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Children exploring outdoors. (Credit: Maris Dishno)

The Urban Ecology Center is planning to safely welcome children for summer camps this season at all three Milwaukee locations, according to a press release published last week.
Camps run weekdays from June 14 to Aug. 20 and are available for children, preschool through fourth grade, the release outlined.

The Urban Ecology center focuses on connecting kids with nature, it is also working to keep everyone safe. Campers will have to wear masks, complete daily health assessments, wash hands and primarily learn outside, according to the press release. Camp capacities are also limited to assure distancing.

Children participate in various activities, such as hiking in the woods, learning to fish and creating art. The camps aim to teach kids all about the world around them, explained Lynn Anders, environmental education manager.

“They’re really focused on engaging kids outdoors, connecting them with the natural world and exploring what they could find in their own backyards,” Anders said.

There is also a variety in the camps as they feature different themes and specialties, Anders explained.

“Some of our camps have a specialty where they have specific themes,” she said. “We have a camp called Storybook Tales where they read stories about nature and then they kind of explore in the spirit of the book that they’re reading. The activities really kind of guide their exploration for each day.”

After potentially months of being inside due to circumstances with schooling, Anders believes that these camps can be beneficial when it comes to getting children active.

“The way that many schools have adjusted during the pandemic has kind of kept kids inside maybe more than they’re used to,” she said. “So, our summer camps are a great way to give the kids that opportunity to be active, to exercise their muscles, to really gain all the benefits of the fresh air and running around.”

They are excited to welcome the children back, Anders said, adding that she finds that summer in Wisconsin is a time for spending time outside and hopes that these camps can maybe create a sense of normalcy this season.

“I think we all have fond memories of how we’ve spent our summers and so it’s really an opportunity for kids to return to somewhat of what might feel more normal,” Anders said.

“It also might be a little bit of a relief if they’ve been spending more time indoors with virtual schooling.”

Registration for the summer camps is currently open. Need-based scholarships, made possible by donors, are also available, according to the press release. Full information and registering can be found at https://urbanecologycenter.org/summercamp.

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