We are increasing our efforts this year to establish some new ways that can bring environmentalism to the center of what we do day-to-day. Each program is looking at ways to reduce waste and educate others about important environmental issues, including how we can all work together to heal the planet. Continue reading to learn more.

Camp Si-La-Meo provides nature and outdoor living programs to campers daily, where we practice and teach environmental awareness and conservation. We host a weekly camp clean up competition while explaining and teaching the importance of environmental stewardship. We feel that having this awareness and acting on it preserves the land we use and exemplifies environmental conservation for our youth and the community. Teaching counselors and campers early on to stay on the trails helps preserve the natural land and also fosters respect for local wildlife and habitats.

Camp K is a great escape into the wilderness, where there are less people, less cars, and, consequentially, less waste. It is an opportunity for kids to spend multiple days in an outdoor setting, which is not a frequent experience for many campers. We teach our campers to “leave no trace” on their very first day of camp—this philosophy is the idea that when spending time in nature, one should leave the areas they touch as they found them, if not better. Alongside this philosophy, Camp K gives all campers the opportunity to engage in outdoor skills like fire building, navigation challenges, and overnight tent camping to give young people the confidence they need in order to begin a deep connection and relationship to the natural world. One new camp session this year is Expedition Halibut Cove, which we are super excited about because it will be a much more challenging outdoor session for more experienced campers to build and practice their skillset even more!

The Rural Alaska Program is providing activity kits to youth, teens, families and Elders. This year, one of the activities encourages participants to make seed balls and distribute them in their community. Seed balls are seeds that are wrapped in soil and then dried. This process protects the seeds while simultaneously creating some initial nutrients to grow when they are introduced outside. Youth and teens throw the seed balls in areas where these berries or plants can grow, which will help with sustainability. One activity encourages participants to take seeds from the berries they collect and then return seed balls to the berry patches used each season. Additional seed balls can help spread pollinators’ favorite flowers such as nasturtiums, fireweed, fuschia, honeysuckle, bee balm, and sage.

During Summer Adventure Camp, we will be gardening, going on educational insect hunts, learning how to leave no trace, and even going on walking field trips to look at new outdoor environments around our city. Important environmental teachings will be around what resources we have access to from the earth, how those resources can help sustain our communities, and what we can do to help take care of those resources for the future. We will also be practicing “reduce, reuse, and recycle” all summer!

Our Before and After School Programs for the upcoming school year, will offer at least two nature or environmental focused activities a week in addition to spending time outside each day. Even though winters can be cold and it’s harder to get outside, we are going to explore the joys of winter activities like sledding, building snow sculptures, and more. In addition to what our youth can experience in our program, we will also be working hard to reduce, reuse, and recycle in all that we do.

We can’t wait to share these opportunities with everyone who engages in our programs this year. One thing to keep in mind is that there is always more we can do to lessen our footprint. Camp Fire Alaska is committed to continuing this work into the future to improve the lives of others in our community, throughout the state, and all over the world.