Sunday, August 7, 2011

Camp Bayou Back to School event

Jonathan wins the first
Bucs backpack of the day.
The 4th annual 'Back to School- Back to Nature' event, held last Saturday, August 6, was great fun for all ages, plus provided participants with a few school supply items to help with this year's back to school needs. Approximately 80 school age children and their families came out for a wonderful morning of games, face painting, fossils, ant lions and more! The Teacher Resource table offered information for teachers such as regional info through the League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF) and free items for teachers to use in their classrooms this year. The membership table provided a glimpse of future events including our 'A Natural Education Weekend" to be held Friday- Sunday, November 11-13.

A big "Thank You" goes to our sponsors, participating organizations and volunteers, without whom, this event would not be possible. In addition to our regulars, including:

Hillsborough County Solid Waste Recycling Program
Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful
Florida Division of Forestry
Florida Master Naturalists
Paleo Preserve Fossil Museum
and dedicated Camp Bayou volunteers and members;
We were joined this year by
Hillsborough County's Adopt-a-Pond Program
West Central Girl Scouts with local troop from Bayou Pass in Ruskin
Wandering Whimsy/Conserve it Forward
and Face Painters from a south county church group.

We also had several families volunteer from the Brandon Homeschool Fellowship who helped with various event tasks such as registration, parking and grilling hot dogs plus they  donated many of the school supply items that were distributed.

A Special Thank You goes to the Glazer Family Foundation, Inc. for providing Buc-Packs from their Back to School Program which were given out as raffle prizes.

Camp Bayou is nether a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the RCDF offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks. General admission is still FREE.

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public- private partnership between the non-profit Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at or call 813-641-8545. 

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