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Trailblazers High Adventure Summer Camp, June 2024

The summer season for Trailblazers is always special! Our summer programs are the opportunity for us to connect with nature in a big way. Our days are devoted to exploring nature with friends, and we offer three different sessions of camp in the summer; all for different age groups and levels of experience! Our first session of the summer was Trailblazers High Adventure Summer Camp. This camp is for our oldest group of students, and we venture on a field trip every day!

On Monday, we spent our morning getting to know one another on the Bethel Springs Elementary School Nature Trail. As a whole group, we went on a hike to learn how to use binoculars, practice trail etiquette, and identify VIPs (very important plants of course!) In the afternoon, we hopped on the bus a took a trip to Ridley Creek State Park. We hiked the white trail to one of our favorite creek walking spots. We beat the heat all afternoon as we looked for animals and explored the creek. We even found a Long-tailed Salamander!

Tuesday's field trip took us to a Trailblazers favorite: Nolde State Forest in Berks County, Pennsylvania! This was our seventh visit to this location over the last nine years. Even though we have been here many times before, each trip is always different. This time, the nature center area was closed. We parked down at the Sawmill Parking Area, which offered up a different perspective of the park than we've had before! We split the group in two with one half exploring the creek with Mr. McLaughlin, and the other half enjoying a bird walk with Mr. BQ. On the bird walks, we were treated to exciting species such as Eastern Phoebe, Northern Parula, and we even stumbled upon a Green Heron with chicks at the North Pond (a place we had never visited in the park before!) We even made the trip up to Painted Turtle Pond, where we saw a Painted Turtle. We also had a family of Indigo Buntings that gave great views to the group (which was the first time Trailblazers have had Indigo Bunting here.)

Wednesday's field trip was a first for us. We made the trip back to Berks County to hike at French Creek State Park! We were excited to make this journey, but this trip became complicated due to the heat. We had temperatures in the low 90s with clear, sunny skies. We ventured out on our planned hike around Hopewell Lake. Before we left, we stumbled upon not one but TWO baby birds: a Chipping Sparrow and a Cedar Waxwing! Then, a Yellow-throated Vireo landed in the trees above our group and sang! Once we hit the trail, we observed birds like Northern Waterthrush, Broad-winged Hawk, and Ovenbird. By the end of the hike, we were through with birding, and we knew we had to cool off! We decided to leave French Creek SP early and head to St. Peter's Village to enjoy the creek.