at least one week of training, have passed background checks and work closely with the full-time staff.
What about volunteers?
The Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center has a wonderful group of junior and adult volunteers. We have many junior volunteers that assist with our camp program, most of which are former campers themselves. Junior volunteers must be at least 12 to help with our camp program. For more information on the volunteer program, contact Betty West, Volunteer Coordinator at 712-258-0838 or email@example.com.
May I attend camp with my child?
Yes, for our Caterpillars camp. This is designed for an adult to attend with a child ages 3-5. For all other camps, we’re sorry, but these are designed for the appropriate ages and allow time to bond with children their own age.
What about safety?
All full-time and part-time Woodbury County staff are certified in CPR and First Aid. All staff, are qualified and trained to handle safety issues with children outdoors. However, nature is unpredictable and occasionally injuries occur. Bee stings, falls off steps, tripping on the trails and other minor injuries may happen. We also ask that children be active participants in their own safety by not wandering from the group, asking for clarification if they don’t understand directions and responding immediately to instructions. If you feel your child cannot handle these situations please think twice about sending them to nature camp. Thank you.
What about extreme weather?
If the weather is extremely hot, we take frequent breaks indoors to cool off and get drinks of water. If the weather turns rainy, we’ll still head outdoors in light rain. If the rain turns heavy, we hear thunder, see lightning, or receive a weather warning staff are instructed to head indoors immediately. See Weather Procedures under the Policies tab for more details.
What if my child needs medication?
The policy of Woodbury County Conservation Day Camps is to only give emergency, lifesaving medications such as epi-pens or rescue inhalers. If your child has other medication needs, we ask that you administer them before or after the camp day. Camp staff is not permitted to administer daily medications. If you need to bring emergency medication, please bring the necessary instructions and discuss this with Theresa Kruid as well as other camp staff before the camp begins.
What if my child has special needs?
Woodbury County Conservation Day Camps strives to accommodate all interested children. Please understand that our camps are very active with multiple transitions and sensory changes throughout the day. All campers are expected to follow directions and the safety rules. If you have specific concerns, please call to discuss your child’s particular needs. We will do our best to work with you and your child.
Are snacks and water provided?
We provide one snack with a drink (water or lemonade) to each group daily. We also take several breaks at the water fountains throughout the day. Campers may bring their own reusable water bottle if they like. If your child has food allergies please note this information on their camper information form.
Is lunch provided? When and where do campers eat?
Campers that are 9 years and older must bring their own sack lunch with drink (please no red drinks). Lunches are NOT refrigerated and there is not access to a microwave for campers. Please try to provide a healthy lunch in reusable containers. Campers typically eat between 11:30 a.m. and Noon at the picnic tables or amphitheater outside. If the weather is stormy, campers will eat inside the classroom.
Are sunscreen and bug repellent provided?
Due to allergies and sensitivity of some children’s skin, we ask that you apply these things at home BEFORE arriving to camp. Your campers may bring their own to camp for reapplication.
What do I need to wear and bring?
Campers should dress for the weather and in clothes that can get dirty as we will be outdoors much of the time and occasionally use paint with craft activities. Sturdy walking shoes are required, no open toe shoes allowed. Campers may bring a water bottle, hat, raincoat or jacket, camera, binoculars, sunscreen, bug repellent. Each child is responsible for their own belongings. Please do not send video games, cell phones, or ipods, etc. Items such as pocket knives or other weapons are NOT allowed.
May my child bring a cell phone or other stuff with them?
We discourage campers from bringing cell phones, iPods, toys, trading card, video games and the like, which are disruptive and distractions at nature camp. Woodbury County Conservation takes no responsibility for lost items. Any items we do find (including lunch boxes, rain jackets, etc.) are put in lost and found and kept until one week after the end of each camp season.
What are your restroom policies?
All campers must be toilet trained. Campers use the Nature Center bathrooms or outhouses for some camps. Campers should inform their instructors if the need arises and they will b e guided to the nearest restroom. Are the activities age appropriate?
Our camps are divided into age groups just for this reason. We try hard to provide activities that are oriented to your child’s age.
When do we receive our camp T-shirt?
We hand these out on the first day of camp. We try to all wear them on the last day of camp.
If you still have more questions call 712-258-0838 or email Theresa Kruid at firstname.lastname@example.org