Kids become explorers at Ox Bow nature camp

Ox Bow County Park's Nature Explorer Day Camp runs this week.

Posted on June 26, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — On Tuesday at Ox Bow County Park’s Nature Explorer Day Camp, the campers completed the toughest — and stickiest — event of the week: the swamp tromp.

Krista Daniels, camp director, led 12 campers ages 7-9, through the park’s muddy swamp. Three sunken shoes and plenty of squeals later, Daniels called it a success.

The Nature Explorer Day Camp offers kids a hands-on experience with the forest, wetlands and prairie through games and activities. The camp runs until June 26 at Ox Bow Park’s Haus Shelter.

On Monday, the camp kicked off with a hike through the forest, where Daniels had placed mounted animals belonging to the park. A leaf hut activity and scavenger hunt followed. On Wednesday, the campers will roast hot dogs and capture butterflies.

Daniels has worked with Elkhart County parks for 12 years. She says some of the campers have never been to camp. Others have had some to little experience with nature.

Daniels’ campers had plenty to say about their adventures so far.

“We saw live animals,” Emma Dermott, 8, said, “like a turtle laying eggs.”

Greta Miller, 6, was thrilled to be at camp for her first time. She was enjoying “playing on the swing set and having fun.”

Daniels says her favorite part about camp is leading the swamp tromp. When the kids first enter, she said, they yell and complain that “it’s stinky.” Afterward, however, they’re proud and eager to tell everyone they did it, she said.

Daniels also led a Junior Indiana Master Naturalist Day Camp in early June. A complete list of summer activities at Ox Bow Park can be viewed at www.elkhartcountyparks.org.

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