The Environmental Resource Center in Ketchum has again organized two week-long camps for area youths this summer.

    The EcoCamps, as they are called, are the only “overnight, experiential learning” excursions of that duration offered in the Wood River Valley.

    Much like the ERC’s mission to be a “catalyst for sustainable living,” the camps, first offered in 2005, are designed to foster interest in and commitment to the natural world, and ultimately to nurture in children their responsibilities to the community and its environs as ecological stewards.

    The first of the camps, called the Environmental Outdoor Adventure EcoCamp: Exploring Wild Idaho, is aimed at fifth- and sixth-graders. It will begin June 27 and run through July 1. It is being billed as “five days of exploration and creative adventure” during which campers will engage in crafts, games, hiking and an overnight trip in order to better connect with the area’s flora and fauna, and to enrich their sense of “place.”

    Older students, in grades seven to nine specifically, have the opportunity to attend the Environmental Outdoor Leadership EcoCamp: Traversing the Backcountry, which will transpire July 11-15. Like in the Adventure EcoCamp, campers will be immersed in the natural environment, but with greater responsibility and leadership expectations. Campers will learn “fundamental backcountry skills,” including orienteering, decision-making, Leave No Trace principles and environmental ethics to gain confidence in and a deeper appreciation of the great outdoors.

    The Leadership EcoCamp will also include an overnight backpacking trip into the Pioneer Mountains.    

    Both programs cost $550 per camper and will be hosted by Idaho BaseCamp, a nonprofit organization and facility located over Trail Creek Summit on thirteen acres beside the Big Lost River.

    Registration for the camps is now open and scholarships are available.

    For more information, visit www.ercsv.org/youth-education/ecocamp/ or contact ERC Executive Director Hadley DeBree at 726-4333.

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