Students explore park during school break

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
Members of the Northwest Park February School Break Camp enjoy their time snowshoeing the park's trails. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Members of the Northwest Park February School Break Camp enjoy their time snowshoeing the park's trails. Photos by Colin Rajala.

With multiple schools throughout the area having a break from class and an abundance of snow on the ground, it was the perfect time last week for children to go outside and discover the beauty of the winter. Children in grades one through six did just that, exploring the 473 acres and more than 12 miles of trails at Northwest Park as part of the February School Break Camp, held Feb. 19 through 22.

“The coolest thing about this camp is the social aspect of it,” said Jen Filer, camp director and environmental educator. “These children don’t all have the opportunity to see each other [as they attend different schools]. To actually watch them come together as a group is just great, because at this age, it is very important for kids to be able to socialize with different age groups, with different levels. Just getting out there, being active and experiencing these things - especially for the first time - creates a bond."

The February School Break Camp gives children an opportunity to learn about nature in a hands-on, educational environment that lends itself to being quite fun as well, with activities like skiing, snowshoeing and sledding. Filer noted that the winter months are often considered dreary and bleak, but in actuality, she said, they are filled with activities and new things to take in.

During camp, kids tried a few experiments to help them put on their own pancake breakfast, including making their own butter. They also ventured out to the park’s Sugar Shack to learn about the process of taking maple sap and turning it into a delicious pancake topping. The children gained insight about animals’ feeding habits during the winter months, observing how and when some animals come out to eat. Another big part of the camp is learning about tracking animals, how to identify tracks, how to follow them and even how to preserve them, as they made impressions of their own tracks.

“Just watching their brains imagining what could’ve happened, or trying to figure out the story that the tracks tell - which direction, what were they running from, what were they doing - is pretty much what we’re trying to get them to think about,” Filer said. “It was really exciting to see them do that and get so into it."


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