Great Blue Herons Blog

Dig it! Part I
May 28-May 31


May 29

The Great Blue Herons started off the day in full imagination mode. We learned each others names by sharing our names with a word that rhymes to help us remember.

We then explored all of the Preserve north of the building making note of poison ivy patches, hydrangeas blooming, and chipmunks.

Great Blue Herons then made their way to the sand for some digging and play. Campers made castles, searched for precious metals, climbed in nearby trees and mimicked animal noises.

In the afternoon the campers cooled off at the creek.

May 30

The Great Blue Herons took a new hike today that led to many exciting happenings near the wetlands.

While standing at the lookout spotting fish in the pond, the Great Blue Herons saw a huge snapping turtle, the size of a large watermelon!

One camper also dropped their water bottle into the pond, which led to a big water bottle rescue effort.

Camp staff grabbed poles and nets to try and catch the bottle, and the Great Blue Herons watched in suspense and gave the staff advice and support. 

May 31

The Great Blue Herons went out with a bang (and splash) for the last day of camp! 

The campers started the day splashing around the creek; they found rocks speckled with precious metals and found lots of Mica.

The campers also made mud men, looked at tadpoles and animal tracks too.

In the latter part of the day, we made seed bombs that can be launched into grassy areas, and the campers decorated treasure bags for things they would like to take home. 


Beyond the Pond Part 1
June 3-7


June 3

The Great Blue Herons had a wonderful first day of camp. We started off the day gathering ideas about how we wanted to spend out week, and got some fabulous suggestions. Some common goals were to catch fish, explore the creek, and build forts!

We set out for the morning into the forest to build some forts. The Great Blue Herons enjoyed gathering sticks and piling them up against trees to make a shelter.

Those who did not built forts spent a wonderful morning catching insects! Some insects we found included a beetle, a ladybug, and a bug that we couldn't decide whether it was an ant or a spider. To determine this, we had luckily brought out some insect field guides so were able to read through those to try and help us decide.

June 4

We had an awesome day spent mostly in the water. We used net to try and catch life in the creek, but no such luck. However we had a great time finding rocks and digging in the creek dirt looking for treasure. We also were happy to do our part picking up trash found in the creek so we could help keep it clean!

June 5

We completed an awesome scavenger hunt in the morning where we had to find items in nature. Items included a flat rock, something fuzzy, and a pinecone. Campers had to think about where we might find each item and then we would go hunting for it!

Then we went down to the creek for some water time. We spent some time observing how the creek flowed. Then we went on a hunt for items to build our own water aquarium for the classroom. We collected tons of creek rocks that we might even paint later on!

June 6

Today we did a longer hike all the way to the Community Garden. On our way there, we rolled over a few logs and found bugs galore! One camper even caught a large beetle! At the garden, we had a great time uses our senses for observation of all the neat plants and had a good time using hand lenses to look at the bugs on the plants.

On our way back, we walked a different way that allowed for some creek time. While at the creek, a camper found a feather. We brought the feather back to the classroom and using resource books, were able to identify it as a feather of a Great Blue Heron. What a fitting end to a wonderful day!


Some Bugs Part 1
June 10-14


June 10

We had a wonderful first day at camp learning and talking about bugs! We spent the morning drawing some dragonflies, then ventured outside to look for some bugs in real life. We brought out bug jars and hand lenses to help our research and collection. After we finished our bug hunting, we found we had caught millipedes, beetles, ants, worms, and even a large spider. What a fun first day! 

June 11

We began the morning with bug stencils! It was very fun getting to color the bugs all different colors and patterns. We even talked about what colors would help a bug be camouflaged from predators. We then ventured out into the forest to set some bug traps. We can't wait to check them to tomorrow and see if we caught anything! We ended the day at the community garden checking out all the bugs on the flowers, we even got to watch a bee in action on some sunflowers!

June 12

This morning, we made leaf prints, but all the leaves had holes in them from being munched on by bugs. It was fun getting to look at the different patterns the eating bugs had made on the leaves. It was a wet day in the forest so not as many bugs were out, but we had an awesome time building bridges and digging tunnels in the sand. We got to practice our engineering skills, and it was great fun! We checked one bug trap but it was filled with rainwater. We reburied it in higher ground and will check on it tomorrow!

June 13

The morning activity involved using watercolors to paint neat pictures of bugs! After that, we ventured out onto the forest. We checked on a bug trap, but no bugs. We climbed some trees, we dug to catch some bugs, and we even built a Moana raft. We ended our outside time with an insect themed version of duck, duck, goose called Fly, Fly, Praying Mantis!

June 14

We ventured to the community garden and saw some neat stink bugs and bees basking in the sun on all the flowers. We brought out our bug nets and took turns catching what we could. We ended up catching ladybugs and grasshoppers. Then we got to spend some quality time in the creek, and we even got to some magnetic fishing where we caught lots of rocks with minerals. 


Mud! Part I
June 17-21


Week 4 was all about MUD! So we filled containers will as many forms of soil that we could find - loam, sand, clay from Mill Creek, everything! We started the week by painting with the various types of mud our friends created, but it evolved into the creation of potions, adding ingredients from the children's garden like thyme and mint, as well as leaves, flowers and make natural items we collected.

Outside, we dug out holes for mud. Sometimes we found clay deposits in the sand. We started digging tunnels and filling them with water, and connected several holes. Then we began covering up the holes with sticks and sand and creating "traps" for our CITS to test out!

Ms. Nicole told the story of the Maud Dauber, and how the Cherokee learned to make pottery from clay. We looked at a piece from a mud dauber nest, and Eden re-created it using clay!

Ethan wanted to bring a microscope with us to the meadow classroom on tuesday, and this inspired some of our other friends to create slides and see what we could find in the water and mud. We set up a table in the classroom and it was occupied by curious scientists all week!

It was a mud-tastic week with our blue heron friends!


X Marks the Spot Part I
June 24-28


June 27

Morning activities: stick painting, picture descriptions

  • Orientation meeting

  • Greeting turtles at the Turtles Sanctuary

  • In the creek: playing with the ball, collecting rocks and cool things, digging into the ground, exploring in the water, throwing little rocks et sticks in the water

June 28

Morning activities

Painting, giving Beat a bath, hidding zoggle games in the green room

  • Scavenger hunt in the woods from the the children garden to the community garden with several clue stops

Today’s quotes

“Everyone garden” said Vance to mean community garden 

“I can see inside of my body” said Jackson when she closed his eyes


Vance said when he was throwing his orange peel on the ground during snack because it would turn into compost and help the earth grow and then said "isn't that what nature camp is all about?"


Sketchy Nature
July 1-3

July 1

We started the morning by drawing.

Ethan made a very detailed map of the Preserve.

Truman made a picture for his mom.

Obe drew an ocean scene.

We spent some time in the woods, building forts and adding on to existing forts. Truman formed a team with Ethan and Ms. Julie called “Team Eagle.” We learned how to plant stakes in the ground to prop up other sticks for our hut, and how to lean skinny sticks on top for a roof. Obe made a home in a fort with Penelope, and KC made her own space to sweep.

After lunch, we explored the creek and had a wonderful time in the mud. We learned how mud splatters when you throw it, that you can use it to stick rocks together, it’s fun to slide on and throw. The creek was refreshing. We saw a butterfly and we found a crab leg.

At the end of the day, we made art.

July 3

In our exploration of the woodland loop today, we noticed 3 trees in tricky positions to stay away from. We spent a long time by the climbing tree digging, building new forts, climbing, playing pretend, and hitting sticks. KC even found a huge rhinoceros beetle she named Creepy! Ms. Linda and Ms. Amy haven’t seen one in Atlanta in years, so that was cool!!

After we cooled off in the hose and the children’s garden, we had lunch and did an activity where Ms. Linda put some mystery plants in a bag and we had to draw what we felt. We also sketched some ideas for camp shirt designs for next year.

We spent some refreshing time in the creek, then came back and cleaned up the room as we played.


Beyond the Pond Part II
July 8-12


June 8

  • Morning activities: playing with clay

  • Orientation meeting: favorite part of yesterday’s camp

  • Greeting turtles at the Turtles Sanctuary

  • In the wood: tree climbing, fort building, playing with wet sand

  • In the creek: digging in the sand, exploring the water, playing with mud

June 9

  • Morning activities: painting, rock construction

  • Orientation meeting: favorite part of yesterday’s camp

  • Greeting turtles at the Turtles Sanctuary

  • Along the trail: observing plants along the trail, drawing maps, hunting bugs

  • In the classroom: reading, lego construction

June 12

  • Morning activities: bug bingo, making magic wands, construction games

  • Orientation meeting

  • Feeding turtles at the Turtles Sanctuary

  • In the woods: playing in the puddle, race contest in the water, jumping over the puddle,making island with mud and water

  • In the classroom: drawing, playing different games, rock and cardboard construction.


“This thing is awesome” Vance talking about the island they just built


X Marks the Spot Part II
July 15 - 19

IMG_2458 (2).JPG


“It’s only my first day and I’ve only been here a few hours but I’m having so much fun!!” - Reid

“I liked building a fort and breaking the tree that was dead” -Luca

“I liked everything, actually!” -Holden

We started the day by finding Justin Beaver, which was hidden in the room, and making maps to where it was. Once everyone was present, we did a great job about coming up with an expectations agreement for how to be good friends, explorers, and campers this week! We are very aware of safety.

At the climbing tree, we all found cool sticks and the boys took turns defending it from each other. Colette, Haden, Wesley, and Jackson had a fantastic time climbing the trees. Luke even climbed up to sit on a tall branch and observe! Luca found some really nice walking sticks, while Flynn caught crickets. Jane found a cool millipede and took him to a safe spot. Reid found a tree frog.

We all climbed down by the creek and Josh impressed us with his rock skipping skills. We took some pictures of some tracks to identify later. Ms. Gene sat atop the hill and watched all of us to make sure we were safe.

After lunch, Andrew was very excited to create a game where he hid some treasure boxes and then made treasure maps to help people find them. Luca, Reid, Flynn, and Holden got into it, too. Hudson and Evan were intent on identifying a flower, while Colette drew some pictures for her friends.

When we were ready, we took our walking sticks back to the creek and got in. Caleb and Evan were hesitant to get their feet wet, but they were very open minded and took responsible risks to get in. They discovered an island and collected as many jewel-like rocks as they could find, and identified a beautiful jumping spider.

Colette went up the muddy hill and slid down so many times! Luca, Andrew, Holden, Reid, and Flynn skipped rocks like crazy, but then Colette made the mud hill look so fun that they came over to join her. Everyone enjoyed sliding down and getting muddy together.

Josh led a creek walk downstream to get out, and we found a tennis ball, golf ball, and gasoline cap :( when we got out, it was time to get rinsed off with the very cold water and go home!


“I threw a rock at that log and sticks fell in the water!” - Oliver

“Look at the beautiful flower I found!” - Jane

“I think these rocks broke in half. Let’s see if they sink...” - Evan

“It’s a daddy mclonglegs!!” - Evan

We learned a little bit about cooking by smashing up some leaves, green beans, and squash with the mortar and pestle. We can’t eat it, but it was fun. Haden, Reid, and Flynn made some beautiful watercolor paintings. Holden, Luca, Reid, and Andrew made fishing poles out of sticks, string, and toothpicks. Evan glued a bunch of craft sticks together for fun. Luke and some of the other boys made picture frames.

At the creek, we all threw rocks and climbed through the mud. Luca discovered some big fish to try to catch, so the ones with fishing poles did that. The fishing poles didn’t work as well until they tied stones to the string for weight. Jane got very wet and relaxed on a log to watch the creek. Oliver learned how to skip stones.

Jane, Haden, Jackson, and Colette made mud chocolate, yum yum! Mud is very popular this week. Critter Camp found a salamander, so we thought that was really cool.

After lunch, we played airplane and traveled around the world from the loft. Luca and Andrew made bows, and Ms. Nicole told cool Cherokee legends.

Everyone helped to clean the classroom, and they did a wonderful job leaving it nice. We were able to go into the woods. Josh led a rousing game of sharks and minnows with Caleb, Evan, Luca, Flynn, Holden, and Reid. Andrew made a pulley out of sticks and string, and Colette conquered her fear of climbing and jumping off the tree! We also figured out that Colette is a student at the same school Ms. Julie works at! Small world!

We finished our day by having snack in the children’s garden.

July 17

“Oh my heavens, it smells so good!” - Colette

“Ok, I changed my mind. THIS is my favorite part!” - Jackson

The first thing we did this morning was experiment with clay, creating statues of robots, hedgehogs and sea urchins (fun fact: “urchin” is an olde English word for hedgehog!) with the clay and toothpicks. Ms. Julie made paper boxes with Reid at early morning drop off. Luke and Evan made bird puppets with paper bags.

We went on a walk to the meadow for snack at the benches. We observed plants taller than the counselors, and noticed that there are many bees and bugs in the plants. At the pond, we loved counting fish, throwing leaves in the pond, and trying to catch fish with our homemade fishing poles. It was hard to be safe with the road right there; we were worried about the people who don’t slow down there!

At snack, Evan noticed a wasp who lived in a log. Ms. Julie taught us a fun game and Josh played with us. Luca was very sneaky with his strategy, and Oliver and Flynn had so many great plans to win. Reid was a great team player. Evan had fun watching everyone and being silly during the game. Eventually, the kids defeated Ms. Julie!!

Our favorite part of the day was when we climbed the hill by the main building. It was really hard to climb up, and we had to slide down in the dirt on our bottoms, but we loved it. Jane was scared at first but she kept coming back for more.

After lunch and crafts time, we played in the woods by the climbing tree. Colette continued to improve on her confidence with jumping off the tree, and the boys played capture the flag and jackpot with Josh.

We tried to play in the creek but we weren’t there very long before it started to rain. We were worried about lightning so we went back and got our stuff ready to go. We couldn’t play in the children’s garden long, either, because there was some loud thunder! We played getting to know you games in the lobby as parents arrived.

July 18

“Oh, I see a rainbow in the sunlight!” - Oliver

“It’s raining tacos!!” - Holden

“The water is wrinkly.” - Andrew

We did lots of messy crafts in the morning, where we painted clay figures and paper, made stained glass windows, and threw beans everywhere. Josh made a treasure hunt for us to follow and find clues. It was really fun! We ended in the community garden, and the prize was some mint! While not all of us enjoyed the smell, we loved playing hide and seek in the garden. We discovered many plants and insects, and watered some plants as well as each other.

Outdoors is fun, but we were all feeling artsy, so we did that for a while after lunch. Colette drew a little bit and played with clay. Luca, Andrew, and Flynn made an ant castle called “ANTLantis.” Holden, Evan, Caleb, and Colette helped. Ms. Anna Marie read us The Lorax, and we discussed how to take care of nature and be sustainable. Reid and Andrew planted some flower seeds we found.

We played with beans in the children’s garden for a while, hiding them and throwing them. We then went to the bridge to throw stuff like leaves, sticks, rocks, bark, and old beans overboard. It was super fun and exciting to see things float, sink, and get stuck. We even raced sticks and used a long one to feel the temperature of the water on both sides of the bridge. One side was much warmer than the other.

It sprinkled a little bit on us, but it stopped so we went on a walk through the meadow. We stopped on the other side of the pond and looked at fish, when it started sprinkling again! Reid thought it would be good salamander hunting weather, so we searched under some stones in the pollinator garden. All we found was a beetle.

July 19

“Nature is nature, and we have to keep nature alive.” - Caleb

“I found a daddy big legs!” - Reid

“Don’t kill an ant, that’s its LIFE!” - Flynn

“look at these sticks that look like tunnels. I’m going to investigate them.” - Andrew

“I get it! We’re the life and earth is the circle!” - Colette

Friday fun day! Aside from making stained glass windows, painting a mural together, and painting more clay figures, we started the day by climbing the big hill again! We sure love to climb it! Jane was especially brave.

We decided to have fun playing in the children’s garden with the little blue herons for a while before exploring the field education center by the wall. We hid things to find next week, caught a damselfly and crickets, and built a dam in the creek.

After lunch, we went to the climbing tree and read the story Roxaboxen. It inspired us to build Sandaboxen, a town made of sand, together! When we heard thunder, we ran inside and cleaned really well. Everyone was excited to use a spray bottle, wipe, sweep, and vacuum. It was fun to work together to make our space look nice. We also had fun finding all the art from the week and decorating the room with it.

It was a great week!


Mud! Part II
July 22-26


July 22

After morning meeting, we decided to head to the creek. That’s where the mud is, after all!

Some of our friends were using paint trays as boats- how creative! We enjoyed exploring the creek and all different ways: with nets, using trays, and throwing rocks. Hopefully, we can check out the creek every day this week.

July 23

During morning meeting, we decided to walk to Emma wetlands. (We were in an “explorer”- type mood.) while there, we smashed rocks, navigated the space, hunted for tadpoles, and more! We got rained on, but we trekked through the rain and made it back to the building safe and sound.

July 24

Beast finally made his appearance today. We saw him eat roaches and we learned how he defends himself from predators. Next, we went to the creek, where some campers climbed, while others observed fish. It was a wonderful Wednesday!

July 25

What an entertaining day! We went to the sand area first. We dug, found some critters, and jumped off the giving wall. It was an excellent use of our energized bodies. Next, we headed to the creek. While there, some of our friends played tag, some of our friends worked on a bridge, and other looked for fish. It was awesome!

July 26

We started our day at the community garden, catching butterflies. Next, we played games and some friends out dust/mud on their faces, like true warriors! Unfortunately, the creek had some unusual coloring, so we couldn’t play today. But, we did run up our favorite hill and worked on crafts. Thanks for the splendid camp week! :)


Some Bugs Part II
July 29-August 2


July 30

  • Morning meeting

  • In the creek: building sand castles and forts

  • Throwing rocks in the creek

  • Mud arts

  • Collecting rocks

  • Picking glasses

  • Art class

July 29

  • Morning meeting: dig, fish trap, climbing tree, play in the creek, build fort in the wood(expectations)

  • Building fort

  • Looking for bugs

  • Building sand villages

  • Art class


Dig it! Part II
August 5-9


Great Blue Herons made a days work as ‘gold miners’ digging for precious metals in the sand. They also started a new fort around the climbing tree and made fishing poles.


The Great Blue Herons collected seeds from native plants around the pond. They then dug for worms in the children’s garden to feed the turtles. The campers also dug their feet and hands into clay near the creek banks, and found a froglet!


Great Blue Herons spotted evidence of on of the greatest diggers of all time— the mole. The campers spotted a mole tunnel and witnessed the mole digging through the gravel. Later, the campers got a chance to finish up on their fort building and enjoy the suction of the clay near the creek edge.


Great Blue Herons officially made it to the west side of Nancy creek playing Mrs. Mars in the meadow, getting to see bright flowers and butterflies at the community garden, and hiking into the creek. The campers ended the day building onto their sand fort.


Great Blue Herons bid adieu to Blue Heron summer camp checking off all the summer highlights. The campers got to visit the garden, play Mrs. Mars, stop by the creek to splash and climb, played in the children's garden, and climb the Blue Heron 'mountain'. We ended the day cooling down with the hose and telling stories.