Welcome Special Agents to another fun summer of SPREE Camp!
What is a Special Agent? That is what our first week of summer camp was all about! A special agent is someone who dedicates time to helping our South Platte River and the environment it creates and supports. This week of camp, our campers learned about Special Agents through action!
On Monday, the mission left by Chompers, our beaver boss, was to get to know each camper through a name game. The mission was also for each camper to get to know themselves better and tap into their special agent persona. Each camper came up with a special agent name they could be called when engaging in special agent actions! We wrapped up our Monday with a critter crawl- our favorite activity at SPREE! Campers get into the South Platte River to catch the small macroinvertebrates that live along its bottom.
This spring's Art on the River event took place just outside of the downtown REI with two tables full of pelts, crafts, scat (rubber, of course) and excited SPREE teachers. More than 40 groups of children and adults stopped by to learn about SPREE programming, ask questions about the South Platte River, and learn “Whose Scat is That?” where it is up to the guest to match 6 rubberized scats to their animal makers.
Younger guests received take and make craft pouches with instruction and materials for 4 DIY nature crafts: a nature bracelet, a dragonfly craft, a nature weaving, and pressed flower bookmarks. We also played pin the tail on the beaver and drew with chalk to brighten up the cloudy morning.
Many older guests were also interested in the differences between our raccoon and beaver pelts. Together we learned about their respective types of coats and fur and how that applies to each animal's specific habitat near our South Platte River.
We all escaped before the afternoon showers hit, and were able to squeeze in an exciting, colorful mid morning of fun!
Would you believe us if we told you that nature has superpowers? At SPREE’s Spring Break Camp, we learned all about the super senses of many Colorado animals- some animals in our state have superior sight, hearing or touch than us humans. This week we explored them all!
This week kicked off the Spring High School River Rangers teaching days by participating in our March SPREE After School! For the first week of March SPREE After School, two of our River Rangers, Tori & Hailey observed our SPREE educators as they taught the kiddos about animal shelters & practiced our observation skills.
Tori, a returning River Ranger and previous SPREE camper helped teach Hailey how to critter crawl.. leading to Hailey catching her FIRST crawdad ever!! BIG moment in the SPREE world! No one forgets their first crawdad catch.
We are so excited for the rest of our four River Rangers to participate in SPREE After School this month, and for many more big SPREE moments for both them and the kiddos!
Week 4: SPring is here!
After a chilly Critter Crawl, where the SPREE team, River Rangers Adele and Montze, and campers caught only one crawdad, we headed back to the classroom to warm up. Campers were able to make soap using the track molds from last week’s lesson as a graduation gift. Campers got to choose their favorite animal track to make their soap out of and they turned out so cute! After our graduation ceremony, we ended camp by playing a few rounds of Pictionary while we waited for parents. We had so much fun over the last month with our After School campers and can’t wait for Spring Break Camp next week!
Week 3: Whose track is that?
Week 2: Whose Scat is that?
After all the excitement of Critter Crawl, we headed back to the classroom for even more fun activities. Campers learned about all different kinds of scat and what they can tell us about animals. Does the size of the scat tell us if the animal is big or small? What does the scat shape tell us about what they eat? As always, campers were on it and easily identified the animals and their scat.
Finally, campers learned about the difference between bird scat and a bird pellet. A pellet, often referred to as a casting, is a mass of undigested parts of a bird’s food, like bones and fur and is a way for birds of prey, like hawks and owls, to remove these from their digestive system. You can tell a lot about a bird’s diet by dissecting these pellets. And that is exactly what campers did!
Although some were hesitant at first, campers had a blast dissecting pellets and we discovered all kinds of bones, like teeth, jaws, leg bones, and even a full rodent skull! The SPREE team may have even had more fun than the campers!
Week 1: Holes, Burrows, & Nests, Oh My!
To celebrate Black History Month, TGF is highlighting some of the inspiring black leaders in the Denver community, striving to make lasting change within environmental education, conservation, and beyond. When researching for this project, I came across Sandra Douglas, referenced by many who have worked with her as Miss Sandy. As the Community Connector for the Cole Neighborhood, SPREE has worked with her in the past to make outdoor education accessible to this community. When I had the pleasure of speaking with Miss Sandy about her work, I could hear the sounds of a busy kitchen in the background. Sure enough, she told me “Sorry honey, I’m busy cooking up a hundred pounds of potatoes”. At that point, I knew I was talking to someone who cared deeply about this community and that I could not tell her story better than she could. Keep reading to learn more of Miss Sandy’s story, in her words.
In the past 10 months, the Nautilus has been passively collecting trash along the north side of the Cherry Creek between Blake Street and Market Street. The Water Connection (TWC) is excited to share some trash stats for what has been collected!