After months of planning, we finally started the TRNWR Nature Camp. This camp has an interesting set up because not only are there Naturalists leading the camp, there are also “Junior Assistants” which help gather and lead the younger campers. The idea behind this being that the campers would have someone closer to their own age to relate to and would therefore pay more attention to.

Never having attended a Summer Camp, let alone the Refuge’s, I didn’t know what to expect. The week was off to a slow start as many of the campers got accustomed to the camp.

That slowly began to change as the camp progressed. I think the day that made the biggest impact would have to be photography day. Tasked with having to take photos, the kids looked in every direction, up in the trees to down on the ground, trying to take that perfect shot. In doing so, the campers were noticing every flower, every tree, and even all the small insects!


Nature Photographers in training

They wanted revenge because I took photos of them the day before!

I have mixed opinions on cameras in nature. At times, part of me feels as if though taking photos keeps me from paying attention to a lot of little things while I’m walking. Part of the reason being that I’ll focus more on composing a shot, than actually paying attention to what I’m looking at. Another reason being that I always feel as if I can just take the photo and then actually look at the photos at home, and because of that, I always miss some details of whatever I was taking a photo off. Fortunately, I also have moments like the campers, where taking photos actually helps me slow down and pay attention to everything.

Campers writing in their nature journals

Campers writing in their nature journals

I also asked the JAs how they felt about being assistants, most admitted that they were actually intimidated at the beginning, but that after getting to know the campers, they realized it wasn’t too bad at all! I’m glad that the campers came away with so much, and I’ve learned a few thing too! I’ll put them into practice as I gear up for round two.

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