For much of the summer at Nature Camp it felt more like fall, as we, like most other residents of the East Coast, experienced blessedly cool weather during every session. No one appreciated the prolonged extent of below-average temperatures more than our trio of cooks, who, in addition to teaching classes, continued to strive to produce delicious meals with fresh ingredients sourced as close to Camp as possible. This summer nearly two-thirds of our food dollars went to food grown, raised, or produced within about 100 miles of Nature Camp, and we added to our list of suppliers Homestead Creamery (for milk and ice cream) and Old Church Creamery (yogurt), operated by former camper and counselor Catherine (Cat Hellgeth) Long. The cooks also put to good use a new gas range/oven, located by the brother of NCF Chris Chamberlin (in conjunction with Paul Cabe) and generously furnished by the Nature Camp Foundation. Quidditch established itself as a favorite activity on the rec field, basketball enthusiasts benefited from a new goal and refurbished court (thanks to the hard work of participants at the Spring Service Weekend), campers thronged to a second tetherball pole, and we enjoyed several new pieces of sports equipment provided by Kat Bronson Latham and other dedicated alumni. In addition to our regular strong educational curriculum, Mammalogy returned to the lineup for the first time in almost two decades, and campers investigated at least one bleached skeleton suspiciously covered with a strange alga-like substance. And Gary Barker completed his first summer as Nature Camp caretaker (and appreciated a couple of welcome visits from his predecessor, Charlie Truxell). He presented an evening program each session telling tales of Lewis and Clark, showcasing his photographic talent, or demonstrating fire-starting techniques using flint and steel. Here’s hoping for many more summers with Gary in Vesuvius!
– Philip Coulling, NC Executive Director