Preparing for Camp

Where do I go for my camp? What do I need to bring? These questions and more are answered below.

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Where is my camp located? How do I get there?

Please click the location name for maps and driving directions to each site. Not sure what site your camp is located at? Check the page for the camp and it will detail where the camp is taking place.

    For Summer 2017 our day-camps will take place at several locations, including the following:
  • Earth Ninja Camps will be at Hendricks Park
  • Stalking the Summer Harvest will be at Alton Baker Eastgate Woodlands
  • Big Bear Village will be at Big Bear Camp
  • The Oregon Trail will be at Mount Pisgah Arboretum

Summer Camp Sites:

Lane Community College (LCC)
Hendricks Park
Eastgate Woodlands (East Alton Baker Park)
Big Bear Camp
Lost Valley Educational Center
Mount Pisgah Arboretum
Eel Creek Campground/Oregon Dunes
Dorris Ranch Living History Farm

For Coyote Kids! Information Click Here

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Allergy Statement

Childhood allergies are unfortunately very common these days. The most common and dangerous allergy we encounter is to peanuts. For this reason, and to ensure a safe and positive experience for everyone we are asking that no one bring food containing peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oils, etc. to any day camps. This is in addition to our usual policy of kids not sharing food. We appreciate your understanding and sensitivity to the needs of all our campers. Please do not send your child to day camps with any peanut-containing foods in his or her lunch or snacks. If you are having a difficult time coming up with alternatives to the good ol’ PB&J please refer to this list of ideas.

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A Note About Poison-oak and Other Hazards

Many normal activities in life carry inherent risks such as crossing a busy street or playing sports. Spending time in nature is no different. And just like with the hazards involved in crossing the street, taking a few appropriate steps can mitigate most of the serious dangers. One of the primary lessons that kids learn at nature camp is how to deal with hazards by better understanding them and how to take risks in an appropriate way. Here are a few common hazards of the woods and how you can help your kids deal with them safely.

Poison-oak
Poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is a common native plant of western North America. This plant is present at most of our program sites (except Big Bear Camp). Contact with the plant can cause an itchy rash due to an oil the plant produces called urushiol. It’s characteristic three-leaflet pattern is easily recognized by many hikers. However, Poison-oak takes on many appearances depending on the time of year and where it is growing. Our first protection against poison oak is to learn to know what it looks like in our area at this time of year. That helps us to avoid contact with the plant. We also highly recommend wearing long pants and closed toe shoes to reduce exposure. If exposure to poison-oak occurs there are a few things that you can do to reduce the chance of developing a rash. The most important thing is to scrub all exposed skin well with cool water and lots of soap as soon as possible after exposure. Wash all clothes that may have been exposed separately to avoid cross contamination.

Insects and Bugs
There are several varieties of stinging insects that we are likely to encounter while walking in the woods. The ones that we encounter most commonly are “yellow jackets” (Vespula spp.). The yellow jackets like to nest in cavities underground during the summer and fall where an unsuspecting explorer might accidentally step on their nest without knowing it. Yellow jackets will defend their nests aggressively if they feel threatened and they are capable of stinging multiple times. We take several precautions during the yellow jacket season to reduce the risk of being stung. First, when travelling off of established trails instructors always go in front in order to watch out for ground nests that might be hard to spot. Second, we teach students to react calmly when yellow jackets are present (such as during lunch time). When we don’t antagonize these insects they mostly leave us alone. In addition to these precautions, all staff are trained on the assessment of severe allergic reaction and anaphylaxis. Each group carries Epi-pen devices to treat severe allergic reactions and has someone trained in how to use the device. Severe allergic reactions to stings are actually quite rare and in most cases when a child is stung we invite them to apply a medicinal plant to the sting to help receive the pain and swelling.
Finally, we sometimes encounter ticks while travelling in the woods. These parasitic arachnids like to hang out on tall grasses and grab on to hikers as we pass by. They will often crawl around on a person for a long time before biting and our best protections against tick bites is regular tick checks. We encourage campers to check themselves twice a day during springtime when ticks are most prevalent. Typically it works well to check for ticks while in the bathroom as they prefer to be in warm, moist areas of the body, under clothing. If a tick does bite it can be removed by pinching it gently at the head with a pair of tweezers and pulling straight out.

Extreme Weather
Here in the Willamette Valley we are blessed with a very mild climate and we are able to participate in outdoor activities year round. You can ensure that your child has a good time outdoors by coming to camp prepared for all likely weather conditions. In warm weather we recommend loose, breathable clothing as well as the use of a sun hat and/or sunscreen. Also, bringing enough water to drink is essential to staying healthy. We recommend carrying at least 1 liter of pure water (in addition to any juice or other sugary drinks) when at camp. There will be opportunities to refill your water bottle. In cold weather it is important to dress in layers. Try to avoid cotton clothing. Good quality rain gear, including waterproof boots, is a must for staying comfortable outside in the winter. Finally, in rare cases of extreme weather we do seek shelter indoors.

Large Mammals
The most common large mammals in our area that may pose a risk to humans are black bears (Ursus americanus) and cougars (Felis concolor). These animals are native to our area and range commonly throughout the valley and foothills. However, bears and cougars are very shy of people and will try at all times to avoid the sights, sounds, and smells they associate with humans. Being with large (and often noisy) groups of kids makes it unlikely that we will ever encounter one of these animals during camp. However, as an additional precaution we make students aware of how to react if they do see a bear or cougar. There are differences in each but generally it is advisable to stay together as a group. Don’t turn your back on the animal and back away slowly. In some cases it is appropriate to make noise to scare off the animal. Nevertheless, in most cases the only indication we ever get of the presence of large mammals in our area is the signs and tracks they leave behind.


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What is your Refund Policy?

Whole Earth Nature School has implemented the following cancellation policy based on the time, resources and staffing that goes into planning a camp. We cannot recover these expenses if you cancel. Cancellations made on short notice can also prevent others from attending.
If you ask to transfer to a different camp you may do so up to 15 days prior to the start of your camp. There will be a $25 fee per camp transferred. Less that 15 days before camp transfers will be subject to our cancelation policy below.

All programs have a non-refundable, 25% deposit.

    If you cancel, or ask to transfer to a different camp, for any reason:
  • Cancellations made at least 15 days prior to the first day of camp will receive a full refund, minus the 25% non-refundable deposit.
  • Cancellations/transfers made between 8 and 14 days prior to the first day of camp will receive a refund of 50% of the total camp tuition.
  • Cancellations/transfers made 7 days or less prior to the first day of camp, or after the start of a program, are not refundable.

Oops Policy: You have 48 hours from the time of purchase to cancel your registration with no penalty. (Cancellation must be requested prior to the start of the program.)

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Coyote Kids

We will meet the kids at the schools listed below. Coyote Kids! programs all take place in nearby parks and natural areas adjacent to the schools. All activities will be within walking distance of the school. Instructors will be available outside the classrooms during the first few weeks of camp to help students find their way to the appropriate meeting place, until they get used to where to meet. Pick up will occur two hours after the end of school. Detailed location is listed below. There is a 15 minute grace period for pick-ups. Please see our late pick-up policy below for more details.

    Please come to Coyote Kids! prepared. Kids will need:
  • Appropriate clothing for the outdoors (Warm hat, rain gear, boots, etc.)
  • Water
  • A backpack or other way of carrying their own possessions while leaving their hands free
  • Suggested: Healthy snack

Here is a list of meeting places for each school:

Adams: Meet in front of the office by the benches, pick-up at the same location.
Camas Ridge: Meet in the grassy area in front of the lower (West) building. Pick-up in the same location.
Centennial: Meet in the pine trees on the south end of the school. Pick-up in the same location.
Charlemagne: Meet at the picnic tables in the back of the school. Pick up will be at the ramp next to the parking lot loop.
Edgewood: Meet at the upper parking lot near the large boulders. Pick up is in the same location.
Edison: Meet in front of the school. We gather to the east of the front door. Pick up will be in the same location.
Family School: Meet in the grassy area West of the bus loop. Pick up will be at the same location.
McCornack: Meet in the concrete area outside behind the school office. Pick up will be on the south side of 25th avenue between Chaucer and Hawkins. Click for a map
Ridgeline Montessori: Meet at the covered shelter (outdoor classroom) by the North playground. Pick up will be in the same location.
Village School: Meet in the hallway outside your classrooms, then join the larger group in front of the red Middle School building, near Willamette on the North side. Pick up will be at the school driveway leading out to 35th Avenue.

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Acorn Nature Program

The Acorn Nature Program will be held at Dorris Ranch. Drop off will be at 10:00am and we meet at the big barn. The barn is visible down the gravel road from the main parking areas. Pick Up will be between 2:00pm and 2:15pm. We invite parents to come early around 1:50 each class to listen to our “story of the day” as kids share about what they did that day. Pick-up will also be at the same barn.
Please come to Acorn prepared. Kids will need:

  • Appropriate clothing for the outdoors (Warm hat, rain gear, boots, etc.)
  • Water
  • A nutritious lunch
  • A backpack or other way of carrying their own possessions

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For all Winter and Spring Break Nature Camps

Winter Break Camps: Check-in begins at 8:30 at the camp location. Pick up is between 3:00 and 3:15pm.

Spring Break Camps: Check-in begins at 8:30 at the camp location. Pick up is between 3:00 and 3:15pm.

(Please read section below about late pickups.)

What to Bring

  • Your child will be exploring in the woods and if all goes well, she or he will get dirty. Please dress your child in clothing that can get dirty and that is appropriate for the weather. (i.e. Sun hat, sunscreen, warm clothing or raincoat. Layers are a good idea. Closed-toe shoes are highly encouraged.)
  • Nutritious lunch (no peanut products please, see allergy statement above) and snacks
  • Water in a refillable container (yes, water in addition to any other beverages)
  • A backpack (be sure your child can carry his/her belongings independently)

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For all Summer Day-Camps

Check-in begins at 9:00 at the camp location.
Pick up is between 3:30 and 3:45 for 6-16 year olds; between 1:00 and 1:15 for 3-6 year olds. (Please read section below about late pickups.) After camp care is available

What to Bring

  • Your child will be exploring in the woods and if all goes well, she or he will get dirty. Please dress your child in clothing that can get dirty and that is appropriate for the weather. (i.e. Sun hat, sunscreen, or raincoat. Layers are a good idea. Closed-toe shoes are highly encouraged.)
  • Nutritious lunch (no peanut products please, see allergy statement above) and snacks
  • Water in a refillable container (yes, water in addition to any other beverages)
  • A backpack (be sure your child can carry his/her belongings independently)
  • Age 9 and older only: Locking-blade pocket knife (optional). See About Knives to learn more.

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For Overnight Programs

Camp Little Bear

Camp Little Bear includes a one-night overnight on Thursday. We also have a community potluck on that Thursday evening. Please come to our Thursday Potluck promptly by 6pm with a dish to share and plates/cups/utensils for your family. We will meet you at the drop-off/pick-up location and walk you out to the picnic location which is also next to a large fire pit (where we’ll say goodbye to you as the kids transition into the nighttime routine around the fire).

What to Bring for the Camp Little Bear Thursday overnight

In addition to their usual day-camp items, they should also bring:

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Extra blankets if needed
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • Sleeping clothes to stay warm during their night in the shelter they build
  • Stuffed Animal if needed
  • Toiletries (children will be encouraged to brush their teeth)
  • Personal Medications (to be given to acting camp medical director)

Reminder: Camp Little Bear ends at Noon on Friday.

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Big Bear Village, Camp Artemis, Big Bear: Advanced

Drop-off and Pick Up for Big Bear Village:
Please drop you kids off at Big Bear Camp (directions) at 12:00pm on Sunday and come pick them up the following Friday at 6:00pm. At 6:00pm on the last day of camp (Friday) we will be having a family pot luck. We will be providing some food cooked by the campers primitively and you are welcome to bring whatever dish you like. There is no need to bring your own plates etc.

DUNE-geons and Dragons, and Backpacking the Backcountry

Drop-off and Pick-up for DUNE-geons and Dragons and Backpacking the Backcountry:
Please drop off your kids and their gear at the drop-off location by 9am on Monday. We will be hiring a bus to take us to our camping location. The Dunes trip will be camping at Eel Creek Campground on the Oregon Coast. The Backpacking trip will be camping in the Diamond Peak Wilderness. We will be returning Friday by 1pm in time for potluck. Pick up will be the same location as drop-off. If you need to contact us at any time during the week please call our office phone at 541-937-5437 and they will be happy to relay a message.

What to Bring for overnight camps (Big Bear Village, Camp Artemis, Big Bear: Advanced, DUNE-geons and Dragons):

Click here for a printable packing list for all overnight camps

  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Water Bottle (2 needed, but one will be given to you on camp arrival)
  • Toiletries (showers and bathrooms will be available)
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal Medications (to be given to camp medical director)
  • Day pack
  • Personal Snacks
  • Fixed blade knife (3-5 inch blade). (See About Knives)
  • Flashlight
  • And finally, clothing that can get dirty (earth tones preferred):
  • Long pants
  • Shorts
  • Swimsuit (please come wearing it under your clothes as we will have a water activity the day you arrive)
  • Hat
  • T-shirts
  • Socks (at least 1 pair wool)
  • Underwear
  • Warm jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Sunglasses
  • 2 pairs of shoes (one should be sandals or water shoes)
  • Bandana
  • Towel

Please leave at home:

  • Non-locking knives (i.e. Swiss army knives)
  • Electronics (iPod, DS, cell phone etc.) A dedicated camera is OK
  • Non-biodegradable soap or strong-scented cosmetics
  • Wristwatches
  • Lighters/Matches

What to bring for Backpacking the Backcountry:

Please remember that all your gear must be carried with you. Try to choose the lightest weight items and leave unnecessary items at home. Some extra gear may be available for use by students on a first-come, first-served basis. The first day of camp we will be thoroughly going through gear to ensure that students have exactly what they need.

  • Mummy-style Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad (closed cell foam pads are recommended)
  • Water Bottle (1L minimum, no glass)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Plastic spoon and bowl
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal Medications (to be given to camp medical director)
  • Large backpack (shoud be able to contain all your gear and leave some room to carry food)
  • Personal Snacks only (meals are provided)
  • Bug repellant
  • Fixed blade knife (3-5 inch blade). (See About Knives)
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Clothing (Please avoid cotton as much as possible–all clothing should be synthetic or wool):
  • Lightweight, breathable pants
  • Swimsuit (Shorts are a good dual purpose item for this)
  • Warm hat
  • lightweight, breathable shirt
  • 3 pairs socks (at least 1 pair wool)
  • At least 3 changes underwear
  • Warm jacket
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight comfortable walking shoes. Heavy boots are not recommended.
  • Bandana

Please leave at home:

  • Non-locking knives (i.e. Swiss army knives)
  • Electronics (iPod, DS, cell phone etc.) A dedicated camera is OK
  • Non-biodegradable soap or strong-scented cosmetics
  • Lighters/Matches

A Note About Camp

Our overnight camp programs, are an opportunity for teens to connect deeply with their natural environment, develop team skills, and begin to become self-sufficient adults. Participants in this camp will be expected to make and keep a set of group agreements for the week regarding behavior toward each other and our environment. We encourage campers to bring whatever is necessary to stay safe and comfortable but please leave at home anything that will distract from your interaction with your peers and natural environment. We also recognize that when teens get together in a new environment, hormones are likely to run high. We will take necessary measures to keep campers safe and appropriate, such as separating sleeping quarters and having same-gender instructors available in all groups but we also expect campers to maintain our trust by making good choices for themselves. In case of an emergency: Cell service is limited at the camp. If you have a true emergency and you need to get a hold of us call 541-937-5437. We may not be able to answer right away, however we will be checking the phone for messages twice a day. 

Diversity and Inclusion

We are dedicated to welcoming all students, regardless of race, culture, religion, sex, gender, or national origin. If your student needs extra support to feel welcome and supported at camp please contact us using the information at the bottom of this page so that we can work with you to find the best solutions. For example, we’d like to hear from non-cisgendered students about their needs prior to camp so that we can assure camp is a welcoming and inclusive place for all. Because of the wide variety of terrain at the site, students with physical limitations should contact us prior to registration so that we can make sure this camp will be able to serve your needs.


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FOREST Program

The FOREST Program consists of three different elements.

  1. Monthly all-student meetings
  2. The first Tuesday evening of each month all FOREST students will meet together. Meetings will be from 4:00PM-6:00PM starting September 5th. These monthly meetings will be an opportunity for students to share their learning and dirt time with other FOREST students. These meetings will also serve as planning sessions for upcoming activities.

  3. Weekly phone calls
  4. Students in the FOREST program will be asked to make weekly check-in phone calls to their mentors. Students will report their progress on Dirt Time assignments as well as share any exciting nature stories from the week. These phone calls are an essential part of the mentoring process and will help students keep on track with their dirt time at home. Parents are also encouraged to participate in dirt time with their kids.

  5. Monthly Field Excursions
  6. On the third Saturday of each month FOREST students will go on a day-long Field Excursion led by their clan mentor. These excursions will be custom designed by the mentors with input from all FOREST students. Three times per year FOREST excursions will be overnight trips. See the FOREST calendar for details.

We want parents to be able to support their students as best as possible. To support this we will be providing a parent training session at the beginning of the year. Look for an email scheduling this.


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Danger League

Danger League meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30-5:00pm. We will meet in room 2 and then proceed outside for the day.
Please bring to every session of Danger League:

  • A sense of Daring
  • Water Bottle
  • Comfortable shoes or boots that can get muddy and wet
  • Rain Gear
  • Snacks
  • Your Explorer’s Journal (will be provided)

Please leave behind:

  • Your fears
  • Knives (these will be provided when appropriate)

Danger League Cell Phone Use Policy
We encourage students to use their phones and other devices to take photos during the program. Phones can only be used for taking pictures and must be in kept in “Airplane mode” for the duration of the class.
All photos must be respectful of the subject.
The instructors may require that photos not be allowed during certain exercises. For instance, when taking photos will take away from the experience.
If policy is not followed then phones will be confiscated. They will only be returned directly to parents.

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Late Pickup Policy

We understand that sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances which could cause you to be late. We allow 15 minutes after the end of the camp for you to pick up your child without penalty. From 16-25 minutes late, we charge a flat fee of $5. For every additional minute after this, we charge $1 per minute. We do this in order to make every effort to support and compensate our instructors for the time they invest. We need our team leaders to be able to go home, rest, and return refreshed to care for your children the next day.

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Guidance and Discipline Policy

The foundation of the guidance and discipline policy at Whole Earth Nature School is to encourage positive behavior in the individual which will support a positive experience for everyone.

Whole Earth Nature School provides a supportive and nurturing environment where communication from each student is valued and encouraged. We create an environment where positive behavior is reinforced and where inappropriate behavior is not necessary. We remind students to use words to express what they want, what they need, and how they feel. We guide them to treat themselves and others with respect, and we facilitate verbal problem solving when students are in conflict.

We do reserve the right to remove kids from camp if their behavior endangers the physical or emotional safety of the other participants.

Please learn more about or Guidance and Discipline Policy by visiting our full Guidance and Discipline Policy page.

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