Another successful week of SPREE camp in the books! This week, our theme was Nocturnal Nature, and we focused on Colorado animals that live a crepuscular or nocturnal lifestyle. We were lucky enough to have some special nocturnal animal guests teach us this week too!
Monday was all about getting to know all the campers and our local nocturnal animals. Our campers came up with a great brainstorm of different nocturnal and crepuscular animals that live in Denver and Colorado like: bunnies, beavers, coyotes, porcupines, and more! Do you know the difference between crepuscular and nocturnal animals?
Crepuscular: most active at dawn & dusk
Nocturnal: most active at night
On Tuesday, we had guests come to visit camp: Nature’s Educators! They brought live animals to camp to teach us about nocturnal animal adaptations. Among the animals, we saw a scorpion glowing in black light, a brown Colorado tarantula, and a barn owl! We learned that the barn owl could hear so well, it could actually hear all of our hearts beating in our chest!
We also had a critter crawl on Tuesday, where our campers had success in catching small crawdads, large crawdads, dragonfly nymphs and other macros in our South Platte River.
On Wednesday, we used our sense of hearing to learn about nocturnal sounds at night. There is a special sound to summer evenings in Denver, but what is making all the noise? Frogs! Our campers made noise makers that mimicked the sound of frogs at night. We then used those instruments to create a nocturnal symphony! Campers even tested their ability to jump as far as a frog might be able to if they were the size of humans. We didn’t quite jump as high as them.
For critter crawl, we used our nets at the river to catch frog food- those small macroinvertebrates that live in the water! We also kept our eyes out for signs of frogs at the river, because sometimes at SPREE HQ we are lucky enough to find tadpoles and watch them develop over the summer. No such luck this year.. Yet!
Thursday was field day- a great deal of fun at SPREE camp! We played field games such as “fox & squirrel”, “salamander prey tag”, and “snake tag” to represent some more of our crepuscular and nocturnal animal friends in Denver. We had to cool off, so what better way than in our River with a critter crawl?!
Finally Friday, a fun day of camp, but also sad to see some campers leave for the season. On Friday we focused on a nocturnal animal that flies…. Owls! Since we saw a barn owl on Tuesday with our guest, we had to learn more about these fascinating creatures. We learn by digging deep, and this day we dissected owl pellets. These were some of the coolest pellets we have ever dissected at camp, and our campers were finding FULL SKULLS of animals these owls had eaten. WILD!