Trail Blazers: Rising 4th-7th Graders

We look forward to another great summer in the woods with our Trail Blazers! Each week-long session will be spent exploring a variety of ecosystems across spectacular protected lands that showcase the incredible scenic beauty and rich biodiversity unique to these mountains. Camp Muddy Sneakers strives to spend as much time outdoors as possible with trails chosen within a half-hour to forty-five minute drive of the pick-up/drop-off locations. Each day, campers will visit a different site, uniquely suited to the day’s topic. Topics revolve around specific science themes while leaving plenty of time for exploration and curiosity-driven learning experiences. Camp Muddy Sneakers is committed to maintaining a small instructor-to-camper ratio of no more than twelve campers per two highly qualified instructors.

Sample Daily Schedule for Trail Blazers

  • 8:45-9:00: Campers arrive
  • 8:45-9:15: Morning gathering and review of day’s objectives
  • 9:15-9:45: Drive to selected trail for the day
  • 9:15-9:45: Morning gathering and review of day’s objectives
  • 9:45-12:00: Start hiking and exploring! One or two formal activities will be facilitated based on topic of the day, such as aquatic memory card game and a stream study.
  • 12-1:00: Lunch on the trail and time for free-play and rest
  • 1:00-3:15: More hiking and exploring! Often afternoons contain time for an active trail/field games such as Camouflage–a camper favorite!
  • 3:15-4:00: Arrive back at trailhead, afternoon gathering with review of day’s objectives and plan for following day. Load up and head to Base Camp.
  • 4:00-4:15: Pick up at Base Camp.

Daily Topics could include

  • Power of Plants – Did you know that the southern Appalachians are home to more tree species than all of Europe? We will identify some of our most intriguing native plants and trees – including plants with funny smells, delicious tastes, and other fascinating features.
  • Whose Habitat? – Take an animal’s-eye view of the local environment! By keenly observing signs of native animals, we will examine how different species inhabit coves, bogs, granite peaks, and other mountain ecosystems.
  • Fungus Frenzy – The summer can be an abundant time for mushrooms to pop up to the earth’s surface. Discover a world of beautiful mushrooms and fungi, as we learn about the role of these amazing organisms in our ecosystems.
  • Rockin’ Out – How do mountains form? We will take a closer look at the rocks and minerals of the area, and unearth the stories and science of how the Appalachian Mountains came to be.
  • Stream Investigation – This day always tends to be the favorite! We will get our feet wet as we wade a mountain stream, immersing ourselves in the hidden beauty and biodiversity of the underwater world.
  • Nature Navigators – Learn to be a leader in the outdoors! We will practice reading a map, orienting ourselves with a compass, and using clues from the natural world to help our group stay safe and stay “found.”
  • Hot on the Trail – By sharpening our senses and studying our surroundings, we will learn to be keen observers of the animal signs and tracks all around us.
  • F.B.I.! (Fungus, Bacteria, & Insects) – Put your detective hat on! We will closely investigate different areas of the forest in search of these three very important decomposers.
  • Weather Watchers – The weather affects us every day that we step outside – especially at camp! We will learn about weather systems and make fun, first-hand observations of the weather from various viewpoints along a mountain trail.
  • Watershed Wandering – All week, as we hike through the forest, we crisscross creeks. Today, we get to walk in them! We will take a close look at the critters inhabiting a mountain stream, and learn how their aquatic ecosystem is connected to the woods and watershed that surrounds it.
Camp Muddy Sneakers  strives to provide campers the experience of meaningful time in the outdoors.  Each day has a specific theme or focus but please don’t be alarmed if your child doesn’t come home discussing exactly what the theme of the day is. Time spent out in nature often leads to numerous opportunities to embrace those teachable moments we discover along the way. The beautiful salamander we stumble across on the trail may lead the group into learning about amphibians and going on a “salamander search”. The ability to embrace those teachable moments and expand on your individual child’s curiosity  is an integral piece of what makes Camp Muddy Sneakers such a unique learning experience.
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