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Stomping out Nature Deficiency Disorder with Muddy Boots at Farm and Forest Camp

At Black Kettle Farm, we have the antidote for Nature Deficiency Disorder – Farm and Forest Summer Camp! Children ages 4 to 9 are welcomed into the world of exploration through weekly sessions from July 10 to August 4, 9am to 3pm. Our camp encourages play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The garden, the barnyard, the forest, and the stream are classrooms as the children learn the foundations of science and a deep understanding of our natural world.

In the barnyard, campers care for chickens and horses, developing an understanding of responsibility and farming. In the garden, campers learn to grow food, honor the stages of life, steward the land, and taste new flavors. Campers harvest garden veggies and chicken eggs, and then work together to create delicious snacks.

In the forest, the campers explore, observing animals and the clues they leave behind, learning local plants, building forts and dams. The children learn to create an internal map of the landscape, develop basic navigation and leave no trace skills. On hot days, they wade in the creek, catch frogs, and chase bark boats downstream. They collect clay from the creek bottom to create small sculptures and bowls. In the cool quiet of the Black Kettle forest children are encouraged to set their own pace, discover life’s mysteries, and work together to imaginatively create.

In between the adventures, campers are also given time to breathe – relax, reflect, and observe. They are encouraged to notice how clouds and branches move, listen to bird songs, and give their bodies time to rest (with the help of the cozy tree fort and a few hammocks.) Imaginations are further sparked through crafts, songs and stories inspired by nature and four elements - fire, water, air and earth. There is nothing so fun as running down hill with a kite aloft – especially if the children have built their own kites. This creative play time, abundant through so many opportunities at Black Kettle Farm, “is increasingly recognized as an essential component of wholesome child development” according to Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.”

Lakeside School also offers a similar camp like opportunity “Summer Sprouts” for younger siblings, ages 1 to 4, with outdoor play and interaction with the farm. The program is open for a full 9 weeks, but is also available for weekly enrollment options. The Sprouts program is offered from 8am to 2:15pm, with an optional after care program to 5pm. Both Farm and Forest Camp and Summer Sprouts are limited in space. Some discounts are available. Please contact School Administrator Maeve Taylor at (518) 963-7386 or to register or for more information, or visit .

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