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Dana Skidmore and her Counselors spent one week with over 50 campers during 2017's Ecology Camp. The weather cooperated all week and the campers enjoyed exploring the Clinton Town Beach for 3 days and woodland habitats for 2 days. They spent time beach seining for fish & shrimp, tide-pooling for green crabs and asian shore crabs,  and they also explored the salt marsh habitat and loved catching fiddler crabs! Campers learned to identify osprey, cormorants, terns, egrets, herons and the different species of seagulls flying overhead. During their time spent at Peter's Memorial Woods, they explored stream beds and vernal pools and were very excited to catch many red "efts" ; the larval stage of a red spotted newt. They compared the woodland bird songs and enjoyed their discoveries of toads and salamanders. Lastly, while exploring the Indian River, the campers caught a Northern water snake and a musk turtle. Environmental skits as well as environmental running games (King Crab) were played each day and lots of fun was had by all

This was a picture taken at Peters Woods. We had hiked the red trail, yellow trail and parts of the blue trail. Our highlight at Peter’s Woods was exploring the vernal pool there. It was there that the campers found green frogs, bull frogs, wood frogs, juvenile salamanders, juvenile red spotted newts and lots of dragonfly larva. We even spotted a garter snake sunning itself. While hiking, the campers identified different tree species, mountain laurel, poison ivy and woodland bird calls 

One of the traditions at Ecology Camp is to play environmental running games. Here, the counselors are playing “King Crab” with the campers. It is an Adaptation game that helps reinforce concepts of how different animals adapt and thrive in their habitats. It is also here that we stress the importance of keeping the habitat the way we found it - resulting in minimal human impact. If trash is found anywhere during our explorations, we pick it up!

Here, Ecology Campers are exploring the low tide at the Town Beach. They have been taught that many crabs take shelter under logs, rocks and seaweed and they are gently searching under these things to see what they can find.Their collecting buckets are made from recycled gallon milk jugs that have been cut. They work cooperatively together, which helps in diminishing any fears that a camper may have. Before they leave to explore another area, they make sure to turn back all rocks or logs that have been turned over - leaving the habitat they way they found it.

This picture says it all. Ecology Camp is filled with wonder and discovery! This camper is experiencing a moon snail slowly coming out of its shell right in her hand. The body is slimy and she is witnessing it for the first time. 

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