By Alisa McGowan
The ERC just completed two spectacular weeks of our summer EcoCamps in the Pioneer Mountains. EcoCamps are designed to bring – and keep – our children outdoors, learning, exploring, and reveling in the natural world. Campers gain the confidence, skills, and tools to become stewards of the environment while developing a passion and appreciation for science! The highlights of camp this year included collecting macroinvertebrates to assess the water quality in Wildhorse Creek, learning to navigate with a map and compass, swimming, backpacking to Bellas Lake and creating skits about the seven Leave No Trace principles.
Campers also loved staying at the Idaho Basecamp, where they slept in cozy yurts, enjoyed evening campfires while the sun set over the majestic Lost River Mountain Range and watched many songbirds and birds of prey flying over the Big Lost River.
Seven campers in the Environmental Outdoor Leadership camp experienced their first ever backpacking trip and two of those campers slept in a tent for the first time ever! They even weathered two intense thunder and hail storms during the evening by singing songs between tents and making bracelets. I was impressed with their perseverance in a new setting.
This year, 40% of EcoCampers received scholarships totaling $2475 through support from the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Campfire Foundation, Lightfoot Foundation, and Rocky Mountain Hardware. I am so grateful to be able to provide these formative experiences in the outdoors to the next generation of leaders and environmental stewards.
To see more photographs of our adventures, please visit our Facebook page. We are already looking forward to EcoCamp 2018!