National Butterfly Center to hold 5th annual “Critter Camp”

Kids (and their parents) seeking relief from the summer doldrums can seek that out at the National Butterfly Center next week.

The Center, located at 3333 Butterfly Park in Mission, will be holding their 5th annual outdoor summer camp starting Monday, July 9.

nbclogoThis year’s camp, titled “Critter Camp,” is an educational outdoor activity camp where for three weeks, children get to explore and learn about the wildlife in the Valley.

“Besides the ocelot and animals that live on the coast, we practically have all the wildlife available in the Valley right here in the center,” NBC volunteer Luciano Guerra said.

The center currently houses over 100 different species of butterflies and several endangered animals and plants in the 100 acres that surround the property. For Guerra, the Critter Camp is a way for the community to become engaged with the outdoors.

“Kids nowadays don’t spend time outdoors, they spend their free time indoors and on their own and their little world instead of coming outside with nature,” Guerra said. “This is about education conservation and making connections with the area surrounding them.”

According to Guerra, the camp will take a hands-on approach and provide several educational and fun opportunities for campers to learn about nature. This love, he said, will hopefully inspire a new generation to gain an interest in conservation.

“People protect what they love, if we want them to love the outdoors and they have to connect with it they can’t do that indoors,” Guerra said. “This camp sparks an interest in conservation, it’s critical for kids to make a connection outside. All the kids in previous years have loved it. We make it so fun for them that they don’t realize they’re learning.”

The camp will run for three weeks at the center Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. through noon. Each week will have a different theme, Guerra said.

Day one of the camp, for example, will focus on plants in the area and why it’s so important to conserve them as many animals use them fr shelter, Guerra said. Day two, three and four will focus on insects, bugs and birds, respectively.

“Fridays will be a ‘wild Friday’ day where kids can have a fun day at the camp,” Guerra said. “Wild Fridays are usually more activity oriented than educational oriented. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts or even go over another lesson.”

Week two will focus on the predators and prey in the area and week three has not been set yet, Guerra said.

Admission is $40 per week but Guerra said kids can pick which week they want to attend and it’s not mandatory to at the camp for all three weeks.

Other activities the center will be holding this summer are Community Camps that will be held July 14 and August 11, Guerra said. The overnight camp invites families to spend a night camping at the Center. For more information, see the social and community page of this issue.

Anyone interested in the Critter Camp can go to the NBC website for more information and to sign up at www.nationalbutterflycenter.org.

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