Author Archives: Ryan D.

About Ryan D.

Where: Mass Audubon Headquarters, Lincoln | Who: A Vermont expat with maple sap in her veins | Favorite part of the job: Exploring sanctuaries with camera in hand.

Summer 2019 Highlights

It’s been two months since we wrapped up camp for the summer (say WHAT???) and even though fall is beautiful at Wildwood, it can get awfully quite around camp in the off-season, making us feel nostalgic for the warm, laughter-filled days of summer. We’re guessing maybe you’re missing it, too, so here’s a look back at some of our favorite moments.

Fourth of July Extravaganza

To celebrate our nation’s birth, we had a slip ‘n’ slide, sponge toss games, giant Jenga, bubbles, temporary tattoos, and face-painting. The party was made complete by some really fantastic music!

July 4th Slip-n-Slide
July 4th Slip-n-Slide

Tropical Paradise Night

Camp Director Becky’s favorite moment was the Tropical Paradise Night. She says, “I stood watching our whole camp swimming, boating, dancing, and doing crafts. Everyone was smiling and being themselves; it was magical to watch. As camp director, I could not ask for more.”

Dance party outside the dining hall
Even Becky got in on the dance party!

The Chill Zone Hammocks

Adding camping hammocks to The Chill Zone really took the relaxation factor to the next level. It was the perfect place to curl up with a good book during OATs (Open Activity Times).

Reading a book in a hammock at the Chill Zone
Reading a book in a hammock at the Chill Zone

Family Camp Beach Cookouts

It was amazing to have a huge bonfire on the beach at the end of each Family Camp session. We made tons of different desserts, including churning our own ice cream, baking gingerbread cake in orange peels, cooking banana boats in foil packets on the fire, and roasting pineapple on skewers.

Hand-churning ice cream
Hand-churning ice cream at a Family Camp beach cookout

Heffalump Hunts

A time-honored tradition, Heffalump Hunts are a favorite Evening Program of many campers and staff. Counselors and LITs get so creative with their costumes and challenges for the campers!

Heffalump Hunting!
Campers gather around a Heffalump outside the Camp Store

Sunday Beach Parties

On the Sunday of each two-week session, we had a camp-wide beach party, including free swim, open boating for all, fabulous music, water balloon tosses and more.

Roasting pineapple on skewers over a beach campfire
Roasting pineapple on skewers over a beach campfire

Finding Forest Friends

There is so much to find on the forest floor if you know where to look! We found tons of Red Efts (juvenile Eastern Newts—also Wildwood’s mascot!) and Eastern Red-backed Salamanders this summer, along with lots of other cool creatures!

Just one of many Eastern Red-backed Salamanders we found this summer
Just one of many Eastern Red-backed Salamanders we found this summer

All-Camp Dance Parties

Need we say more?

Conga line dance party!
Conga line dance party!

Thanks for an incredible summer, everyone! Keep checking the blog and subscribe to the Wildwood eNews to be the first to hear when we open registration for summer 2020.

A spontaneous conga line broke out

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 5 – Part 2

There’s time for just one more update from overnight camp. It’s so hard to believe it’s already over!

We had a Tropical Paradise Beach Party and it was an outrageous amount of fun: Swimming, canoe wars, sandcastle-building, limbo, a photo booth with props, giant Jenga and Connect 4, and one really epic dance party!

Another highlight of the week was “Becky’s Surprise DG” which took a group of intrepid campers to nearby Cathedral of the Pines, a beautiful stone cathedral set against the backdrop of Mount Monadnock. We explored the site’s many beautiful gardens and outdoor chapels and learn about the history of the war memorials scattered throughout the grounds. Plus, there were popsicles!

Check out a few highlights from the last week of summer camp and see the full album on SmugMug.

See you next summer!

Popsicles at Cathedral of the Pines
Popsicles at Cathedral of the Pines
At Cathedral of the Pines with Mount Monadnock in the background
At Cathedral of the Pines with Mount Monadnock in the background
Reading a book in a hammock in the Chill Zone
Reading a book in a hammock in the Chill Zone
Two campers help each other bring a paddleboard to the water
Two campers help each other bring a paddleboard to the water
It's a beach party from a 60's movie!
It’s a beach party from a 60’s movie!
A spontaneous conga line broke out
A spontaneous conga line broke out
Campers try out some of the props in the photo booth
Campers try out some of the props in the photo booth
A perfect night for a dip!
A perfect night for a dip!
Looking good, you two!
Looking good, you two!
How low can you go?
How low can you go?
Giant Connect 4
Giant Connect 4
Take it back now, y'all
Take it back now, y’all
We love our silly, wonderful staff!
We love our silly, wonderful staff!
Airband Heroes
Airband Heroes
Get your dance on!
Get your dance on!
Which unit has the best moves?

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 5 – Part 1

Apologies for the belated post, families! Rest assured, we are having an awesome time exploring the Wildwood property and making new friends. Here are a few highlights from the beginning of the last session of the summer. Also included: Our lead naturalist, Johnathan, provided us with some beautiful wildlife shots he’s taken, including lots of native birds and dragonflies. Enjoy and check out the full album on SmugMug!

Setting up the dining hall for mealtime
Setting up the dining hall for mealtime
Who's ready for lunch?
Who’s ready for lunch?
Chicken tenders for lunch today!
Chicken tenders for lunch today!
Which unit has the best moves?
Which unit has the best moves?
Happy Potato Chip!
Happy Potato Chip!
Dillard campers have spirit, yes they do!
Dillard campers have spirit, yes they do!
Walking up the hill to the waterfront
Walking up the hill to the waterfront
Rolling logs to look for bugs and salamanders
Rolling logs to look for bugs and salamanders
Herp Hunting!
Herp Hunting!
In "Camouflage", your friends may be hidden in plain sight
In “Camouflage”, your friends may be hidden in plain sight
Quick, hide!
Quick, hide!
Sibling Love :-D
Sibling Love 😀
Painting pet rocks in Arts & Crafts

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 4 – Part 3

The end of summer is looming but we’re doing our best to stay in denial and squeeze as much fun out of our remaining time at camp as we can.

There’s lots of music in the air all over the camp; take a walk and you’re sure to run into someone carrying an instrument case. We’ve practiced teamwork and problem-solving on the ropes course, expressed our creativity with pet rock painting and basket weaving, and got plenty of activity and sunshine playing soccer and archery. We even tried our hands at pickle-making! And Monday night’s “Wrath of Nature” evening activity brought us some creative and creepy costumes from counselors and staff along with lots of fun.

Enjoy a few highlights below and check out the full album on SmugMug.

Tic-tac-toe on the archery range
Tic-tac-toe on the archery range
Pickle-making fun!
Pickle-making fun!
Basket weaving from natural materials
Basket weaving from natural materials
Nice tie-dye creations!
Nice tie-dye creations!
Soccer game on the activity field
Soccer game on the activity field
Catching grasshoppers in curly hair!
Catching grasshoppers in curly hair!
Creative costumes and face paint from the counselors for the Wrath of Nature evening program
Creative costumes and face paint from the counselors for the Wrath of Nature evening program
Painting pet rocks in Arts & Crafts
Painting pet rocks in Arts & Crafts
Talk about a leg up!
Talk about a leg up!
A camper showing off an art project
A camper showing off an art project
Singing "Take On Me" in the Arts & Crafts building
Singing “Take On Me” in the Arts & Crafts building
Learning about ecological balance on the Whale Watch
Learning about ecological balance on the Whale Watch
Perfect weather for sailing

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 4 – Part 2

Thunderstorms couldn’t stop us from enjoying a fantastic Heffalump Hunt on Tuesday night—thanks to Becky and Kyle for stepping in to help with dishes while everyone ran off to get the activity started!

Friendship bracelets, sailing, tie-dying and more are filling our days with fun, sun, and smiles! Enjoy these few highlights and see the full album on SmugMug.

So many different knots to try for friendship bracelets
So many different knots to try for friendship bracelets
Nice work on that friendship bracelet!
Nice work on that friendship bracelet!
Perfect weather for sailing
Perfect weather for sailing
Mashing berries for Ink Making
Mashing berries for Ink Making
Testing out our homemade ink!
Testing out our homemade ink!
The camp director and teen programs coordinator stepped in to take over dish duty so we could all enjoy the Heffalump Hunt!
The camp director and teen programs coordinator stepped in to take over dish duty so we could all enjoy the Heffalump Hunt!
Look out! It's Mama Lump!
Look out! It’s Mama Lump!
Gotta catch all those crazy Heffalumps!
Gotta catch all those crazy Heffalumps!
The swallows were darting everywhere on this paddle!

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 4 – Part 1

It’s a hot one out there! But these campers are incredible—they kept right on going with field games, sports, swimming, paddling, and sailing. A few early risers took advantage of the cool air this morning with yoga on the beach while others took refuge in the shade with activities in the Arts & Crafts building.

One group paddled across the pond to see swallows swooping and swarming over the water catching insects, which was magical. Another built incredible “mini golf” courses with rocks, sticks, and tree roots in the Amphitheater. We also welcomed a film crew to shoot footage for a camp video for us, to debut this winter!

Here are a few highlights—see the full album on SmugMug!

Sunrise Yoga on the Beach During PBJs
Sunrise Yoga on the Beach During PBJs
Jump on in, the water's great!
Jump on in, the water’s great!
This amazing mini-golf course cuts a track between the trees and off a couple of rocks!
This amazing mini-golf course cuts a track between the trees and off a couple of rocks!
Waiting our turn for the high ropes course!
Waiting our turn for the high ropes course!
Relaxing during OATs (Open Activity Time)
Relaxing during OATs (Open Activity Time)
Counselor Dustin valiantly rescuing a frog from one of the kayaks
Counselor Dustin valiantly rescuing a frog from one of the kayaks
The swallows were darting everywhere on this paddle!
The swallows were darting everywhere on this paddle!
Searching for tadpoles and salamanders
Searching for tadpoles and salamanders
Constructing rafts on the waterfront
Constructing rafts on the waterfront
The dock is a great spot for nature journaling
The dock is a great spot for nature journaling
Evening Program by the Campfire
Evening Program by the Campfire
Dancing to Rattlin Bog
Dancing to Rattlin Bog
Don't pop the balloon, racers!

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 3 – Part 4

Yesterday we were thrilled to welcome our very first session of Wildwood Warblers! These 7-8 year-olds arrived in the morning and will leave on Saturday with the rest of Session 3 after a two-night overnight camp experience. They jumped right into camp fun with swim checks, lunch in the always-lively dining hall, and Camp Olympic.

Camp Olympics were unbelievably fun, both to participate in and to watch. We played silly games like Cheeto Head and Rock Paper Scissors Faceoff and made LOTS of messes with shaving cream, whipped cream, and Skittles. See a few highlights below and check out the full slideshow on SmugMug.

It takes teamwork to get over that 12' wall!
It takes teamwork to get over that 12′ wall!
It takes teamwork to get over that 12' wall!
It takes teamwork to get over that 12′ wall!
Two campers holding hands as they traverse the parallel tight ropes
Two campers holding hands as they traverse the parallel tight ropes
Claire and Anna made the most amazing fairy house we've ever seen, complete with tiny bark and moss furniture
Claire and Anna made the most amazing fairy house we’ve ever seen, complete with tiny bark and moss furniture
Singing silly songs before lunch in the dining hall
Singing silly songs before lunch in the dining hall
The Parade of Flags at the opening ceremony for Camp Olympics
The Parade of Flags at the opening ceremony for Camp Olympics
Campers must cooperate and work together to pass the marble along to the finish line without dropping it
Campers must cooperate and work together to pass the marble along to the finish line without dropping it
The Shoe Toss event during Camp Olympics
The Shoe Toss event during Camp Olympics
Don't pop the balloon, racers!
Don’t pop the balloon, racers!
No hands allowed, only elbows, in Pass the Banana
No hands allowed, only elbows, in Pass the Banana
Two campers face off in Rock Paper Scissors Races
Two campers face off in Rock Paper Scissors Races
Digging for Skittles in whipped cream...no hands allowed!
Digging for Skittles in whipped cream…no hands allowed!
Using pantyhose and beanbags to knock over the cups in Stocking Cap Bowling
Using pantyhose and beanbags to knock over the cups in Stocking Cap Bowling
Cheeto Head involves tossing Cheetos at a shower cap covered in shaving cream and trying to stick more than your opponent
Cheeto Head involves tossing Cheetos at a shower cap covered in shaving cream and trying to stick more than your opponent
Time for a shave, Dustin?
Time for a shave, Dustin?
Three happy campers smiling for the camera

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 3 – Part 2

One of the most magical things about camp is how a few creative ideas and a can-do spirit can turn a rainy day into the best day ever. A little rain certainly didn’t stop us this week: we created musical instruments out of vegetables and fruit, did the limbo, and a few brave souls even went for a paddle once the threat of thunder had passed. When things dried out a bit, it was right back to fun and games with archery, ropes course challenges, tie-dying, and a heffalump hunt.

Check out a few highlights below and see the full slideshow on SmugMug.

Dancing in the rain!
Who’s going to let a little rain stop the fun?
Limbo dancing in the dining hall
How low can you go?
Making musical instruments out of veggies and fruit
Making musical instruments out of veggies and fruit
Watermelon hats
Fun with fruit
Tie-dying!
Tie-dying!
Three boys sitting on a bench smiling with arms around each other
Making funny faces for the camera
Three happy campers smiling for the camera
Thumbs up getting fitted for ropes course harness
Campers working together on the ropes course
Up in the air at the ropes course
Up in the air at the ropes course
A lively game of Rainbow Tag

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 3 – Part 1

Session 3 is off and running and we are BUSY with swimming, kayaking, making friendship bracelets, playing tag, building gnome homes in the forest, and making lots of new friends. Check out the highlights below and see the full slideshow on SmugMug.

Two campers demonstrate a particular braid technique for friendship bracelets
Two campers demonstrate a particular braid technique for friendship bracelets
Jigsaw puzzling in the dining hall
Jigsaw puzzling in the dining hall
Grace helping a camper try out archery
Grace helping a camper try out archery
These campers are learning the basics of tap dance!
These campers are learning the basics of tap dance!
A lively game of Rainbow Tag
A lively game of Rainbow Tag
Nice gnome home!
Nice gnome home!
Helping out in the community garden
Helping out in the community garden
Balloon Tag...don't get popped!
Balloon Tag…don’t get popped!
I said OOH, AAH Ort Report!
I said OOH, AAH Ort Report!
Tuesday morning kayak lessons
Tuesday morning kayak lessons
Loving this beautiful weather!
Loving this beautiful weather!
These campers played Rock, Paper, Scissors on the dock—loser jumps in the lake!

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 2 – Part 3

This week has flown by so fast, it’s hard to believe this is our last update of Session 2! We had a visit from a couple of animal ambassadors from Drumlin Farm (a Blue Jay and a Diamondback Terrapin turtle!), played Knockout on the basketball court, folded origami animals, transplanted native wildflowers, hit the slip-and-slide to beat the heat, tried our hands at outdoor cooking, and enjoyed (from a respectful distance) a nest of baby robins and one as-yet unhatched egg on the windowsill of one of our buildings.

Check out these highlights and see the full photo album on SmugMug. And we’ll see you on Saturday, parents!

Happy 4th of July from Camp Wildwood!
Happy 4th of July from Camp Wildwood!
Some of our international counselors (plus Dustin) attempt to sing the US National Anthem on the 4th of July
Some of our international counselors (plus Dustin) attempt to sing the US National Anthem on the 4th of July.
Counselors doing a silly song and dance
Counselors doing a silly song and dance.
A Diamondback Terrapin (turtle) Ambassador from Drumlin Farm paid a visit to camp.
A Diamondback Terrapin (turtle) Ambassador from Drumlin Farm paid a visit to camp.
Slip-n-slide time!
Slip-n-slide time!
Outdoor cooking making campfire cupcakes
Outdoor cooking making campfire cupcakes.
A robin's nest with two tiny babies and one unhatched egg
A robin’s nest with two tiny babies and one unhatched egg.
These dedicated campers transplanted wildflowers into our new native flower garden
These dedicated campers transplanted wildflowers into our new native flower garden
Nice layup! A little Knockout on the basketball court
Nice layup! A little Knockout on the basketball court.
Making animal origami in Arts & Crafts
Making animal origami in Arts & Crafts.
A proud camper shows off her hand-made name "cookie"
A proud camper shows off her hand-made name “cookie”.
Stand-up Paddleboarding is all the rage these days
Stand-up Paddleboarding is all the rage these days.
Taking a flying leap off the dock on a hot summer day
Taking a flying leap off the dock on a hot summer day.
These campers played Rock, Paper, Scissors on the dock—loser jumps in the lake!
These campers played Rock, Paper, Scissors on the dock—loser jumps in the lake!