HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi.
The Lake Thoreau Environmental Center at The University of Southern Mississippi is hosting three week-long camps next month as a means of helping kids establish a closer connection with nature.
Camps director and Southern Miss biology professor Mike Davis notes that participants can acquire physical and psychological benefits from the various activities associated with the camps.
"Each year the average child spends less time outdoors and more time engaged with electronic devices," said Davis. "We seek to help them find ways to get out and enjoy nature that will allow them to disconnect with technology. With that in mind, we also look for ways to teach children how to use technology to form closer ties with nature. We use various apps to teach them animal calls, how to identify plants, to understand weather patterns, and to identify soil types."
The three camps include:
River Camp I – July 11-15 for rising 3rd-6th graders.
River Camp II – July 18-22 for rising 7th-9th graders.
Longleaf Camp – July 25-29 for rising 3rd-6th graders
In the two river camps, participants will learn about the singing river of south Mississippi -- the Pascagoula Watershed. Students will explore the headwaters of the Pascagoula watershed including the headwaters at Lake Thoreau, Black Creek, Leaf River, and the Pascagoula River itself as it flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Campers will spend several days traveling to unique habitats surrounding the Pascagoula watershed, interact with some of the flora and fauna that rely on it, as well as explore the important ecological relationships that connect this watershed to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The Longleaf Camp explores the longleaf pine ecosystem which is the most diverse ecosystem in the northern temperate hemisphere. Among the many field trips is a visit to the Chickasawhay District of the De Soto National Forest to learn about the importance of fire, while searching for threatened and endangered species such as gopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpeckers.
The Lake Thoreau Environmental Center is an approximately 300-acre nature preserve operated by the Department of Biological Sciences at Southern Miss. The center is rich in history and culture, with a strong focus on education, research, conservation and recreation.
To learn more about the summer camps, or to register, click here.