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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.

Registration - All camp registrations must be completed online. Registration is on a first come, first served basis. If you have questions about the registration system, please call (616) 526-7601.

Wait List - 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 30, 2014.

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 service learning activities (hiking over sand dunes and through prairies, digging holes, walking on uneven paths, etc.), and tolerate a variety of weather conditions.

2014 Camp Themes for 4 - 8 Year Olds

Aquatic Adventures: Dive into Michigan's Wetlands
Birds, insects, fish, and frogs abound in the wetlands of Michigan. Find out why wetlands are important to these animals, many plants, and even people. Use pond nets and fish traps to discover what lives in the wetlands of the preserve. Topics we will study include: frogs, turtles, and aquatic insects, plus ducks & herons (for 4, 5 & 6 year olds) or fish (for 6, 7 & 8 year olds). Activities include: catching frogs, observing aquatic insects and turtles up close, creating marsh murals, jumping like frogs, and getting muddy.

Blooms & Bugs: Sunflowers, Bees, & Seeds
Learn about the many blooms, bees and butterflies that make their home in our native garden, and discover how important they are to each other and to us. Topics we will study include: flowers, bees, butterflies, pollination, seeds and fruit. Activities include: dissecting flowers, observing bees and butterflies pollinating plants, eating a variety of seeds and fruit, and making your own paper flowers and bee puppets.

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.  Camps run Monday to Thursday, with Family Night on Thursday evening, June 12 and July 10 respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:5 (participant limit varies by session). Note that sessions 3A and 3B have identical content.

Dates Times Themes Cost
Session 1:
June 9-12, 2014
9 am - 12 pm Aquatic Adventures $85
Session 3A:
July 7-10, 2014
9 am - 12 pm Blooms & Bugs $85
Session 3B:
July 7-10, 2014
1:30 - 4:30 pm Blooms & Bugs $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 19 and July 17 respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:8 (participant limit varies by session). Note that sessions 4A and 4B have identical content.

Dates Times Themes Cost
Session 2:
June 16-20, 2014
9 am - 12 pm Aquatic Adventures - FULL $95
Session 4A:
July 14-18, 2014
9 am - 12 pm Blooms & Bugs - FULL $95
Session 4B:
July 14-18, 2014
1:30 - 4:30 pm Blooms & Bugs $95


Jr. Naturalist Club

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

The topics we will study this summer are limnology (study of bodies of fresh water, including biological, chemical, and physical features), botany (focusing on flowers), entomology (study of insects) , and ichthyology (study of fish). In addition, campers will take an off-site field trip one day during camp to a fish hatchery.

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 exploring the preserve and various activities related to each field of science, conducting small experiments, journaling and sketching, participating in preserve research and service learning activities, creating nature art projects, and meeting 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 1:8 (limit 18 participants per session).

Dates Times Theme Cost
Session 5:
Jul 28 - Aug 1, 2014
9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club:
4th & 5th Graders
Session 6:
August 4-8, 2014
9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club:
5th & 6th Graders


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.

To Register Starting March 1 at 9 am:

eventbrite button

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

testing rock


holding nest

looking in net

showing picture

look at rocks

campers jumping


measuring grass

looking at turtle

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