For Registered Campers:

Wetlands & Woodlands summer camps are fun, hands-on learning adventures for children ages 5 to 13. We encourage campers to develop a greater understanding, appreciation of, and respect for God’s amazing creation. Our camps provide a comfortable and safe learning environment where campers become immersed in the outdoors.

All camps and wait lists are now full.

For Registered Campers: Welcome letters are sent two weeks prior to camp starting. Required forms must be returned to Jeanette Henderson by (but preferably before) the first day of camp, or we will be unable to admit your child.

Camps for 5-8 YO
Camps for 9-13 YO
COVID-19 Info

2021 Camp Themes

Creepy Crawlies

Learn about Michigan animals that creep, slither, and wiggle in a safe and fun way. Animals we will study include armored crawlers (millipedes, centipedes & sow bugs), small but mighty ants, slimy movers (slugs & worms) and silky spinners (spiders & their webs). Activities to look forward to include slug hunts, observing creepy crawlies up close, racing worms, and becoming a part of an ant colony.

Web of Life

Discover that everything in life is connected as we see how energy flows through a food chain. From grass to the top predator, God provides all of Creation with their basic needs. Topics we will study include food factories (sun power and plants), herbivores (grasshoppers and crickets), carnivores (snakes), and the web of life (food chains and food webs). Activities will include making sun prints, observing live grasshoppers and snakes, and exploring the Preserve’s forests and fields.

Camp Schedule

For 5-8 year olds (entering kindergarten to third grade)

This camp is designed to introduce very young scientists to Michigan’s flora and fauna through outdoor exploration. Using our theme of the week, campers will learn about the animals and plants that live in our forests, wetlands and gardens in a hands-on, feet-in way! With activities appropriate for this curious and excitable age group, campers will discover more about their world and their Creator as they spend time exploring the preserve. Daily activities may include: nature art projects, reading storybooks, music, games, short experiments, critter devotions, and helping hands service learning projects. The session fee covers nature art project materials, lots of individual attention, discovery take home sheets, and loads of fun. Adult/student ratio is 1:8 (limit 24 participants per session). Please note in 2021 we will not be able to hold family nights.

Session 1: June 14-18, 2021 Mon-Fri 9 am - 12 pm Creepy Crawlies $110
Session 2: June 21-25, 2021 Mon-Fri 9 am - 12 pm Creepy Crawlies $110
Session 3: July 5-9, 2021 Mon-Fri 9 am - 12 pm Web of Life $110
Session 4: July 12-16, 2021 Mon-Fri 9 am - 12 pm Web of Life $110

If you are considering registering an 11 year old child for both Jr. Naturalist Club and Picturing Place, please note that some of the content related to botany will overlap.

Jr. Naturalist Club for 9-11 Year Olds (entering grades 4-6)

The topics we will study this summer are botany (study of plants), entomology (study of insects), and ecology (study of interactions among organisms and their environment). In addition, campers will learn how to become Citizen Scientists and participate in a service learning project using this knowledge.

This camp is designed to engage campers with a strong interest in learning more about a variety of different science fields. Campers will spend time doing various activities related to each field of science, including: explore the preserve, conduct small experiments, journal and sketch, participate in preserve research and service learning activities, create nature art projects, and meet scientists and conservation professionals who work in the different fields (when applicable). On Friday, campers have the opportunity to hike through the wildlife refuge of the preserve and play capture the flag, or participate in our team building orienteering course. The session fee covers materials for activities and experiments, nature art project materials, lots of individual attention, and loads of fun. Campers are responsible for bringing their own sack lunches. Camp runs Monday to Friday. Adult/student ratio is 1:12 (limit 24 participants). Please note in 2021 we will not be able to take a field trip.

Session 5: Jul 26-30, 2021 9 am - 3 pm Jr. Naturalist Club $195

Picturing Place for 11-13 Year Olds (entering grades 6-8)

Instructors: Jennifer Steensma Hoag, Calvin Art Professor & Professional Photographer | Jeanette M. Henderson, Program Manager

Students are invited to view the world through the lens of science and art in this unique camp. Scientists and naturalists use a variety of visual works such as sketching, photos, herbarium sheets, photograms, and printing in their field studies to record, preserve, and document species and information. Using our native gardens as our laboratory, campers will explore these techniques in combination with learning the fundamentals of digital photography and botany (study of plants). Campers will work in groups through a variety of team building exercises and photography projects. Our desire is that the students will learn to see God's Creation with intelligence and that at the end of the week they will have a greater sense of the place they live in and call home. The week will culminate in a collective group art show. All equipment and materials are provided. Campers are responsible for bringing their own sack lunches. Camp runs Monday to Friday. Adult/student ratio is 1:9 (limit 18 participants).

Session 6: Aug 2-6, 2021 9 am - 3 pm Picturing Place $225

COVID-19 Safety Protocols

In accordance with the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and consultation with Calvin’s health and safety staff, we are making adjustments to our camp operations to give both our campers and staff a safe and enjoyable experience this coming summer. We reserve the right to adapt camp offerings as needed in light of ever-changing protocols and policies. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Jeanette Henderson at jmh46@calvin or 616-526-7601.

Face Covering Policy

At this time, masks are not required.

Health Screening

At this time, screenings are not required.

Changes to Camp Offerings

If you have attended our camps before, you may notice family nights, fieldtrips for Jr. Naturalist camps, and sessions for 4 year olds are not being offered this season. We have determined that these camp activities pose safety and staffing challenges. Paper plates will be awarded during small group sessions on Fridays during camp time. For Jr. Naturalist camp, we are offering an extra topic for the week in place of the off-campus field trip.

To facilitate physical distancing, this summer we will be spending even more time outdoors as the Venema Plaza and Gardens will be transformed into our camp headquarters. With this mind, please dress campers so they are comfortable and safe while being in a variety of weather conditions (very sunny and warm to light rain).

Stay Tuned for More Information

Additional information will be provided in our Summer Camp Information Guide which will be e-mailed to you before camp and posted on our website. This will be a living document and updated as COVID safety policies and protocols change, so check the website for the most up-to-date information.

Other Summer Camps at Calvin University

Various departments at Calvin offer a variety of other summer camps for students ages 4-18 years old. Visit Camps at Calvin to find out more.



To see more of Wetlands & Woodlands, you’ll find our summer camp albums on Facebook.