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Trailblazers High Adventure Summer Camp, July 2018

Trailblazers High Adventure Summer Camp was without a doubt our memorable week of camp we have ever had!

This was our largest camp roster ever with over 50 students in attendance! As a result, this was the first time we've ever had a third counselor, Mr. Weinhardt, join us for camp. Due to a week of turbulent and unpredictable weather, we were forced to wing it (bird pun intended) when it came to our daily field trips. All of these factors mixed with two brand new field trips solidified this week as one we will never forget!

Our first day featured visits to the BSES Nature Trail and the Concord Nature Trail. Webb Creek on the Concord Trail seemed to be the favorite spot for most once again as folks enjoy the creek walk, but the BSES Nature Trail yielded quite a few notable bird species! Students were treated to great views of Indigo Bunting, Eastern Kingbird, and even an immature Orchard Oriole feeding at eye level! Our most exciting find though was not one but TWO Eastern Box Turtles on the trail during the same walk. It is rare nowadays to find Eastern Box Turtle in our area so finding two in the same walk was amazing!

The first full day field trip was to Nolde State Forest in Berks County, Pennsylvania. A favorite spot for Trailblazers camps, we have been visiting Nolde for three years in a row. The visit to Painted Turtle Pond gives great views of Painted Turtles, Red-eared Sliders, Green Frogs, and Bullfrogs. Also, the oddly planted forest of rows and columns is a real sight to see! Once we arrived at lunch, the sky opened up in the heaviest rain we've ever been trapped in! Thankfully, students were mostly prepared with rain gear to keep the fun going, but the rain became so intense we ended up leaving earlier than expected. This wouldn't be the first time we were rained on this week!

Wednesday's field trip was a first-ever for Trailblazers. First, we visited Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware for a morning of birding! We spent our time on the wildlife drive, popping out at a few places to observe species, but we spent the majority of the time on the bus safari-style checking this incredible habitat. We had amazing views of birds like Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Great Blue Heron, American Avocet, and Black-necked Stilt. The most exciting bird of the day though was a Bald Eagle that flew over the drive and landed in a nearby tree! Everyone got great views through the scope, and a few students even digiscoped shots with their own devices!

After Bombay Hook NWR, we stopped in at Woodland Beach Wildlife Management Area to explore the Delaware Bayshore. We walked along the sandy beaches of the Delaware River to see this tidal habitat and even stepped into the water to cool off and see what we could find! It was an awesome afternoon, and we got out of there just in time because the rain rolled in right as we were wrapping up on the beach.

Our final field trip of the week was to Gravity Vault in Radnor, Pennsylvania! This was another first-time field trip for camp, and we were not disappointed! Their facility was massive and provided a variety of challenges when it came to climbing walls. Students started with basic technique practice under the guidance of their staff and then moved to more difficult walls once we were warmed up! The students gave this trip rave reviews, so we will be sure to put this in the field trip rotation for upcoming years!!!