Grade School Summer Camp

2019 Junior Naturalist Field Camp (JNFC)
Summer Camp for Grade School Kids

Photo credit: PhotoDevine

Since 2007, Durango Nature Studies has hosted one of the most beloved and enriching summer camps in Durango. Junior Naturalist Field Camp is a place where elementary-aged children will spend time learning about the natural world.  Each of the five week-long sessions focuses on a specific theme. Campers may spend their day catching crawdads, building forts, hiking, exploring, or river tromping — which all focus on learning about the natural world. In addition, they’ll get to play with old friends and make new ones, too. Campers leave camp with memories, new friends, and a better understanding of the world in which they live.

This sentiment from a Durango parent is frequently shared by parents of participating campers…

“[My daughter] had a great time, once again, at DNS camp. She loves catching grasshoppers, playing in the river, and learning new things about animals and nature. Thanks to … the DNS staff for a great experience for Durango kids. What a great opportunity for youth in our community!”

We work diligently to provide a safe, fun and engaging experience for all campers.  All of our counselors are 18 and over and most of them have WFR or CPR certification.

Daily camp hours are from 8:30am-3:30pm for campers riding the bus (drop off and pick up at the Smiley Building) and 9:00-3:00 for campers meeting us at the Nature Center (drop off and pick up at Nature Center).  

AGE ELIGIBILITY: We can provisionally accept 6 year olds who have completed kindergarten. Their spot at camp is not guaranteed until we receive a waiver from the state. We need to apply for waivers as soon as possible (and no later than the end of May!)  If you have a 6 year old who would like to attend JNFC, please call 970-769-1800 immediately so that we can start the process.

Check out the complete calendar of 2019 DNS summer camps.  JNFC session descriptions are below. 

2019 JNFC Camp Costs:
– EARLY BIRD Camp Cost is $240 per session (including transportation), up to two weeks before the start of camp
– Durango Nature Studies’ Family Members: $215 per session (including transportation). N

The 2019 Commemorative Camp T-shirt

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– Camp Cost within two (2) weeks before start of camp: $250 per session (including transportation)

PLEASE NOTE: To hold your child’s spot, we must receive at least a 50% non-refundable deposit or have a payment plan established. Should you have to cancel, 75% of the total amount will be refunded up until a week before camp. Due to staffing and other sunk costs, if you cancel within a week of the camp, we are not able to give a refund.

To register for camp:
Step 1: Fill out Registration form (see “Registration Form” button)
Step 2: Submit payment online (see “Pay Now” button) or by mailing a check to DNS, PO Box 3808, Durango, CO 81302

Registration Form Pay Now

Camp is from 8:30-3:30 for campers riding the bus and 9:00-3:00 for campers meeting us at the Nature Center.  Campers will be split into groups of 15 based on ages.  Each group will have 2 counselors.  To find out everything else you need to know, please read our Parent Handbook thoroughly. Please contact Stephanie @ 970-769-1800 with any questions.

Medical Forms:
1) Permission to Administer Medication Form
2) Asthma Care Plan Form
3) Allergy & Anaphylaxis Care Plan form

Session #1 (June 10-14) – Animal Mania – Want to know more about the creatures that call Southwest Colorado their home? Here is your chance!  Join us for exploration, play, and creative activities at the Nature Center that spark your curiosity as we learn about local wildlife together.  Early Bird registration until May 27th.

Session #2 (June 24-28) – Bug week – Calling all “bugging” entomologists!  The Nature Center is packed with invertebrates of all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.  Spend a week exploring the many cracks and crevices they reside, using sweep nets, insect jars, and magnifying lenses to gather  and study these incredible insects. Early Bird registration rates apply until June 10th.

Session #3 (July 8-12) – Nature’s Super Powers – Garbage collection, recycling, canyon-digging and mountain building, landscaping and survival of near impossible conditions– did you know that these are all things that happen in nature?  Join us for a week of exploring five different “superpowers” nature has that can shape the world around us and inspire and amaze. Early Bird registration rates apply until June 24th.

Session #4 (July 15-19) – Habitat is where it’s at! – Nests, burrows, dens, middens, tarantula holes, webs, mounds, cavities, oh my!  But did you know that plants and animals of Southwest Colorado also use soils, minuscule changes in geography, other plants, and even other animals, to furnish a dream house (and neighborhood) that meets all of their needs?  Join us for a week of exploring the different habitats within the Nature Center, and creating our own ideal human habitats. Early Bird registration rates apply until July 1st.

Session #5 (July 22-26) – Eco-Town – Join us for a week as we explore the intersection of creativity, community, and nature!  Using the story of Roxaboxen as a foundation, we will tap into our imagination and natural materials to build “homes, businesses, and infrastructure”.  Taking cues from symbiotic relationships of different plant and animal species, we’ll cooperatively develop “agreements” to help guide our behavior and choices. The week will conclude with an “open for business” time for the campers to showcase their work for others. Early Bird registration rates apply until July 8th.

Looking for week-long camp options when our JNFC camp is not in session?  Check out The Garden Project’s summer camps.

Limited scholarships are available for qualifying families.  To be considered, please fill out and submit the Camp Scholarship form.  We thank the following businesses for providing funding toward our scholarships for after-school and camp programs. Is your business interested in helping send a child (or two) to camp? If so, check out our corporate sponsorship page.

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