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Education Programs: Summer Camps

What is Wetlands & Woodlands Camp?

  • A fun, hands-on learning adventure for children ages 4 to 11.
  • A program that encourages campers to develop a greater understanding, appreciation of, and respect for God’s amazing creation.
  • A comfortable and safe learning environment where campers become immersed in the outdoors.

New This Year - In response to requests we have received for a camp session combining age groups, we have added a combined age camp for both our Enchanted Forest (Session 2B) and Wildlife Detectives (Session 4B) themes. Now, if you have children of varying ages, they will be able to attend camp at the same time. Of course, you are still welcome to register only one child for these camps.

Registration - All camp registrations must be completed online. Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. If you have questions about the registration system, please call (616) 526-7602.

Wait Lists - If the registration system indicates that a camp is full, we encourage you put your name on our wait list. Families' summer schedules change regularly; the resulting cancellations allow us to release additional registrations.

Financial Need & Scholarships - At this time, the CCEP does not offer any scholarships for our camps, nor do we offer discounts to children of Calvin staff or faculty. However, for those families that would like to send their children to camp but are experiencing financial hardships, you may pay the camp fee in installments via checks. Please mail a check for 1/2 of the registration fee, payable to Calvin College, within 7 days of registering to reserve your space. The rest of the fee is due by May 29, 2015.

Verification of Age and Ability - Campers must meet the age requirements, be able to attend camp independently, and participate in activities throughout the Ecosystem Preserve (rough narrow paths, wood chipped trails, muddy areas, grassy fields, etc.). Jr. Naturalist campers must also be able to ride in a large passenger van for extended periods of time, participate in various off-site field trips and servicing learning activities (hiking over sand dunes and through prairies, digging holes, walking on uneven paths, etc.), and tolerate a variety of weather conditions.

2015 Camp Themes for 4 to 8 Year Olds (Pre-K to 3rd Grade)

Enchanted Forest: Explore Michigan's Beech Maple Forest
From the forest floor to the canopy, we will explore the plants and animals that make their homes in our forests. Topics we will study include: soil, trees, turkeys, and white-tailed deer. Activities will include: exploring a rotting log, searching for salamanders, observing wiggly worms, hugging trees, eating dirt cups for a snack, pretending to be wild turkeys, and much more.

NEW! Wildlife Detectives
Use your detective skills as we search for and identify "clues" that animals leave behind. Topics we will study include: animal homes, songs and calls, scat, and tracks. Activities will include: listening to animal sounds, searching for tracks, eating "raccoon scat cookies," and dissecting owl pellets.

For 4, 5 & 6 Year Olds (entering Pre-K & K)

Developed for shorter attention spans, our camps will keep the busiest of 4, 5 & 6 year olds engaged. Campers will explore the theme of the week through outdoor exploration, puppet shows, storybooks, music and movement activities, critter devotions, helping hands service learning activities and nature art projects specifically designed for this age group. Children must be 4 years old by the start of camp, ready to attend independently, and must be toilet trained.  The session fee covers healthy snacks, nature art project materials, lots of individual attention, discovery take home sheets, family night activities, and loads of fun. Family Nights are on Thursday evenings: family night for Session 1 is on June 11 and for Session 3 is July 9. Participant limit varies by session.

Dates Times Themes Adult/ Student Ratio Cost
Session 1:
June 8-11, 2015
9 am - 12 pm Enchanted Forest - FULL 1:5 $85
Session 3:
July 6-9, 2015
9 am - 12 pm NEW! Wildlife Detectives - FULL 1:6 $85

For 6, 7 & 8 year olds (entering 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Grades)

This camp is designed to introduce very young scientists to Michigan’s flora and fauna using science inquiry methods. Using our theme of the week, campers will learn about the animals and plants that live in our forests, meadows, and wetlands in a hands-on, feet-in way! With activities appropriate for this curious and excitable age, campers will discover more about their world and their Creator as they spend time exploring the Ecosystem Preserve.  Nature art projects, short experiments, critter devotions, helping hands service learning projects, and other activities balance outdoor exploration and games. The session fee covers healthy snacks, nature art project materials, lots of individual attention, take home discovery sheets, family night activities, and loads of fun. Camps run Monday to Friday, with Family Night on Thursday evening, June 18 and July 16 respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:8 (participant limit varies by session).

Dates Times Themes Cost
Session 2A:
June 15-19, 2015
9 am - 12 pm Enchanted Forest - FULL $95
Session 4A:
July 13-17, 2015
9 am - 12 pm NEW! Wildlife Detectives - FULL $95


For 4 - 8 year olds (entering Pre-K to 3rd Grade)

New this year! If you have children of various ages, and you want them to attend camp together, then these are the camps for you. (You may still register only one child for these camps.) These camps use the same curriculum and follow the same format listed above, except that all campers attend Monday through Friday. We have space for eight 4-5 year olds and eight 6-8 years olds in each session. Family Nights are on Thursday evening, June 18 and July 16 respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:8.

Dates Times Themes Cost
Session 2B:
June 15-19, 2015
1:30 - 4:30 pm Enchanted Forest $95
Session 4B:
July 13-17, 2015
1:30 - 4:30 pm NEW! Wildlife Detectives $95

Jr. Naturalist Club

For 9, 10, & 11 Year Olds (entering 4th, 5th & 6th Grades)

The topics we will study this summer are mammalogy (study of mammals) and ornithology (study of birds). Service projects include creating wildlife shelters, and building bluebird and bat boxes for the preserve. In addition, campers will take an off-site field trip one day during camp.

This camp is designed to engage campers with a strong interest in learning more about a variety of different science fields. Campers will spend time doing various activities related to each field of science, including: explore the preserve, conduct small experiments, journal and sketch, participate in preserve research and service learning activities, create nature art projects, and meet scientists and conservation professionals who work in the different fields (when applicable). On Friday, campers have the opportunity to hike through the wildlife refuge of the preserve and play capture the flag, or participate in our team building orienteering course. The session fee covers materials for activities and experiments, healthy snacks, nature art project materials, transportation cost for field trips, lots of individual attention, and loads of fun. Campers are responsible for bringing their own sack lunches. Camp runs Monday to Friday, with a special family presentation on Friday afternoon from 2-3 pm. Adult/student ratio is 1:6 (limit 18 participants per session).

Dates Times Theme Cost
Session 5:
Jul 27 - 31, 2015
9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club:
4th & 5th Graders - FULL
Session 6:
Aug 3 - 7, 2015
9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club:
5th & 6th Graders - FULL


Other Summer Camps at Calvin College

Click here to find out about more summer camp opportunities offered at Calvin.

Wittenbach/Wege Agriscience and Environmental Education Center, Blandford Nature Center, and Ada Township Parks offer a variety of summer nature camp programming as well.

When registering, please be sure the tickets you select are for the camp session, age range, and time you intended.

To Register for a Camp:

eventbrite button

If a camp is full, place your name on a WAIT LIST

Welcome Letters for Registered Campers

Letters are e-mailed two weeks prior to camp starting. In case you misplaced the e-mail or it went to your junk mail, you can download one below. Please review the information, fill out the necessary forms, and return them to Jeanette Henderson. Signed paperwork must be in by (but preferably before) the first day of camp, or we will be unable to admit your child.

Camp Staff Bios

Welcome to Session 4A (mornings): Wildlife Detectives (6-8 years)

Welcome to Session 4B (afternoons): Wildlife Detectives (4-8 years)

Welcome to Session 5: Jr. Naturalist Club (4-5th grade)

Welcome to Session 6: Jr. Naturalist Club (5-6th grade)

collecting seeds

dressing like a bee

looking at duck

frog art

looking at bee collection


dissecting flower

looking at aquatic bugs

holding an egg

story time

looking at captured bug


To see more of Wetlands & Woodlands, you'll find our summer camp albums on Facebook.