“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health.”
~ Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods
As The North Carolina Arboretum celebrates 25 years as a natural treasure that helps people cultivate connections with plants, it also celebrates another important milestone: a new chapter in its premier Discovery Camp program with the launch of the Counselor-in-Training Program.
Prominent research shows that outdoor activity may enrich health by reducing stress, encouraging weight loss, and improving learning and social-emotional skills. For five years youths in grade K-8 have experienced the benefits of learning in a natural setting first-hand.
The popular Discovery Camp series is still going strong and many camps sell out in early spring. The new Counselor-in-Training program will expand the Arboretum’s camp experience by offering students in ninth- through twelfth-grade an opportunity to explore what it would be like to pursue an environmental-based career.
Developed by K-12 Academic Programs and Teacher Training Coordinator Jonathan Marchal, the program seeks to expand the camp experience beyond middle school by offering students a chance to be mentored and, in turn, mentor themselves.
“The hope is that we can continue to include those campers who have ‘outgrown’ our camps in our summer programs by training them to do what we do,” Marchal said.
The Counselor-in-Training program will introduce teens to skills such as working outdoors, teaching children, caring for reptiles and amphibians, and learning about the methods and techniques used in field ecology.
“It’s a good way to explore environmental education as a career path – plus it’s a great way to spend a week or more of your summer vacation outside!” said Marchal.
Candidates must write and submit a letter of intent as well as a letter of reference from a teacher, community leader, or other adult not related to the candidate. A brief interview will be required before the candidate can participate. Letters and references must be received by May 1, 2010, sent to Jonathan Marchal, The North Carolina Arboretum, 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806-9315.
Thanks to our sponsors, Earth Fare, The Healthy Supermarket, for providing healthy snacks everyday for our campers and healthy meals for our canoeing and camping trips. Thanks also to Diamond Brand Outdoors for supplying equipment such as GPS units, staff uniforms, and more!