Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has announced an innovative alternative to its onsite signature summer camps this year. “We’re calling it the CMBG Summer Camp Club,” says Erika Huber, Youth & Family Program Coordinator. Like the ongoing “CMBG at Home” initiative, the Summer Camp Club will give “campers” a chance to experience summer at the Gardens.
“Even though our in-person summer camps aren’t taking place this year, we still want children to have a memorable summer at the Gardens,” says Huber. “By signing up to be part of the club, campers will receive four or eight weeks of summer camp experiences.”
Those experiences, which include topics like the life cycle of plants, pollinators, bugs, garden and forest food webs, wetlands, and solar power, will be self-guided and take place both at the Gardens and at campers’ homes. Clues for scavenger hunts, themed activities and games, experiments, art projects and recipes made with ingredients harvested at the Gardens are just a few of the activities on offer.
“Camp” begins the week of June 29, and participants will pick up their first activities at the Gardens’ Visitor Center. After that, new activities and supplies will be available each week. If participants need more flexibility, they can choose different start dates, pick up multiple weeks’ activities, or condense the program into fewer weeks. “Each week’s supplies will be packed in compliance with CDC health and safety protocols,” Huber adds.
Each camper will receive a special, reusable bag to keep filled with tools like binoculars, magnifying glasses, bug jars, books and guides, art kits, and even a jar of honey from the Gardens’ bees. Upon completion of each week’s activities, campers will receive a patch to add to their bags. After completing the entire program, campers will receive a locally made camp T-shirt.
“We would love local families to enjoy the benefits of Summer Camp Club,” adds Director of Philanthropy Jen McKane. “If they’re not already members, Lincoln County families who participate in the Club can request financial assistance to cover the cost of a family membership for one year.” This will not cover the Camp Club program fee, but it will give families free admission to the Gardens. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first served basis.
Those interested in the CMBG Summer Camp Club can find more information by visiting MaineGardens.org or calling 633-8000. Those interested in the family membership scholarship can contact Jen McKane (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Director of Education, Daniel Ungier (email@example.com).