What is a typical week like?
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, campers are at Magnuson Park, hiking, learning, and occasionally listening to a guest presenter. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, campers go on field trips to other local parks in Seattle. (Carkeek Park, Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, Hamlin Park, and the Arboretum are most common.) The field trip destinations depend on the week's theme. Final field trip schedules will be announced in the spring.
How do campers travel to field trip destinations?
We charter buses and drivers for field trips from King's Schools, a private school based out of Shoreline, WA. The campers will board with their Naturalists and Junior Naturalist, and the camp coordinator will drive their car separately in case of emergencies.
What is the appropriate age for Nature Camp?
Nature Camp is designed for students who will be entering grades 1-9 in the fall immediately after camp. Nature Camp is not appropriate for pre-K toddlers or children who have not yet completed Kindergarten. No exceptions will be made. For high school students, we offer the Junior Naturalist program as a way to earn service learning credits.
How are campers divided into groups? Will siblings stay together?
Who teaches my kids at Nature Camp?
Field groups are assigned by grade level, with 10-12 campers per group. Each group is led by an adult Naturalist and at least one teenage Junior Naturalist. The youngest campers in A Sessions usually have two or three field groups (one group per grade level or one single grade group and one mixed grade group), depending on the week. B Sessions often have 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the same group, and C Sessions will have 7th-9th graders together.
We try to honor "buddy" requests whenever possible, but note that older campers must join the younger camper's group. We understand that it might be hard at first for siblings or cousins to be separated, but we strongly encourage teamwork and friendship throughout the week, and even the shyest campers often have a new BFFs before the week's end. Campers of all ages do have a chance to mingle during lunch, recreation times, and occasional all-camp activities.
Seattle Audubon Nature Camp staff is professional and enthusiastic about teaching kids. There is a reason we call them "Naturalists" or "Teachers" (never "counselors"). All Naturalists are college graduates, who are often working on, or have received, a master’s degree in education. All have extensive experience teaching outdoor and environmental education and working with children. CPR/First Aid certification and both state and national background checks are required.
What are Junior Naturalists?
Junior Naturalists are high school students who assist and are mentored by adult Naturalists in day-to-day tasks at Nature Camp. The Junior Naturalist program offers teens in grades 10-12 a chance to earn service learning credits required for graduation, while building leadership and teaching skills. Select paid internship opportunities are also available. Junior Naturalists are required to attend a half-day training with the adult Naturalists, where teens learn how to interact with children, lead games and activities, risk management techniques, and appropriate behavior in a professional setting.
View the Junior Naturalist program page for more information and an application.
What happens if I pick up my camper late?
Any Camper left after 3:45pm will automatically be put in Extended Care. The full $17 Afternoon Extended Care fee is due upon pickup. Extended Care late fees are $1 per minute after 5:30pm .and $3 per minute after 5:45pm.
Prep for Camp:
What is the Parent Pack? What forms do I need to fill out?
The Parent Pack will be emailed at the time of your registration and is also available online to download. The Parent Pack gives detailed information about what to expect at Nature Camp, how to get there, policies, and checklists for preparation.
In addition to the Parent Pack the Health and Authorization form can also be downloaded and will be emailed at the time of registration.This must be completed before your child can attend Nature Camp. We require one form per camper, and ask that you fill out a new form each summer so that we have the most current information for your child. If your camper is signed up for multiple sessions throughout the summer, you only need to fill out the form once before your first session -- we will keep it on file for the rest of the summer. The Medication Card is only needed if your child needs to take medication during camp hours, or for emergency medications that are carried at all times like an asthma inhaler or Epi-pen. You do not need to turn in a Medication Card if your child takes medication at home before or after camp hours.
I never received an email confirmation. What should I do?
First, check your junk mail folder. Gmail and Outlook sometimes flag the first message from our automated online registration system. Please add the address from your confirmation to your safe senders list. DO NOT USE UW EMAIL ADDRESSES TO REGISTER. The University of Washington server rejects all messages from the automated system. The Camp Registrar has tried to find a solution to this problem, but in the meantime, please use another email account for your registration.
If you still do not get an email confirmation, please contact the Camp Registrar to ensure your information was entered correctly. Registrations made by phone should receive an email confirmation within three business days.
What does my camper need to bring?
A full checklist is included in the Parent Pack, but here are the basics for every day at Nature Camp:
- A backpack
- A jacket or sweatshirt
- A refillable water bottle
- Two snacks
Campers are not allowed to use handheld video games, phones, iPods, or other electronic toys during camp hours. Campers may bring a point-and-shoot digital camera or binoculars, but the Nature Camp staff assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged items.
What should my camper wear?
Can I pack nut products (or other food allergens) in my camper's lunch?
Make sure your camper is prepared for quick-changing weather conditions. All campers need a jacket or sweatshirt, even on the hottest days, since we are often trekking through shaded forest trails. We are outside for most of the day, everyday, unless the weather conditions are dangerous. We never go swimming at Nature Camp. At most, campers might wade in tide pools ankle-deep, but there is no need to pack swimwear. Make sure your camper wears shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for walking long distances. Sandals are permitted, as long as they have a heel strap that secures the foot bed to the foot. Flip flops and slippers are not allowed.
We have at least one camper with a severe food allergy most weeks of camp. Please try to avoid packing peanut or tree nut products in your child's lunch and snacks if at all possible. We do not allow campers to share food, and we take extra precautions to keep campers with severe food allergies safe, but it is better to be safe than sorry.