Wilderness & Environmental Sciences

Pond Expedition- Hands on science curriculum

 

Wilderness and Environmental Sciences are all about exploring, observing and comprehending life in the great outdoors! Participants will gain an understanding of the environment and learn how to be responsible and respectful citizens of planet Earth. Tamarack Camp’s Science courses meet state educational standards and give students an opportunity to use scientific tools and practices.

 

Animal Tracking

4th Grade and UP

Tracking animals- looking for prints and other signs of animal presence- is one of the simplest and most enduring ways to learn about the natural world. In this program, students will learn about the basics of animal tracking in our nature center, then embark on a tracking expedition with an experienced Outdoor Educator to test out their new skills. A great class for groups preparing for the M-STEP Science test.

Chaperones Required: 1:10                                                   

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Balloon Drop

5th Grade and UP

This unique new class gets groups brainstorming, communicating and constructing a design that they     believe will accomplish the challenge set before them: participants must safely drop a water balloon off a second story balcony without the balloon bursting! Groups will be divided into small teams and each team will be allowed to choose a certain number of objects from the “store.” Using these items, their brainstorming ideas and trial and error, teams will construct a device to take the balloon safely to the ground.

Chaperones Required: 1:12                                                   

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

 

Day Hike

4th Grade and UP

Getting participants into nature is one of the best things about bringing groups to Tamarack Camps. The day hike is for those groups that want to explore the natural beauty of the woods while experiencing teachable moments with their Tamarack guide. Groups will hike through the woods and around lakes, ponds and streams, exploring nature. Boots or sneakers required.

Chaperones Required: 1:10       

͌ 3 mile hike:                   2 hours 45 minutes– LONG

 

Eco-Games

K – 8th Grade

In Eco Games, participants will learn about adaptations, ecosystems, limiting factors, human environmental impact and more! Groups will play a series of games designed to help visualize these ecological concepts. During these games, participants will have the opportunity to estimate carrying capacity, discuss adaptations and apply their findings to life at home. The goal is not only to have groups learn about the local ecosystems, but also consider ways to help protect them.

Chaperones Required: 1:12

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Forest Ecology

K– 8th Grade

Discovery through observation makes this newly revised class a unique hands-on learning opportunity. Forest Ecology, formerly Forest Trek, meets many educational standards as participants explore, observe, measure and record data while they hike through the woods. Tamarack staff make this interactive class a fun learning experience for groups of all ages.

Chaperones Required: 1:15                                    

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Freshwater Ecosystems

3rd- 8th Grade

The state of Michigan is chock full of diverse and beautiful freshwater ecosystems, from the Great Lakes to small ponds and creeks. In this program, students will use observation skills to explore the various freshwater ecosystems we have here at camp, then conduct a water quality investigation. A great class for groups preparing for the M-STEP Science test.

Chaperones Required: 1:12                                                   

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

GPS: Geocaching

4th Grade and UP

Join the world’s largest treasure hunt! Geocaching is an increasingly popular pastime all over the globe with over two million caches worldwide, and this class brings the excitement of it to Tamarack Camps! Participants learn how to use a handheld GPS, then utilize this skill in small groups to hunt for more caches. Participants solve clues to learn the location of each cache and once at the cache, participants can opt to swap a knickknack or keep the one they have. Every participant goes home with a toy!

Chaperones Required: 1:8

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

GPS: Orienteering Hike

5th Grade and UP

Participants become masters of modern navigation with a tool that more and more people are using each day– the GPS. After learning how to use their handheld GPS units, small teams will embark on an adventurous hike through the woods, recording written clues at each waypoint along the trail. All teams must be accompanied by a chaperone. Teams attempt to make it though the entire course and solve the riddle and then compare stories of what they experienced.

Chaperones Required: 1:8

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Hammock Nature Journaling

4th Grade and UP

An opportunity for participants to unplug, relax and observe the natural environment. In an increasingly busy world, people seldom take the time to stop and smell the roses. In this case, we want participants to stop and hear the birds, feel the wind and smell the plants as they observe and record their surroundings while kicking back in a Tamarack hammock!

Chaperones Required: 1:12                       Max Participants: 26         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Instincts for Survival

4th– 12th Grade

Participants learn the importance of a balanced food chain as they explore the energy pyramid in this exciting simulation game. Groups will be divided into carnivores, herbivores and omnivores as they discover how much energy they need to consume to survive! Participants make predictions about what would happen to the ecosystem if the energy pyramid were not balanced and then observe through this simulation the effects of that imbalance. A great way to get groups energized, running around and excited to learn!

Chaperones Required: 1:10                                  Minimum Participants: 20        

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Invasive Species

4th Grade and UP

Some of Michigan’s native plants and animals are fighting for their lives! During this newly revised class, participants have an opportunity to witness the consequences of human-driven species introduction in the Great Lakes region and learn to distinguish between native, non-native and invasive species. This program begins with a discovery based hands on activity, designed to help participants visualize the effects of invasive species. It ends with a service project, removing invasive plants and restoring natural habitats!

Chaperones Required: 1:15         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Living Science

K– 12th Grade

With the completion of Tamarack Camps’ brand new nature center, Living Science gives participants a hands on experience they will never forget. Groups learn about Michigan native mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and invertebrates, getting a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these Michigan critters. This program is a great opportunity for learning about adaptations and biodiversity in this great state.

Chaperones Required: 1:12                                     

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Michigan Map & Compass

2nd Grade and UP

Revised in 2015, the new map and compass course will give participants basic orienteering skills, teaching them to take and follow bearings to make their way through the course. Groups will be broken into teams of 5-8 members, with each team requireing chaperone accompaniment . Teams will travel through wooded trails, collecting Michigan facts and information to complete a puzzle. Groups can choose between the Short Course or the Long Course depending on their age and abilities.

Chaperones Required: 1:8

Short Course (2nd– 12th Grade):       1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Long Course (5th– 12th Grade):         2 hours 45 minutes- LONG

Michigan Seasonal Ecology- NEW!

K– 12th Grade

Because we have four distinct seasons here in Michigan , the natural world is constantly changing! In this program, students will learn about what’s going on around them in whatever season they visit camp, through a combination of programming in our nature center and out in the forest. A great class for groups who are preparing for the M-STEP Science test.

  • Spring Focus- Flowering Plants and foraging
  • Fall Focus- Falling leaves and animal migration
  • Winter Focus- Winter ecology and habitat

Chaperones Required: 1:12                   

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Microscope Lab

4th – 12th Grade

Bring the science classroom outdoors with Tamarack Camps’ microscope lab! Participants will collect samples
from all over the woods and use them to create slides for observation under the microscope. Groups are astonished to discover living organisms are everywhere, even in seemingly lifeless places. A great class for
groups that wish to gain skills in scientific study and using scientific equipment.

Chaperones Required: 1:12         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Outdoor Cooking

4th Grade and UP

Outdoor cooking is a great way to give your group hands on experience in this authentic camping tradition. Participants will feel a sense of accomplishment as they enjoy the delicacy that they created and cooked for themselves over the fire. Groups can also choose this class as a full meal option. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated upon request.

Chaperones Required: 1:15         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Pond Expedition

K– 8th Grade

Lakes, ponds and wetlands form a vital part of the ecology of Michigan and the rest of the world! Participants in this class get their hands dirty as they explore the wet and wonderful world below the surface of our lakes and ponds. Using nets, buckets, magnifying glasses, and other equipment, groups will experience an up-close, hands on investigation into this intricate ecosystem. Participants interpret the information they collect to identify the type of environment and learn about succession and food chains. This class stresses the importance of clean water for all life on earth.

Chaperones Required: 1:10

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Pond Under the Scope

4th Grade and UP

This class combines the hands on exploration of Pond Expedition with the scientific skills of Microscope Lab. In this extended class, participants explore the ecosystem of the lake and are able to further explore their findings under the microscope.

Chaperones Required: 1:10               

2 hour 45 minutes– LONG

Raptor Discovery

Kindergarten and UP

In this program, students will get to have an up close and personal meeting with Tamarack’s resident raptors, a red-tailed hawk and an owl! This program will teach students about the important roles that raptors play in our world, the natural history of these birds, and how we can help protect and conserve raptors in our ecosystem. A great class
for groups preparing for the M-STEP Science test.

Chaperones Required: 1:20                                

Max Participants: 20         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Raptor Pellets

4th Grade and UP

In this exciting program, participants learn about a day in the life of a raptor; where they live, how they hunt, what they eat, and what happens after they eat! Participants work in groups to dissect owl pellets and make scientific observations and conclusions based on their findings. Participants will also have an opportunity to meet Tamarack Camps’ hawk and owl.

Chaperones Required: 1:20                                 Max Participants: 20         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Sustainability Exploration

4th Grade and UP

What does it mean to be “sustainable”? In this program, students will begin by exploring Tamarack’s new nature center to learn all about sustainable design and engineering. Then, participants will dive into what it means to be environmentally sustainable, and learn about different ways that they can lessen their impact on the earth.

Chaperones Required: 1:20                                

Max Participants: 40         

1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Wilderness Survival

4th– 12th Grade

The perfect class for any group, the newly revised Wilderness Survival gets participants’ hands dirty as they dig in to what it takes to survive in the wild. Groups discover the basic needs of food, shelter and water and learn what to pack in a survival kit. Groups who choose the SHORT class choose between having participants build shelters or fires. Groups participating in the LONG class are able to build both fires and shelters. LONG class participants can also choose a class based on Gary Paulsen’s novel, Hatchet.

 Chaperones Required: 1:12             

Fire OR Shelter building:         1 hour 15 minutes– SHORT

Fire AND Shelter, or Hatchet: 2 hours 45 minutes– LONG