This past weekend, students from SPREE's summer camp and their families came to camp at Johnson Habitat Park. Some families were seasoned campers, while others were trying out camping with SPREE for the first time! We had a great time exploring the park and the river, listening to a talk from a Denver Park Ranger, cooking dinner over the fire pit, roasting s'mores, and sleeping under the stars. The rainy evening didn't stop these hearty families from having a blast! In all, over 30 students and their families came out to have fun and sleep outside.
Campers at SPREE got “tangled in the food web,” exploring connections between the sun, plants, animals, and our environment.
We started the week learning about the power of the sun. We planted our own bean seeds and watched them begin to grow. Throughout the week, we created and added parts of the food web to mobiles that campers took home at the end of the week. We studied herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores in part through examining skulls and pelts. Campers got creative with clay and craft materials to make their own imaginary herbivore.
Later, we took our questions and knowledge down to the water and caught crawdads and studied aquatic plants. We explored the interconnections within the food web and how an ecosystem can change with the addition of a beaver dam or the removal of an apex predator, like wolves.
We also had fun exploring nearby parks through a field day. SPREE HQ campers got to visit Overland Pond Park and campers downtown visited Commons Park.
We closed the week by looking at some overlooked parts of the ecosystem- scavengers, decomposers, and parasites. We studied bacteria we had collected in petri dishes. Campers made their own snails, conducted a decomposer investigation in the soil, and learned about leeches down by the water.
Thanks to all for another fun week of camp!
February 3rd was a chilly day but SPREE campers still had fun learning about the journey of the The South Platte River, from the mountains to the ocean.
Campers acted out the water cycle with a raindrop friend that they created. They created their own watershed models and tested out where water goes using a spray bottle. We read “My Water Comes From the Mountains,” written by Tiffany Fourment and illustrated by Dorothy Emerling. Campers created their own artwork based on the book and added it to a group mural.
Campers and staff ended the day with a fun walk down to the River to observe ducks and geese and of course some practice skipping rocks!
Are you interested in sending your child to SPREE’s Holiday Camp when school is off for the day? Come join the fun this spring at Johnson Habitat Park! Find out our schedule for the day and more here.
February 20: The Secret Lives of Hibernators ($45)
Investigate the animals who are sleeping through the winter in Colorado!
March 27-31: Reptiles and Amphibians of Colorado ($225)
Join SPREE to become herpetologists- experts on Colorado’s reptiles and amphibians!
April 3: Crazy about Crawdads ($45)
Become a crawdad expert as we investigate one of the South Platte's most amazing creatures!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 720-306-8000 for more information on SPREE Holiday or Summer Camps.
This week at camp, the kids followed the journey of the South Platte River and it's tributaries from its origin all the way to the gulf of Mexico. Throughout the week, the kids had a blast working on a project each day- making a model of Denver's own watershed. Teams worked together to make a landscape, mountains, rivers and creeks, plants, animals, and buildings and cities! The end products turned out great.
Monday was all about watersheds. Campers learned what watersheds are, how they work, and where we in Denver get our water from. We even made models of the transmountain diversion and learned our watershed address.
Tuesday's focus was on the river in the city. We learned how Denver's water gets cleaned, and where it goes after- back into the South Platte! We experimented with purifying our own water, caught critters in the water, and even helped clean up around the river!
On Wednesday we zoomed in on the River and took a look at the aquatic macroinvertebrates living beneath the water's surface. We caught crawdads, clams, dragonfly nymphs, damselfly larva, scuds, water boatmen, and more! We learned that all of these animals are indicator species. We can tell how healthy the river is by what creatures are living in it- turns out, the river is doing great! Another way to test the health of the river is to check on the abiotic, nonliving, factors such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and pH.
Crawdads were the catch of the day on Thursday! We learned all about their adaptations, anatomy, what they eat, where they live, and more! And of course we got to go to the river and try to catch some!
Then, we had fish Friday! The campers at HQ camp got an extra special treat and got to learn to fish with students from ELK (Environmental Learning for Kids).
Our SPREE Scientists week at camp was a blast! Kids loved exploring a new kind of science every day and making inventions, doing experiments, and doing some engineering! And getting in the creek and River every day of course!
Monday was all about weather and meteorology. Campers learned to identify clouds, and did experments with rain water and sunlight.
Tuesday was about engineering. We had a guest electrical engineer who told us about his job working on solar and wind farms. We invented and built "puff-mobiles" out of only a few supplies and life saver wheels. We also made "wigglebots," robots that can draw!
Wednesday we focused on hydro engineering. We built water wheels, invented trash removal devices for the river, did water experiments, and even got to see a storm drain cleaning vacuum truck in action!
On Thursday we all became geologists and learned more about the earth and rocks. We reenacted the rock cycle, made "quicksand," took soil samples, and even made our own fossils!
Friday was our field day where we became ecologists and entomologists. We hiked along the river trails and observed plants, insects, and other animals that live in and near the water. When we got to the park, we collected more insects with sweep nets and looked for more clues of other animals living in the park. Once we had all the information we needed, we were able to create a food web connecting all of the living things in the park and got to see how they are all connected!
Our SPREE summer campers always love "Things with Wings" week! Each day celebrates and explores a new type of winged creature.
On Monday, our theme was bats. Campers learned all about bats, their life cycle, diet, and cool adaptations!
Tuesday's focus was flying insects. We learned about aquatic macroinvertebrates (insects who start their life cycle in the water), predator insects like lady bugs and preying mantises, and about butterflies and moths! We wrapped up our day with an insect hunt to see how many winged creatures we could find right around camp.
Wednesday's theme was bees and pollinators. We learned about bee adaptations through a dress up, did a bee craft, and went on a pollinator scavenger hunt!
Birds were the focus of Thursday. We learned about wings and feathers, their different feet and beak adaptations, and even got to solve a mystery based on bird tracks.
Friday was raptor day! We dissected owl pellets, learned about the special adaptations of raptors, and even got to meet some raptors!