After nearly five weeks with no rain in the Shenandoah Valley, as FNFSR's Program Coordinator…
It’s been one week since the wrap up of the last day of the Shenandoah River Rangers and Players Camps, and the education team for the camp(s) is finally beginning to rebound from the relentless high energy and environmental education fun that characterized all ten days of the camps, and left the team a wonderful type of exhausted.
This year the camps were primarily based beside the river behind Strasburg High School, and featured field trips to Seven Bends State Park and the Strasburg Town Park, along with a paddling trip on the northern part of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River for the River Rangers.
Highlights of the camps included getting hands dirty in soil, embarking on an animal adaptation obstacle course in a forest, doing science experiments on tomato plants, painting bee hives in Seven Bends State Park, seeing/touching all sorts of animal ‘signs’, seeing a live performance of the ‘Two Huge Dudes’ —more specifically shouting, “You gotta protect…” and being met with a chorus of, “THE SHENANDOAH”!, paddling on the North Fork, getting in the river to find all sorts of benthic macro invertebrate critters, and making friends who care about the planet! I personally had a lot of fun interacting with and teaching all the kids involved in the camps and working with our fabulous Education Support Specialist, Daisy Blakely, and the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District (LFSWCD) Education Specialist, Allyson Ponn, along with countless others to help make this camp happen.
The camps would not have been possible without the invaluable development and executional support from Allyson Ponn with LFSWCD, who was a critical part of camp development from the beginning of the camp planning process through to the last wrap up lesson at the camps last Friday. Additionally, Friends of the North Fork would like to extend a huge thank you to the all of the volunteers who added a depth to the camps impossible without them. We’d like to specifically thank Joan Chapman and Stefany Feldbusch for helping with the early stages of camp development through to camp delivery, along with Gael Shaffer, Megan Church, Jaiden Ludwig, Noah Varias, Amy Hodge, Chris Bachmann, Dustyn Vallies, Steve Shaffer, Kathy Doyle, Nick Livesay, Alison Sloop, and Concha Mendoza who helped during the camps, and everyone else who contributed in the early planning stages of the camps too.
As in 2020, camp organization this year required an open mind and the adaptation of plans as the camps we intended on running transformed from hybrid in format to the in-person camps we were able to execute. Thanks again for such a fabulous year of camps, and we look forward to seeing new and familiar faces at next year’s camps!
P.S. Explore some fun photos from the camp below!