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Outdoor fun at Moosewood summer camps

June 29, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER DIEM - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - When it comes to the outdoors, Moosewood Nature Center is on prime real estate.

The Marquette nature center is right next to the bog walk, and within walking distance of Lake Superior and the extensive wilderness of Presque Isle Park. The center's summer camp sessions for children, which started in June and resume in August draw, heavily from outdoor experiences.

Two different camps are going on right now at the center. Musikgarten, for children 3-and-a-half to 5, takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays until June 30. The program Hunting the Beasts of Presque Isle with Your Camera, for children 8 to 13, takes place at the same time on the same days.

Article Photos

Tina Conklin helps Adia Holmes, 4, and daughter Sarah Conklin, 4, play the drum during musikgarten class at the Moosewood Nature Center Summer Camp in Marquette recently. (Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)

Musikgarten, taught by Corinne Rockow, is a music and movement program that helps develop several aspects of child development including language, literacy, pattern recognition skills and social and emotional growth.

In the camera program, taught by Scot Stewart, children photograph insects, amphibians, birds and mammals and the signs they make all over Presque Isle.

The August sessions include Bog, Beach and Forest, for ages 8 to 11. During the camp, taught by Andrew Bek, children will study the ecology of the Presque Isle area and will get to hike, swim and climb. The camp will take place from 9 a.m. to noon from Aug. 2-4.

The other camp is called Roughing it Easy, in which kids age 8 to 12, get to learn the basic methods and skills involved with outdoor cooking. The camp, taught by Elizabeth Davis, will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Aug. 16-18.

"That's going to be a lot of fun. That's going to be interesting. Cooking outside, camp cooking basically. Not backpacking. But we're hoping for that to be very hands on where the kids get to mix things, cook them whichever way with direct fire or solar oven or even a grill," said Bek, the center's executive director.

Camp fees for both sessions are $55 for members and $65 for non-members, per child per each session enrolled. The center is open Thursdays through Sundays.

Bek said they are also planning guided hikes to the Laughing Whitefish River in Alger County and Echo Lake, north of Marquette.

He said children will participate in what's called a BioBlitz.

"You go through and try to catalog every species you can find. So everybody goes out and goes looking for everything and we have scientists to help identify them and then we end up with an inventory at the end," he said.

The summer camps aren't big, Bek said, and usually have class sizes around six or eight kids.

"There's other summer camps, at the YMCA, the Seaborg Center at (Northern Michigan University), different churches, there's a lot of good things for kids to do in Marquette in the summer. But Moosewood, I think we have a special nature-based niche that we offer," Bek said.

He said the center intentionally keeps class sizes small so kids get more one-on-one interaction with the camps instructors.

Bek said children really enjoy the summer camps.

"They love it. It's amazing what they remember too," he said. "Last summer we had a monarch butterfly camp and the kids who went through that - I still see them, they have their birthday parties here and they come here on field trips from school and they all remember what they learned about the monarchs because we make it fun. It's much more memorable than a science class with a boring old teacher. We actually take the microscopes out into the bog."

Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.



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