Flagstaff Academy fifth graders plant trees in the Cemex Lyons micro-forest.

Flagstaff Academy fifth graders plant trees in the Cemex Lyons micro-forest. (Photo: Flagstaff Academy).

Butterfly Pavilion Camp

Butterfly Pavilion Camp. (Photo: Butterfly Pavilion).

And how you and your child can learn them this summer

Spending time in nature makes us better humans. It helps us relax, disconnect, and discover the depth of life. This summer, prioritize the following lessons for your child through the natural experiences offered by these local camps and organizations.

Nature Teaches Us That We Are All Here to Give
“All life on this planet is here to give and contribute, which all forms of life, save humans, do naturally and organically,” says Mark Fox, owner of M&M Equestrian Center. “Humans however operate from the ‘What’s in it for me?’ mindset, the root and cause of most of our problems here. Animals and nature show us how to stop operating from this mindset.”

M&M offers six weeks of summer camp for kids this summer, as well as RV camping for families and adults on the M&M property. The horse boarding facility has goats, a mini donkey and a mini horse for visitors to interact with and learn presence and grace.

Nature Teaches Us That We Are Responsible for the Planet
“Understanding and appreciating nature fosters a sense of responsibility for environmental conservation,” says Jennifer Quermann, director of communications and marketing at Butterfly Pavilion. “Programs like Butterfly Pavilion’s Outreach Programs play a crucial role in bringing awareness to the importance of invertebrates and the ecosystems they inhabit.” 

M&M Equestrian Center.

M&M Equestrian Center. (Photo: Moses Fox/M&M Equestrian Center).

The multitude of outreach programs at Butterfly Pavilion teach an important conservation lesson to children and adults, creating a meaningful connection with nature and its inhabitants to encourage stewardship and responsible behavior. This summer’s calendar includes adult classes such as Beginner Macro Photography and Adult Nature Journaling. Rosie’s Discovery Summer Camp at Butterfly Pavilion includes a variety of themed camps with a nature focus for children between 5 and 12 years old. Butterfly Pavilion also offers family workshops so children and adults can learn alongside
each other!

Nature Teaches Us That Fun Can Be Healthy!
Engaging in nature-based activities is not only fun for all ages, but it’s also proven to have abundant health benefits. “There is a growing body of research that shows that spending time outdoors helps people thrive physically, emotionally, and mentally, to name a few of the benefits,” says Carrie Riesberg, marketing manager for Thorne Nature Experience. 

Thorne offers nature-based Summer Camps for children ages 5 to 15 in Boulder, Lafayette, and at its new Longmont location. There is also a summer session of Thorne Nature Preschool in Lafayette and Boulder for children ages 3 to 5 and a variety of opportunities for youth of all ages through Nature Kids/Jóvenes de la Naturaleza (NKJN). In June, Thorne will be opening the Lafayette Nature Center. “The center will include a nature programming space, a nature play area, a community gathering space, and Thorne’s offices,” says Riesberg. “Our center is designed to get kids outside to experience nature rather than having them come inside to learn about nature through exhibits.”

Nature Teaches Us How To Use All of Our Senses
“Providing children with opportunities to immerse themselves in nature allows them to love nature in tangible ways,” says Flagstaff Academy teacher and greenhouse manager Allison Cole (affectionately referred to as Farmer Cole). “Kids form relationships and remember places, living things, and positive experiences through their senses of touch, smell and taste.”

Flagstaff Academy’s Summer Camp Program offers abundant experience in the school’s outdoor organic learning garden and greenhouse classroom, as well as nature-based field trips like crawdad fishing at Left Hand Creek and hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to a traditional summer camp, Flagstaff Academy also offers weekly half-day specialty camps with themes such as gardening, outdoor adventures, yard art, and survivalist skills.

By Emma Castleberry, Raised in the Rockies