So far this week I have been involved with Camp Green I at Greenacres. This camp is marketed as a way to get children aged 6-13 outside through hikes, outdoor games, and farm fun!
Today, campers hiked to the Shawnee and Delaware ponds to kick off their last farm filled day of camp this week. At Shawnee Pond, hot dogs and corn were supplied as bait, while cane poles were used as fishing rods. Many campers had never fished before, yet their first attempt was a roaring success. Soon after baiting their hooks, campers would observe the water moving and bobbers disappearing. With a swift pull upwards a fish would rise out of the water on the end of their cane poles. Campers mainly caught bluegill and small bass, but some lucky campers caught one very large catfish and a turtle! All fish and turtles were safely removed from the hooks and returned to the pond.
After fishing, campers enjoyed a short nature walk around Delaware Pond. While on their walk, campers observed bull frogs, green frogs, and some small toads called “toadlettes” by the staff.
Additionally, a staff member found a Spicebush Caterpillar in the fourth instar stage. The Spicebush caterpillar is a caterpillar with fake eyes, scientifically known as mimicry. In this instance, the Spicebush caterpillars are attempting to mimic a green snake head to avoid predation by birds. Eventually, these caterpillars will turn into Black Swallowtail Butterflies.
After a relaxing picnic lunch, campers and staff embarked on a longer hike to the Greenacres farm store to observe farm animals. Upon arrival, the campers were greeted by two agricultural staff (Jonathan and Brooks) who were in the process of shearing sheep. Jonathan stated that it normally takes him approximately 40 minutes to shear a single ewe, but that sheep farmers in New Zealand can shear a sheep in 40 seconds. The ewes at Greenacres are about to lamb, therefore they are being shorn to aid in lamb delivery. Additionally, temperatures in Cincinnati have reached over 90 degrees Fahrenheit this week, so it probably feels nice for the sheep to remove all the wool.
In addition to sheep, campers saw the Greenacres chicken tractor in action at the farm store. As mentioned in my Chickens 101 post, Greenacres uses a mobile chicken coop to ensure chickens on a free range diet obtain all their needed nutrients. To learn more about chickens check out my previous blog post Chickens 101.