This year Adult Session moves back to August. From August 18 to 22 we will explore the theme of “Then and Now: 75 Years of Nature Camp—How Our Understanding of and Relationship to the Natural World Have Changed Since 1942.”  In conjunction with Nature Camp’s 75th anniversary, we will take a retrospective look at how our knowledge of natural science and natural history and the curricular content of Nature Camp’s classes have evolved since Camp was founded. In 1942, for example, the field of geology lacked the paradigmatic foundation provided by the theory of plate tectonics, the structure of DNA had not yet been elucidated, and fungi were still considered and classified as plants. Although the mission of Nature Camp has remained essentially unchanged throughout its history, our world view of conservation and wise stewardship of our shared natural resources has expanded and in some cases undergone a dramatic shift. For instance, whereas Smoky Bear mentality once prevailed and was dogmatically instilled in more than one generation of campers, we now recognize that fire plays a critically important role in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function in many natural systems and should not always be immediately suppressed. Contemporary issues such as global climate change, the spread of invasive species, and the loss of genetic diversity have arisen as serious environmental threats, but could hardly have been imagined 75 years ago. During the five-day session we will explore such topics as our evolving understanding and management of forests, wetland management then and now, and decline and recovery of birds of prey. There will also be basic natural history (plants, including mosses and liverworts; geology; and birds, insects, and other flying things), plus an array of art and craft workshops (making dogwood charms from bronze metal clay, making toy bows and arrows, and ice dyeing) and a discussion about the future of local environmental education.  We will once again offer the popular Appalachian string-band workshop, led by professional musicians.  On Monday, August 21, a field trip will take us to the ecologically significant landscape of nearby Maple Flats, where a set of seasonally wet sinkhole ponds (which should be mostly dry by late August) support an assemblage of several rare and geographically isolated plant and animal species.  The trip will include a picnic lunch at Sherando Lake, where Nature Camp began in 1942.

For more information please visit the Nature Camp website ( and click the Programs tab, or you may e-mail Executive Director Flip Coulling at Please join us at Nature Camp in August!