Saturday, February 9, 2013

Camp Bayou schedule

What's New at Camp Bayou?

Get ready for some outdoor educational fun at Camp Bayou in the next few weeks! Some activities planned at Camp Bayou include:

- Birding Walk for the Great Backyard Bird Count at 9am, Saturday, February 16. All ages welcome to walk the trails to try to spot all the bird life on the site in one hour. These numbers will be sent to Cornell University to include in their citizen science campaign to take a real-time snapshot of where the birds are. Free.

- Family Naturalist Hour starts at 9:30am on Saturday, March 2. Come out for a butterfly walk to count the butterflies along the trails and in the Butterfly Habitat. Data will be recorded for the Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network, All ages- Free.

- Camp Bayou will host the League of Environmental Educators in Florida (LEEF) mini-conference on Saturday, March 9. Whether you work in a school or park, homeschool your child or just have a love of the Florida outdoors and a passion for sharing your knowledge, consider registering for this event. For adults only- see registration for cost details.

- Light up the Night Hike starts at 7:30pm on Friday, March 15. Start by looking for the Comet Pan-STARRS in the evening sky, then hike- without flashlights- into the deepening darkness along the trails, ending at the campfire for s'mores and night sky stories. $5 donation requested per person; all ages; limited to 20 participants. Contact Dolly to register- 813-641-8545 or .

- Save the Date for the Spring Open House, Saturday, March 16 from 9am-1pm. Details to be announced but expect the usual outstanding schedule of activities, including trail walks, speakers, nature stations and crafts, information tables from local environmental organizations and the newest favorite game- cockroach races! Free admission.

These events are Be Out There!, Get Outdoors Florida, "Let's GO"- Children and Nature, No Child Left Inside, and Let's Move Outside inspired initiatives.

Camp Bayou is neither a campground nor a summer camp. It was an RV park before the County's ELAP program purchased the land but it is now open for day use only, open to the general public. Through volunteers, donations, membership and grants, the RCDF offers pre-scheduled programs to schools, youth groups, adult groups and families plus it's open from Thursday- Saturday from 9am-2pm for passive recreational pursuits such as wildlife watching, nature photography and trail walks. General admission is still FREE.

The Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public- private partnership between Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery, Inc. (BOLD), Ruskin Community Development Foundation, Inc. (RCDF) and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation. Camp Bayou is located 3 miles south of SR674 at the end of 24th St SE in Ruskin. More information is on the web at or call 813-641-8545.

Pictured: Dr. George releases the racers at the first cockroach races held at the Fall Open House. Who will win this time?
Photo credit: Becki Stafford

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