Category Archives: year-round

Hubbard Pond Campers Come to Wildwood!

In 2017, six young people and one family came to camp thanks to a new partnership between Wildwood and two social service agencies located in urban areas of Massachusetts. These agencies identified under-resourced children and families from Lawrence and Cambridge and introduced them to Wildwood. Together, we worked to address all possible barriers to participation by providing significant financial support, assistance with completing forms, help with transportation, and camping gear to borrow as needed. We are calling campers who come to Wildwood through this program “Hubbard Pond Campers”, after the majestic body of water that lies at the center of our camp.

Hubbard Pond Campers enjoyed the true Wildwood experience. They went swimming and kayaking. They learned about plants and birds and bugs. They sang silly songs and challenged themselves on the ropes course. They began to see themselves as stewards of the earth. After camp they wrote to us:

“I got to do a lot of fun things, and I got to feel as though there are other grown-ups who care about me.”

“Our children had a lot of fun while exploring new and different activities not usually within the reach of inner-city kids…Being away from all kinds of technology helped our family enjoy nature’s beauty and each other’s company.”

“This camp experience was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

We plan to expand this program in 2018 so that we can accommodate both new and returning Hubbard Pond Campers. As so many of you know, one summer at camp can be fun and transformative. The benefits multiply when a camper returns year after year.

If this particular program speaks to you, please consider making a gift to our Kids to Camp Scholarship Fund. Your gift—helping a camper come to Wildwood—can have a lasting positive impact in the life of a child.

Preparing for Another Great Summer

Winter showed its might one last time this past week, but we are looking forward to the imminent thaw which is sure to bring budding flowers, singing birds, and plenty more sights and sounds of spring. And not a moment too soon, as the Wildwood staff are itching to begin the annual process of bringing the property and facilities out of hibernation, preparing them to host so many excited campers.

Wildwood is Getting Ready…

The work begins as soon as the snow melts and temperatures no longer creep below freezing each night. One of the earliest tasks is turning the water back on across camp and checking for any leaks that may have developed over the winter. Other duties include: checking for and repairing any damage to camp buildings, reconstructing the floating docks at the waterfront, and inspecting all building safety equipment, to name a few.

Meredith Supervises the Waterfront

The short spring before the start of camp leaves us very little time in which accomplish a lot of work. This year, we invite you to make a big difference in helping us prepare for camp at Volunteer Day. We are looking forward to a great day full of rewarding projects and fun camp activities for all ages.

…And You Should, Too!

As summer approaches, it’s important for you and your camper to also begin getting ready for camp.

Group Yoga at Wildwood Overnight Camp

The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is complete your CampDoc health profile and attach all requested documents including insurance cards, immunization records, and proof of a physical within the last 12 months. If you are signed up for camp and haven’t yet received an email from CampDoc or are having trouble completing your camper’s profile, please contact us.

If it is your first time attending camp, we encourage you to come out to one of our Open House events on May 13 or May 20 to take a tour of the property and ask our staff any last-minute questions you have. If you can’t make it up to Wildwood, you can join us at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, MA, on May 21 for New Camper Orientation.

Be sure to also visit the Parent Resources section of our website for all kinds of helpful information, including:

We also encourage you to poke around here on the Word from Wildwood blog to see photos of camp in action and get our advice for a successful camp session. One of my favorite posts is from former Wildwood staff member, Amanda, who shares her incredibly efficient method of packing for camp.

See you soon at camp!

Kayaking Fun at Wildwood Overnight Camp!

Wildwood Then & Now: A Reflection in Time

Wildwood campers roast marshmallows over a campfire circa 1953. Photo © Gordon Hicks

Wildwood campers roast marshmallows over a campfire circa 1953. Photograph by Gordon Hicks, courtesy of his daughter, Wildwood alumna Barbara Harting

A lot has changed in Massachusetts and around the globe since 1950, when Wildwood opened as the first youth overnight camp in New England to focus exclusively on natural history education.

Since then, summer camps and schools across the country have been discovering that nature education is a crucial element of youth development. Many studies have shown that time spent outdoors provides children with a number of physical and mental health benefits. Additionally, children who develop a strong connection to the outdoors will value conservation throughout their lives.

Although educational perspectives have evolved, Wildwood’s central focus on connecting kids with nature—and teaching campers about our role in protecting it—is one thing that will never change.

One of the best things about a camp with a history as robust as Wildwood’s is getting to compare what has changed over time along with what has remained consistent. Last summer, camp alumna Barbara Harting gave us the opportunity to do just that when she reached out to share photos taken by her father at Wildwood in the mid-50’s when Barbara and her brothers were campers and their father was the official camp photographer.

Aside from the black-and-white photography and mid-century clothing, it is remarkable to see how similar these scenes are to what we see at camp today.

In this gallery, we’ve paired Barbara’s photos (taken at Wildwood’s original location at Cook’s Canyon in Barre, MA) with photos from our current home in Rindge, NH.

We hope you’ll enjoy, as we have, the common threads that continue to weave our story and withstand the test of time.

Have favorite memories of Wildwood you’d like to share with us? Email your photos to wildwood@massaudubon.org.

View photos at SmugMug

Reflections on 2016

As the Winter Solstice approaches, Wildwood’s bare trees reveal wider views of Hubbard Pond. The grays and browns of mid-December create their own stark beauty. During this quiet time, we reflect on the year that has gone by and prepare for the one to come.

Thank You for Your Support

We are grateful to the 104 families who donated to Wildwood in 2016. Because of their generosity, we were able to offer over $50,000 in financial aid to campers who might not otherwise have been able to come to camp and we were able to fund the construction of two Wooden Tents in the Fossey Unit. Truly, the generosity of our camp families reflects the spirit of Wildwood—together, connecting with nature and each other, we can make a difference.

Wildwood Camp Director Welch Narron with campers

Wildwood Camp Director Welch Narron with some happy campers.

Making Camp Possible for All

We have more big plans for Wildwood in 2017. One important initiative is our effort to provide new ways of offering camp scholarships by partnering with elementary and middle schools in urban areas of Massachusetts. Our hope is to widen our camp family by finding and inviting to Wildwood children who might never have considered overnight camp on their own.

New Wooden Tents for Fossey Unit

As for progress we can see and feel, this winter and spring our construction crew will finish the second and third Wooden Tents in the Fossey Unit. In 2017, all Fossey campers will be sleeping in Wooden Tents! After that, we will look ahead to funding and building three Wooden Tents in the Thoreau Unit.

New Wooden Tents in the Fossey Unit at Wildwood Overnight Camp

Cranberry (right) and our newest Wooden Tent (left) in the Fossey Unit

Registration is Open for 2017!

Finally, registration is underway for Summer 2017! You may register now via our website. Be sure to check out the 2017 camp brochure also on our website. Watch for the paper version in mailboxes and at your local sanctuary soon. Register for camp by January 15 to take advantage of the Early Bird discount.

Will You Join Us?

In closing, we want to thank again all of our generous donors. Will you join them? Please consider an end-of-year gift to Wildwood. Donations toward our general operations, scholarship program, and our Wooden Tent Campaign are truly appreciated. Thank you, and best wishes for the holiday season.

Donate Today

Bird-a-thon at Wildwood: An Interview with Camp Director Welch Narron

WW_Birdathon

Twenty-four hours of birding. Sounds like a monumental challenge, right?

Yet every year hundreds of people take part in Bird-a-thon, a 24-hour fundraiser for Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries and programs. Participants spot hundreds of different varieties of birds, from black-capped chickadees to bald eagles and everything in between. (Many of them don’t even sleep!) The competition is fierce, but most of all, fun.

This year’s Bird-a-thon will take place on May 13 and 14, and we here at Wildwood are getting involved in a special way! In addition to having fun programming for all ages (think: nature crafts, bird walks, and owl prowls), we’re also providing overnight accommodations, complete with campfire and s’mores. Whether you’re a birder or just want to check it out, we have activities for everyone!

We chatted with Camp Director Welch Narron, who told us what makes birding in Rindge so special.

What’s your favorite thing about birding at Wildwood?

There are a great number of bird species here pretty consistently, which makes Wildwood a great place to learn how to identify birds by sight and sound. Black-throated green warblers, black-and-white warblers, and yellow-rumped warblers stay throughout the summer and are often heard singing in the morning. A beginner birder can take a walk at Wildwood and end up with a solid understanding of how to identify various songs and calls.

What’s a special birding moment you’ve had at Wildwood?

Every time a great blue heron flies across the pond, almost all of the campers and staff turn around and yell “G-B-H!!!” It’s cool to see people, who don’t necessarily do a lot of birding at home, come to Wildwood and gain an appreciation for what they see and hear outdoors. A love for birding and nature in general often comes from moments like these, and that sparks a real passion.

What will families get out of a Bird-a-thon experience at Wildwood?

Bird-a-Thon at Wildwood will give families the opportunity to get close to nature with other outdoor enthusiasts in the Monadnock region. Birding will certainly be the highlight as we explore our 160 acres on Hubbard Pond in search of eagles, warblers, and spring migrators. It’s a great opportunity to practice birding at any skill level! Even more lasting will be the experience of learning and discovering nature alongside neighbors, classmates, and campers.

Interested in participating in Bird-a-thon at Wildwood this year? Visit our fundraising page or register for activities and the overnight camping experience here.

Focus on Facilities

Countless campers and staff from Wildwood and Camp Quinapoxet have enjoyed meals looking over Hubbard Pond.

Countless campers and staff from Wildwood and Camp Quinapoxet have enjoyed meals looking over Hubbard Pond.

Hosting over 550 campers and 50 staff for twelve weeks during the summer takes a toll on the Wildwood property and facilities. Luckily for us, we have amazing property staff who take great pride in ensuring the facility always puts its best face forward.

This year the focus was on the Dining Hall, a building we all know and love. The first order of business was to repair a hole in the kitchen floor which developed last summer and was a result of many years of moisture wicking from concrete to wood beams. This causes rot to develop at the ends of the boards, which leads to cracked tiles and sinking floor. To make the repairs, our property manager removed a section of tiles, cut through old hardwood floor, and revealed the trouble beams underneath. After removing the damaged pieces, the area was reinforced with treated lumber which should resist moisture damage for many years.

IMG_0706

New screens are easy to repair and look great!

The outside of the building is seeing some improvements as well. New window screens are being installed so that everyone can enjoy the breeze with the windows open during meal times. Previously each window was equipped with its own screen which was matched to that window. Those screens were difficult and costly to repair. The new screen frames cover a group of windows and are easily removed and repaired.

 

This is just a small fraction of the work being done to get Wildwood ready for summer 2016. Come visit us at an Open House event to get a glimpse before we officially kick off summer camp. See you there!

Gearing up for summer!

CampDoc.com

 Watch your email in early March for login information!

CampDoc logo

CampDoc.com is the online service we use to upload and organize camper health information. It allows us to keep secure and accurate records of your camper’s health history and document any care given during their camp session. It also cuts down significantly on the amount of paper we use every year.

In early March, families of registered campers will receive an email notice from CampDoc to create or update their campers’ profiles. We ask that families complete their profiles by May 1. Campers must have a health care physical within 12 months before the start of their camp session.

If your camper is also attending another Mass Audubon camp that uses CampDoc, you only need to create one profile. Many sections will apply to all camps, but some additional information is needed specifically for overnight camp.

IMG_2785If you have any questions, please contact the camp office, and we’ll be happy to help. We can’t wait to see you at camp this summer!

Winter days change our camp landscape, and give lots of opportunity to learn the habits of our year-round residents. These porcupine tracks show a route up a steep incline, and passing lots of choice evergreens, to reach a small stand of hemlock.  Apparently our porcupines are finicky eaters!

 

 

 

Looking Ahead to 2016 Wildwood Camp

Each year we take the quiet days of autumn to reflect on the programs from the previous summer, and look for opportunities to provide programming that best meets the needs and interests of our camp families. This past fall has been no different as we took a close look at our Leaders-In-Training and Trek programs and have made some exciting adjustments based on your feedback.

Teens in the Woods

Teens love exploring the wilds of New England!

Returning in summer 2016 is the much-requested 3-week program for second-year Leaders-In-Training! After the past couple of years of 2-week sessions for that group, we realized those teens (and their staff leaders) would really benefit from an extra week to take part in more advanced programs. We are calling this session “Leaders-In-Action” and it will include a longer and more involved off-camp trip, as well as the opportunity to develop and implement an on-camp service project from beginning to end. Applications for that program were sent out directly to previous LIT and Trek participants. If you weren’t a camper in 2015 or didn’t receive the application, no problem! Contact the office to request a copy of the Leaders-In-Action application. Leaders-In-Action are 16 years old and/or entering 11th grade in fall of 2016. Space in this program will be limited and applications received by January 1, 2016 will be considered together.

mooseinalder

Moose and plenty of other wildlife await teens in the Great North Woods!

In the Trek program, we have heard from many families that they are interested in a longer Trek option for teens seeking a more in-depth experience. A longer program gives the group a chance to develop stronger connections and explore the region further. This year, we are debuting a very exciting 2-week trip for teens who have participated previously in a Wildwood Trek. The new Trek is called “Discovering the Great North Woods” and has teens exploring the northern tip of New Hampshire where wildlife outnumbers people! Check out that Trek and other opportunities today on our program catalog.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at camp in 2015 and we’re so excited to make 2016 the best yet!

Wildwood – Summer 2015 Looking Back (and ahead to 2016!)

It is hard to believe that it has been about a month since the last day of the 2015 Wildwood summer camp season. We are so fortunate to have finished off the season with an incredibly strong Family Camp 3, and a very positive staff send-off.

In total, we served over 550 campers with fun and rewarding experiences in our Overnight, Leaders-In-Training, and Teen Adventure Trip programs and 50 families at Family Camp! It has been an amazing few years for us at Wildwood as enrollment numbers and enthusiasm for the program have continued to grow. We believe that camps like Wildwood, where campers can escape from technology and learn to appreciate the connections between people and nature, are more important than ever.

Some highlights from this summer include:

  • A new food service partnership with Sodexo, whose hard work received great reviews from campers and staff!
  • The addition of three new Treks for teens looking for more outdoor adventures!
  • The Leaders-In-Training developed and facilitated a service project to create a new outdoor education area for activity groups. This new spot, dubbed “Whitman’s Woods”, was incredibly popular and used by many IGs and DGs!
  • New IGs like “Forensics”, provided campers fun new ways to learn and connect with nature and the outdoors.

Sign-Up Information for 2016

We are in the process of finalizing the 2016 summer camp calendar. In November the camp dates will be available online and the sessions will be open for registration. All registrations completed before January 15th will be at the early-bird discounted rate!

Be sure to subscribe to this blog on the right-hand side of the page to be notified of new posts so that you can stay up to date on Wildwood news. You can also go to our homepage and subscribe to our e-news which is a monthly email newsletter full of news and information about Wildwood. If you’re looking for a chance to visit Wildwood outside of the summer, visit the Wildwood Program Catalog for a of listing of our year-round public programs.

Looking Back on a Great Year at Wildwood

Thanks to everyone who helped make summer 2014 a huge success!

Thanks to everyone who helped make summer 2014 a huge success!

It has been an absolutely incredible year for Wildwood! Among our accomplishments; we have brought on new staff, had a record number of summer camp participants, and expanded programming beyond the summer months. These last twelve months have confirmed that people all over crave an experience where they can reconnect with nature as part of a strong and supportive community. With staff transitions behind us and facility improvements on the horizon, we are affirmed in our direction and our consistency in facilitating a high-quality program for everyone who visits us along Hubbard Pond.

As we look ahead to 2015, our focus and direction is on celebrating the great traditions at Wildwood and pushing ourselves to provide the greatest possible experience for all of our campers and program participants. As a part of that effort we are offering more programs for teens this summer in the form of new and exciting treks that extend into August. We are also expanding year-round programming with public programs for families to enjoy while visiting the Monadnock region and weekly naturalist walks after school on the sanctuary for folks in the local community. Next spring and fall are also hosting schools and scout troops for day and overnight visits with fun and engaging Wildwood programming.

Wildwood is an amazing place to explore year-round!

Wildwood is an amazing place to explore year-round!

Stay tuned into what’s happening at Wildwood with our website, social media, and electronic mailings for information on all this and more that we are excited to share. We also hope you’ll visit Rindge this winter to enjoy one of our public programs and talk a walk around the sanctuary. Best wishes and we look forward to seeing you at Wildwood again soon!