Ozark Natural Science Center’s Summer Youth Programs

By Robert J. Korpella

First posted on 06-03-2011

There’s still some room at the Ozark Natural Science Center’s Summer Science Program events this year. The center is located near Huntsville, Arkansas in the McIlroy-Madison County Wildlife Management Area. The center provides educationally based programs for 5th grade students during the school year and a variety of educationally based summer camps for children ages 8-17 during the summer.

Camps are age specific and targeted toward outdoors activities of interest to each age group. Every program is designed to develop an understanding and appreciation for the natural world. These events aren’t just classroom instruction. Campers have an opportunity to participate in unique outdoor learning and recreational experiences.

Children are housed together by gender at one of three climate-controlled lodges on the premises, or in tents and off-site lodging on the exploration camps. During family events, families room together.

All camp participants are under the careful supervision of ONSC’s Teacher Naturalists or lodge counselors throughout their stay. Teacher Naturalists hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Science degree in the natural sciences, live on-site during the program and are a very professional group truly dedicated to teaching children about science and nature in a fun, safe environment.

All of ONSC’s employees have undergone full background checks prior to employment. Every field instructor is certified in CPR, Advanced Wilderness 1st Aid or Wilderness First Responder, and American Canoe Association Canoe Safety, and Basic Swiftwater Rescue to ensure that the health and safety of camp participants is of primary importance. In addition, caving instructors are certified in basic cave rescue by the National Cave Rescue Commission.

A brief description of each summer camp is provided below, but you can learn more about the summer camps at: http://onsc.us/summer-camps/ .

Fledgling Naturalist (Ages 8-9) June 26-28

Campers spend 3 days and 2 nights learning about nature on ONSC’s trails, competing in a Nature Olympics, and by cooling off in the nearby Kings River. A campfire and moonlit hike highlight this experience. $300

EcoArt I (Ages 8-10) June 22-25

Campers follow in the footsteps of great nature inspired artists at this 4 day/3 night camp that blends art, field science, and nature to create a unique experience.  This camp explores environmental art in its various forms, including Land Art, Recycled Art, Folk Art and Sustainable Art using a multi-disciplinary approach exploring. Art & Science classes include: Nature’s Recyclers, Compost Science, Conservation Photography, Buggy Sounds of Summer in 3D, Night Skies Astronomy Tie Dying, Light Pollution & Wildlife, Foraging for Dinner, Alternate Energy Resources. Campers will explore a variety of art mediums including mosaics, watercolors, wire sculpture, recycled assemblage and more.  ONSC and the staff of ArtCamp join together to offer an inspired camp.  $500 with art supplies included.

Junior Naturalist I (Ages 10-11) July 13-16

Campers spend 4 days and 3 nights exploring ONSC’s trails, creating nature art, and learning about biology, geology, and astronomy, as well as helping out on one of ONSC’s field research projects. Campers learn the basics of field observations, practicing their skills while maintaining their own nature journals. Participants will take a day trip to the nearby Kings River to learn about river ecology and stream organisms, and for some cooling off fun. $425

EcoArt II (Ages 11-14) July 17-21

This 5 day/4 night camp for middle school campers offers a more advanced exploration of topics from EcoArt I with more in-depth lessons plus these additional classes: Environmental Art: Andy Goldsworthy and Man and the Environment.  Participants will take a day trip to Red Bluff Dell to create environmental art, learn more about sustainable living resources, and escape the heat. ONSC partners with the staff of ArtCamp of Rogers to offer this one of a kind experience. $625 with art supplies included.

Senior Naturalist (Ages 12-14) July 5-9

Campers get more in-depth lessons in biology, ecology, and geology along the trails and streams of Bear Hollow and the McIlroy-Madison County Wildlife Management Area in this 5 day, 4 night camp. Participants camp 2 nights along the Kings River and explore the beauty and diversity of the stream while enjoying swimming and canoeing. Day hikes to nearby Fishtrap Bluff, with a collapsed grotto with a hidden waterfall, and the upper Bear Hollow Wilderness Area provide an experience not soon forgotten. $525

Ozark Field Expedition (Ages 13-17) June 12-17

The Field Expeditions Camp provides a unique experience for older summer campers to completely immerse themselves in the wonder of the Ozarks. This camp takes participants to new places and offers new experiences ech year. This summer includes 3 days backpacking on the Ozark Highlands Trail, and an overnight canoe trip down the Buffalo National River. All safety equipment and most backpacking equipment is provided, but space is limited and special registration is required; please call 479-789-2754 for more information and to register. $625

Ozarks River Odyssey 1(ages 13-17) June 19-24

Spend a week exploring the Buffalo and Kings rivers. Campers learn about river ecosystems and conservation while paddling down the river and hiking on side-trips to waterfalls and other special destinations. Camp includes lessons on trip planning, safety, and campcraft. Special guest instructors will teach about the history of local settlers and the story of the Buffalo National River. Space is very limited and special registration is required; please call 479-789-2754 for more information and to register. $700

Ozarks River Odyssey 2 (ages 13-17) July 10-15

The Odyssey continues into Missouri! This camp begins with paddling refreshers and lessons on canoe trip planning, river safety, and navigation before heading to the rivers of the Missouri Ozarks. Campers explore the Eleven Point River with our team of experienced Teacher Naturalists as guides. Space is very limited and special registration is required; please call 479-789-2754 for more information and to register. $725