From feathers to fur and talons to teeth, SPREE campers spent the past week investigating the features that make Colorado animals unique.
On Monday, we focused on feet by making our own plaster tracks and learning to ID animal tracks. On Tuesday we examined animals' body coverings, made a beautiful feather mural, and learned about snake skin and the waterproof fur of beavers. We moved on to learning about the specialized mouths of insects through a game trying to pick up items with different tools. We made out own pecking woodpecker and you can, too, by following the instructions found here.
Later in the week, we learned about animal eyes and vision. We also did our own animal challenge course to see if campers could jump as far as a frog, among other skills. We ended the week with an exploration of skulls, pelts, and tracks on loan from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Campers got to compare the fur of a bighorn sheep to that of a bear and see how different skulls relate to animal diets. We also had fun acting like beavers and making our own dams and then testing them out.
This past weekend, the GLC and River Rangers went white water rafting along the Arkansas River. We departed from Denver on Friday morning, spent the day in Buena Vista, rafting through Browns Canyon. We set up camp at Turtle Rock Campground and enjoyed a delicious dinner - and s’mores of course. The next morning, we woke up and did it again, rafting a lower portion of the Arkansas and ending near Salida.
Browns Canyon offers some of the most popular white water rafting in the whole US of A. It is a recently designated national monument, and we spent our two days admiring the geologic features and beautiful landscape that make up the canyon. We even spotted some bighorn sheep! This section of the Arkansas River boasts class II-III+ whitewater rapids, and we got to experience it all at high water. On Friday, we split up the 10 miles we rafted with a tasty and scenic riverside lunch.
Our fabulous guides were all part of cityWILD, a Denver-based nonprofit that aims to engage youth in experiential learning opportunities that boldly address issues of inequity in education, economic opportunity, and access to the outdoors. They provide comprehensive, tuition-free programs promote themes of personal empowerment, leadership, and community participation while motivating participants to reach their full potential at school, at home, and in their communities. Using the outdoors as a classroom and laboratory for hands-on learning, cityWILD offers year-round, youth development programs which provide at risk students with challenging activities, opportunities for growth, healthy lifestyles, peer bonding, and supportive adults. Two of our river guides are cityWILD alums, and it was great hearing from them about their experiences.
We learned about the effects of dams on rivers, people, and local habitats, from our very own TGF educator, Eve. And our development director shared his work experience in the nonprofit sector, and how he ended up at The Greenway Foundation.
All in all, it was a fabulous weekend, and we can’t wait for next year!
This week at SPREE Summer camps, campers traveled back in time to discover Denver's past!
The week started with campers discovering and reenacting the lives of Arapaho and Cheyenne plains Native Americans. Campers wove baskets, reenacted hunting, gathering, and fishing techniques, and made traditional toys and musical instruments.
Later in the week, campers learned even more about these Native Americans by visiting the History Colorado Center!
Later in the week, campers learned about the prospectors, pioneers, and gold miners who came to Colorado. They learned to gold pan, reenacted mining, and even practiced doing some pioneer chores!
Campers wrapped up the week by learning about Denver as it grew into the city that it is today. They got an expert history lesson while they rode the Denver Trolley, and learned about Denver's flood of 1965 in Confluence park.
And of course, throughout the week the campers had a great time exploring and catching the critters in the Cherry Creek and South Platte River!
SPREE Summer Camp is underway and campers and staff had a fun first week, becoming special agents to help the environment. We started the week learning special agent skills, including making nature masks and sorting trash, compost, and recycling. Campers also made secret messages using homemade decoders, watercolors, and lemon juice.
Campers had a special guest, Originative, come in and guide them in building animals and other keepsakes out of tree cookies, pinecones, and other natural/ reused materials.
The main mission of the week was to defeat the Trash Monster. Campers learned about storm drains and outfalls, created wanted signs and trash monster traps, and we did our own trash clean up around the parks. We also learned about the health of our waterways by examining and sorting the critters we caught in the South Platte and Cherry Creek.
We ended the week with a fun field day of water exploration and team-building games, along with a special graduation ceremony. SPREE is excited for week two and more fun this summer!
We still have spots available for upcoming weeks! Find out more here.