First-time campers had a ball at Wolf Trap camp out
The heavy rain storm on Saturday morning didn’t spoil the fun for 5th & 6th grade campers at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts sponsored camp out 22-23 April. On Friday, campers participated in Super Activities: archery, bird study, fly fishing, and pollinator study. Friday night was capped off with a camp fire where they performed skits on the Meadow Pavilion and toasted marshmallows over a fire.
Boy and Girl Scout senior leaders Wesley Pan, Mitchell Pan, Heather Youmans, & Katie Feng instructed the campers about the chuck boxes and three-pot cleaning procedures before they had a hamburger lunch. Camp Director Gary Pan provided the strategic direction for the youth leaders.
Then the fun started; the campers were organized into four patrols that cycled through the Special Activities described here:
Donna Kissane & her husband conducted a class in safe archery for the campers and the campers spent the duration practicing their archery skills.
Ray Smith and other volunteers from the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia taught the campers the basics of birding and how to use binoculars to get a closeup view of interesting birds.
Orvis Tysons Corner fly fishing instructor Jason Isaacs demonstrated fly fishing. The campers were able to practice their fly fishing techniques at the Wolf Trap Turtle Pond — some of the campers caught some small fish (that were released.)
Citizen scientist Sheryl Pollock used the Cecropia Moth in her presentation about the role of insects in pollinating plants. The campers were entranced by the moth that she had wintered in her refrigerator and had emerged from its cocoon that morning. She also highlighted some local caterpillars that are eaten by the birds that frequent Wolf Trap.
A heavy rain on Saturday morning made cooking and cleaning a challenge but campers cooked their own breakfast of bacon and eggs on camp stoves. Coffee can buddy burners produced tasty pancakes.
Park Ranger Will Reifenbark took the campers on a back stage tour of the Filene Center. During this tour, Heather demonstrated a robot from the Herndon High School FIRST Robotics FRC Team 116 and a FIRST Lego League robot.
Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Overseer & Friends of Wolf Trap director Mike Moran led the campers on a hike on the PATC built/maintained Wolf Trap Trail & pointed out forest succession. He also explained and pointed out areas affected by invasive species as well as the adverse impact on the forest of the excess deer population at Wolf Trap.
This was the fourth camp out sponsored by Wolf Trap and is part of the Park’s outreach to youth. Wolf Trap plans to hold these camp outs in the spring and fall outside of the performance season. It was supported by Adult Scouters, Friends of Wolf Trap, REI, Ranger Surplus, Orvis, and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.
Photos of the camp out and camper evaluations are at:
By Alan Day