Camps of the Week
Staff Bios | Things to Know
The Robinson Nature Center, which opened in September 2011, will host its first camps this coming summer. Space is open in these two exciting, never-before-offered mini-camps.
From the Program Manager, Meagan Leatherbury
"These camps provide an opportunity for kids who might get burnt out by a full week of camp to try something out that they might enjoy without feeling like their summer is completely scheduled.
"They’re also an economic choice for families. For those families with several children whom all want to experience camps, our 3-day mini-camps help give each child that experience without breaking the bank."
Click section numbers to register
10-12 yrs / 3 days, start dates below / $140 / 9 AM-5 PM / W-F
RP4824.801 Jun 27
RP4824.802 Jul 11
You have the power to take something free and turn it into art, shelter or even energy. In this 3-day mini-camp experience, you will create art and jewelry out of found objects and recyclable materials. You will create your own solar oven – heating food with only the power of the sun. You will even get a chance to design your own sustainable structure. Discover how to harness the power of nature so that you can live a greener life and help save the planet.
"Kids have a chance to meet with other kids who share their same concern for using natural resources to their fullest in creative ways,” Meagan says. “They’re doing something that they never would have been able to do outside of this type of camp that really focuses on sustainability.”
The Eco-Power Mini-Camp has a maximum enrollment of 20 kids, one of Howard County’s smaller summer camps, giving campers the opportunity to establish bonds with fellow campers and receive more individualized instruction from Robinson Nature Center’s three educators and full-time naturalist.
A Day at Camp
When campers arrive in the morning, they start their day with a free-time period that allows them to begin projects or work on ones they had started.
They then spend the morning learning about a particular subject. For example, campers will learn about solar energy, view solar panels and apply that knowledge by harnessing the sun’s energy to create solar ovens to cook nachos.
After lunch, campers participate in arts and crafts, weaving a fan out of recycled newspaper and learning to use what they think is trash to make a cool project.
But this camp also gets kids off their feet. In the afternoon they will go out on the trails around Robinson Nature Center and learn about some of the features of this brand-new facility. They then take all the knowledge they’ve accumulated throughout the day and compete in building a sustainable structure.
Solar System Searchers
Click section number to register
9-11 yrs / 3 days starting Jul 18 / $120 / 9 AM-3 PM / W-F
RP4823.801 Jul 18
What lies beyond our planet in space? In this 3-day mini-camp, explore our solar system. From the rings of Saturn to the craters of our moon and from the solar storms on our sun the asteroids and comets shooting across our sky, space is full of amazing and unique discoveries. You’ll enjoy planetarium shows, hands-on activities and safe solar viewing of celestial objects.
Like the Eco-Power Mini-Camp, this camp is capped at 20 kids. The highlight of the camp is spending time in Robinson Nature Center’s 50-seat full-dome planetarium, the only one of its kind in the county.
“It can take you wherever you want to go,” Meagan says.
Members of the Howard Astronomical League will join our camp staff for certain activities.
A Day at Camp
In the morning, campers participate in an activity that gets them up and moving. They will learn about safe solar viewing and will “walk” the solar system down to a scale level to help them understand the size of space and where planets and stars are located.
Camp activities focus on what is current in space, whether it’s a constellation or a star or planet that’s bright in the sky.
Before lunch, campers head to the planetarium for presentations and to watch feature films about subjects such as black holes and the birth of the stars. These movies are made specifically for dome planetariums, giving campers the effect of floating through space.
In the afternoon, campers compete in space-related games. For example, they take control of a robot arm, imagining they’re out in space and have to perform a task. They take turns controlling the robot and simulating what it’s like to control the Rover on Mars!
Katie Peet is a Michigan State University graduate with both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Zoology. She recently moved on south to Maryland to work as the Naturalist at the Robinson Nature Center. Katie led field trips, camps and classes at nature centers in Michigan. She also worked at a number of different zoos around the country taking care of animals and leading educational programs. With a creative mind and true passion for nature Katie has quickly settled into Maryland and is looking forward to a wonderful summer full of fun at the RNC!
Kelly Vogelpohl's passion for nature began playing in the forests, fields and streams of Western Howard County, where she grew up. She graduated in 2003 from the University of Vermont, with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science. She has developed and led environmental education programs at Piney Run Nature Center, Patapsco Valley State Park, and Patuxent Research Refuge, among others. Now, as a mom of 2, she is even more passionate about sharing her knowledge of our natural world with the next generation.
Helen Lowe Metzman is the Director of Jim Duke's Green Farmacy Garden, and she also works part time for Howard County’s Department of Recreation and Parks Natural Resources Division and the Robinson Nature Center. She has a degree in Environmental Education from the University of Vermont and has taught all ages about the wonders of nature for over 30 years. Helen has worked as a Naturalist in Vermont, taught outdoor education in Cape Cod, worked with school groups, camps and preschool children at the Audubon Naturalist Society in Maryland, and has led kindergarten nature camps for Howard County’s summer program.
Monica Horan joined the Nature Center staff in October 2011, working part-time for the center and sharing her love of nature as a stay-at-home mom with her two daughters the other part of her time. Prior to joining the Nature Center, she worked as a Biologist & Educator at the Maryland State Department of Natural Resources for several years educating school children about Bay grasses. She also taught high school biology in Anne Arundel County for 5 years. She has always loved working with children of all ages and being outside exploring nature!
Things to Know
What to Bring
Eat a quality breakfast each morning. Please bring a non-perishable lunch and a drink each day. Please do not bring any food items that contain any peanut or nut products (other children may be allergic).
The recommended attire for the camp is t-shirt, shorts, socks, and athletic shoes.
Participation Information Form
You MUST bring this form, completed and signed, with you on the first day of camp. Without this form, we cannot accept your child at camp. Please notify the Camp Director in writing of any allergies or health concerns pertinent to your child’s camp experience.
Robinson Nature Center, 6692 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD 21044
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The camp will meet rain or shine. For severe weather program changes, information will be available one hour prior to the camp start time on the Department’s program status line, 410-313-4451; press 4 for camps. The recorded message will reflect any changes for the camp. If the weather is severe, we will arrange for indoor activities.