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campers in field

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 serve basis. If you have questions about the registration system, please call (616) 526-7602. A note to parents/guardians: These camps are quite popular and our wait lists can be long; thus we ask you to think of other parents and campers when registering, and only register each of your children for one camp. Thanks in advance for helping us to serve as many children as we can. We can always put you on the wait lists for other camps.

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 31, 2017.

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.

2017 Camp Themes for 4 to 8 Year Olds (Pre-K to 3rd Grade)

The Giving Tree - Explore a Tree and the Animals that Call it Home
Trees provide us with oxygen, shelter, food, and a multitude of other products and services. Campers will learn more about these "giving trees", and discover some of the animals (birds and squirrels) that call them home. Topics we will study include: tree identification, life cycle of a tree, birds, squirrels and chipmunks. Activities will include: adopting a tree, making homemade paper, eating like a squirrel, going birding, and building bird nests, to name a few.

Web of Life - Explore a Food Chain
Discover that everything in life is connected, as we see how energy flows through a food chain. From grass to the top predator, God provides all of Creation with their basic needs. Topics we will study include: sun, plants, grasshoppers & crickets, snakes, and food chains. Activities will include: making sun prints, observing live grasshoppers and snakes, and watching fun puppet shows.

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 15 and July 13 respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:6 (limit 24 participants).

Dates Times Themes Cost

Session 1:
June 12-15, 2017

9 am - 12 pm Giving Tree - FULL $90
Session 4A:
July 10-13, 2017
9 am - 12 pm Web of Life - FULL $90

For 6, 7 & 8 year olds (entering grades 1-3)

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 22 and July 20 respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:8 (limit 24 participants).

Dates Times Themes Cost
Session 2A:
June 19-23, 2017
9 am - 12 pm Giving Tree - FULL $100
Session 5A:
July 17-21, 2017
9 am - 12 pm Web of Life - FULL $100


Combined Ages: For 4 - 8 year olds (entering grades Pre-K to 3)

If you have children of various ages, and you want them to attend camp together, then these are the camps for you! (You may register one or more children for these camps.) These camps use the same curriculum and follow the same format listed above. Family Nights are on Thursday evening, June 22, June 29, and July 13, respectively. Adult/student ratio is 1:8 (participant limit varies by session).

Dates Days Times Themes Cost
Session 2B:
June 19-23, 2017
Mon-Fri 1:30 - 4:30 pm Giving Tree - FULL $100
Session 3:
June 26-30, 2017
Mon-Fri 9 am - 12 pm Giving Tree - FULL $100
Session 4B:
July 10-13, 2017
Mon-Thur 1:30 - 4:30 pm Web of Life - FULL $90


Jr. Naturalist Club

For 9, 10, & 11 Year Olds (entering grades 4-6)

The topics we will study this summer are botany (study of plants with a focus on trees), entomology (study of insects), and ecology (study of interactions among organisms and their environment). In addition, campers will take an off-site field trip one day during camp to Saul Lake Bog and Flat Iron Lake Preserve.

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 2:30-3 pm. Adult/student ratio is 1:8 (limit 24 participants).

Dates Times Theme Cost
Session 6:
Jul 31-Aug 4, 2017
9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club $175
Session 7:
August 7-11, 2017
9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club $175


Other Summer Camps at Calvin College

Various departments at Calvin offer a variety of other summer camps for students ages 4 to18 years old. Visit Camps at Calvin to find out more.

To Register for a Camp:

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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: Web of Life (4-6 years)

Welcome to Session 4B: Web of Life (4-8years)

Welcome to Session 5A: Web of Life (6-8 years)

Welcome to Session 6: Jr. Naturalist Club (9-11 years)

Welcome to Session 7: Jr. Naturalist Club (9-11 years)

tree art

making sunprint

tree through lens

looking at bug

looking at snake

nest craft

journal about dragonfly

meet a tree game

looking through microscope

measuring grass

campers walking out deck

making paper

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