UF/IFAS Partners with USDA Forest Service to get Kids in the Woods

By Kim Scotto-Kelley

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Are you worried about your child getting more ‘screen time’ than ‘green time’ this summer? Camp Kids in the Woods, a joint initiative between the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the USDA Forest Service, offers an opportunity for rising 6th to 10th grade students to unplug and head outdoors.

Camp Kids in the Woods lets campers participate in live animal encounters.

“Kids today spend twice as much time indoors as their parents did,” said Molly Disabb, Kids in the Woods camp director. “Our camp lets them interact with nature in a hands-on way – catching bugs, exploring wetlands, climbing trees, and even getting to camp out in the beautiful UF/IFAS Austin Cary Forest.”

All camp excursions are led by scientists and natural resource professionals from a range of fields, including forestry, wildlife, water resources and entomology. From live-animal encounters to completing a service-learning project, campers get to learn about the natural world while having fun.

“Kids in the Woods was an amazing experience!” said Lucy, 14, who attended a session in 2018. “We did so many things that you can do nowhere else, such as playing in a fire hose, deer spotlighting, and seeing views of the forest from high in a bucket truck. I had so much fun!”

Camp Kids in the Woods costs $235 and runs for two sessions: June 10-14 and June 24-28, 2019. An optional shuttle service allows guardians to drop off their campers at Westside Park instead of the Austin Cary Forest for an extra $35. Registration is open now at campkidsinthewoods.org/registration.

Thanks to generous donations, a limited number of partial scholarships are available. To apply for a scholarship, please email Molly Disabb, kidsinthewoods@ifas.ufl.edu, for more information. The deadline to apply for a scholarship for Session 1 is May 20. The deadline to apply for a scholarship for Session 2 is June 3.

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By: Kim Scotto-Kelley, (352) 294-7018, kscotto@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS website at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

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