Over 40 local children immersed themselves in nature and agriculture for three days as a part of Discovery Camp.
Discovery camp is an annual field trip series hosted by Carnegie Public Library and Fayette Soil &Water Conservation District to encourage kids to get outside. This year, the Fayette County Farm Bureau and the Conservation District provided funding, as well as the programming for the Persinger Farm field trip and the Hughes Farm.
The first field trip of Discovery Camp was a tour of the farm of John and Debbie Persinger. The Persingers mostly farm grain and also have cattle. Campers were treated to tours of farm equipment and cattle pastures, and had informative lessons about soybeans and corn. Crafts were made by painting bubble wrap to look like corn, and by gluing grains to a wooden panel. After a picnic lunch, children were challenged in the farm obstacle course.
“My favorite part was jumping over the fence and the round bales,” said camper Jared Rivera, who completed the obstacle course multiple times.
Campers and their families were invited to spend the next evening at the Fayette Fish and Game building, grilling out and listening to the songs and stories of Steve Free. Free, an award-winning recording artist, taught the words and rhythms of the Shawnee Indians in an interactive concert.
Discovery Camp’s second field trip was to visit the home of Randy and Monique Hughes, a farm with several conservation practices in place. Children learned about tree planting and wetlands. Sessions were held to teach about duck identification, prairie plants, muskrats and beavers, and dragonflies. Throughout the day, campers kept a “bio-blitz,” which means they wrote a list of as many species of animals that can be found on the farm as they could. Discoveries ranged from deer tracks, all the way to tiny dragonfly larvae found in the creek.
“My favorite part was catching the bugs,” said Kentaro Yamazaki. Kentaro also captured a young toad.
Carnegie Public Library, Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District and the Fayette County Farm Bureau thank the generous families who hosted the events, Fayette Fish and Game for hosting Mr. Free, and Miami Trace for providing transportation. The fourth-annual Discovery Camp will be announced at the library in summer 2020.