Mullinex Ridge Elementary students at YMCA Camp Seymour

Mullinex Ridge Elementary students receive hands-on environmental education at YMCA Camp Seymour. - Courtesy photo
Mullinex Ridge Elementary students receive hands-on environmental education at YMCA Camp Seymour.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Kedron DeGroot studied marine ecosystems, sea creatures and their impact on the environment Nov. 7-9.  DeGroot and his teacher Meg Bidwell-Klein visited YMCA Camp Seymour on the Key Peninsula with his sixth grade class from Mullinex Ridge as part of the camp’s Outdoor Environmental Education program.

Degroot liked spending time with the reptiles, where he got to experience animals that he would never get to see in the normal classroom.  He felt that camp is important because it “reaches out to kids who aren’t in the Y, showing them the values and what they mean.”  Learning new things, especially in the camp setting is an important part of camp.

The 88 students spent three days overnight at Camp Seymour learning about the outdoors and their impact on our environment through the camp’s education program, which enhances the Washington State Essential Learning Standards. Accompanied by volunteer chaperones, teachers and classmates, students participated in canoeing, the climbing wall, squid dissection and marine science.

Meg Bidwell-Klein brought her students to Camp Seymour to emphasize community building and experience an engaging learning environment. Bidwell-Klein brought her sixth grade class to the program for the first time in 2006.

“Hands-on experiential education meets students’ needs on so many levels,” say Becca and Scott Gjertson, Outdoor Environmental Education Directors. “Kids need opportunities to be and learn outside. YMCA Camp Seymour offers a wide variety of classes from Marine Science with touch tanks and a live Reptiles class to Canoeing on Puget Sound. Students really enjoy the hands-on lessons.”

Seymour occupies 180 acres and a half mile of shoreline on the Key Peninsula, 30 minutes from Tacoma. This education program introduces a variety of environmental topics like water quality and treatment, preserving the forest, understanding what lives in the Puget Sound, and responsibly enjoying the outdoors. YMCA staff naturalists come from across the country to share their knowledge and enthusiasm when teaching classes. The program serves over 9,000 participants from 106 different schools.



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