The Arkansas Audubon Society Halberg Ecology Camp is held each June at Camp Clearfork, a U.S. Forest Service camp between Hot Springs and Mt. Ida. In 2001 the camp added a second annual session with each June session having capacity for up to 50 first-year campers who have just completed the 5th or 6th grades and 12 second-year campers. First-year campers experience a variety of subjects including ornithology, aquatic biology, mammalogy, entomology, geology and herpetology. Second-year campers study advanced ecology.
The camp students arrive on Sunday afternoon and leave Friday morning. So what happens in between? The staff includes a director, assistant director and a teaching staff of 12 instructors (including several with Ph.D.s). Two instructors work as a teaching team with a group of 8-10 youth. Instructors are college and high school natural science teachers along with self-taught naturalists. Also on staff are a full-time registered nurse plus an activities director to coordinate recreational activities. The kitchen staff prepares nutritious food that also tastes good! We get a lot of positive comments from camp students about the food before they leave.
A typical day for campers would include early morning walks (to identify birds and other critters out early in the day), breakfast in the dining hall, both indoor and outdoor hands-on classes, recreation including a lake with canoes and swimming in late afternoon and then a common evening meal in the dining hall followed by a guest speaker. Evening programs include wildlife rehabilitators, folk musicians (who happen to also teach ornithology one week!) and others.
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