Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back to School Back to Nature at Camp Bayou

Back to School- Back to Nature Annual Event

Before homework, tests and report cards arrive in the coming school days, enjoy a beautiful summer morning filled with learning that is fun and check off some school supplies in the process.

Camp Bayou's 6th Annual Back to School- Back to Nature event will be held on Saturday, August 3 from 9am- noon. Event is Free. Registered families will visit several nature stations where they will learn something about frogs, fossils, forests or other natural topics.

Before leaving each station, the children will be given a free school supply item! For a possible extra bonus, children will be given a free raffle ticket after their family signs in at the registration table. Tickets will be drawn every 30 minutes for other items, including backpacks, journals, lunch bags, and more. As in past years, registration is requested but FREE online at .
There will be a LEEF Teacher Resource Exchange- an area for educators to leave materials they no longer need or pick up something new. Teachers can also learn about field trips to the Nature Center or Fossil Museum, upcoming teacher professional workshops, League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF) regional information and Florida Master Naturalist Program updates. Teachers who sign up for the e-newsletter will receive a goody bag of items to help in the classroom.
Organizations that will be participating in this year's event include:
Sensing Nature/ Florida Youth Conservation Center Network
UF/IFAS- Gulf Coast Research & Education Center, Balm
Girl Scouts
of West- Central Florida
Florida Division of Forestry
A drink cooler will be on hand to help keep participants hydrated with free cups of water at the Camp Bayou Support table along with information about Center programs, activities and events. This year the Plant City Lion's Club will have a collection box at the table if you have any old eyeglasses, sunglasses or hearing aids that you'd like to donate to a worthy cause.

Camp Bayou is still accepting donations of school supplies or cash to purchase them. Your donation allows the Center to continue to provide these types of events for free. Expected attendance is approximately 200 children. Please contact 813-641-8545 or email to arrange a drop off or pick up.

Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is neither 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, supporters and grants, the managing non-profit- B.O.L.D. - offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families.
Monthly canoe tours are now available by reservation only. Check the online calendar for trip dates. The Center is 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 Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery, Inc. (BOLD)., 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. 
Pictured: Families at last year's event enjoyed many great activities and went home with a bag of school supply needs.

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