Boston Nature Center Camps | About Camp

Campers playing on hill behind BNC

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Our Philosophy


We believe camp is a place where children can grow as individuals, spend quality time outdoors, and have a fun summer experience. Through engaging activities, free play, and wonderful camp traditions, children learn about themselves and others while having a great time. Our core camp values include:

Connect to Nature

Spending quality time outdoors teaching children about the world around them fosters a deep, life-long connection to nature.

Science Outdoors

Through a nature-based science curriculum, children learn and practice science skills such as critical thinking, creativity, communication, and environmental literacy in a real-world setting.

Play for All Ages

Children and young adults learn and relax by playing and participating in fun and age-appropriate activities. Play fosters independence, imagination, and socialization.

Building Strong Children

Building friendships, discovering new interests, and trying new activities nurture children’s social, emotional, and physical growth.

A Community at Camp

To create a safe and inclusive camp atmosphere, we foster a camp staff that is diverse, well-trained, and passionate about sharing its enthusiasm for nature and knowledge with children.


A Day at Camp

No two days at Boston Nature Center Camp are alike, but this sample schedule gives an overview of daily activities and flow.


7:30–8:30 am

Before Camp Program (Optional)

Campers can choose from a number of quiet activities, including board games, cards, or birdwatching using our binoculars. Registration required.

8:30–9:30 am

Camper Drop-Off & Choice Time

Campers can play a variety of board games, relax and read a book, create a nature-inspired art project, head outside to play tag or soccer, or spend time in the Nature Nook making mud pies and building forts, or go wherever their imaginations take them.

9:30–10:00 am

Morning Circle

The whole camp starts the day together at Morning Circle. We sing songs, tell silly jokes, and do stretches to get ready for a full day of nature exploration.

10:00 am–12:30 pm

Nature Exploration

Campers explore the week’s theme through a nature-based, age-appropriate curriculum. In small groups they venture out for activities like hiking, gardening, dramatic play, meadow sweeping, designing scientific experiments, building solar ovens, and more. Every week includes elements of art, literacy, and math.

12:30–1:00 pm

Lunch

1:00–3:30 pm

Nature Exploration

Campers continue to explore the week’s theme through a nature-based, age-appropriate curriculum. In small groups they venture out for activities like hiking, gardening, dramatic play, meadow sweeping, designing scientific experiments, building solar ovens, and more. Every week includes elements of art, literacy, and math. 

3:45–4:00 pm

Afternoon Blob

Camp comes together under the Shade Tree to share notes on interesting nature sightings of the day, sing songs, and hear camp announcements.

4:00–5:00 pm

Camper Choice Time

Campers continue to learn about the theme of the week through nature games, specialized art projects, and gardening.

5:00–5:30 pm

Camper Pick-up

Families can pick up campers any time between 5:00–5:30 pm.

5:30–6:30 pm

After Camp Program (Optional)

Campers can choose from a number of quiet activities including board games and cards, or visit with the BNC’s educational animals. Registration is required; not available for sessions at Roxbury Latin.


Camp Staff


Well-trained counselors and junior counselors build a safe and supportive atmosphere where campers can learn, have fun, and share in the joy and excitement of the outdoors. Low counselor-to-camper ratios ensure that children stay safe and are engaged with role models who are creative, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic.

We hire a diverse staff, many members of whom are in college or have graduated with an environmental or education degree. We also hire high school students who are former campers and teens from our Youth Leaders Internship Program to act as junior counselors. We look for counselors who have experience working with children, who are caring and compassionate, and who will join in the fun and silly atmosphere of camp. All staff must pass background checks and receive training in safety, child development, and nature study. Camp staff are certified in First Aid and CPR.

Junior counselors receive additional training through the Counselors-in-Training program or BNC’s Youth Leaders program. They are at least 16 years of age and are partnered with and directly supervised by camp counselors.

Camp Director - Mattapan

Kim Baker (she/her) joined the Boston Nature Center in 2013 as assistant camp director and fell in love with the amazing camp community. In addition to her role as camp director, she is an education coordinator at BNC and works during the school year with the Boston Environmental Schools Initiative Program (BSEI) to support, mentor, and coach Boston Public School teachers with environmental education curriculum integration. Prior to joining Mass Audubon, Kim worked in urban environmental education outreach in New York, Western Massachusetts, and Connecticut. She holds a Master of Science in environmental education and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies.

Camp Director - West Roxbury

Jamie Semel (she/her) joined the Boston Nature Center in 2019 and immediately felt inspired by the energy of the BNC community. She served as the Community Engagement and Youth Education TerraCorps member at the BNC from 2020–2021, when she began her role working on partnerships with Boston Public Libraries, the Dot Rx community health program, and supporting camp and education programs. Prior to joining Mass Audubon, she worked in environmental camp programs both in Massachusetts and California. She studied Environmental Studies and Theater Arts at Brandeis University and is excited to spend the summer at Roxbury Latin School. 


Camp Handbook


The Camp Handbook packet contains important information for families, including drop-off and pick-up instructions, health and safety procedures, packing lists, and more. Please be sure to read this prior to the start of your camper’s first session.

The 2023 Camp Handbook will be available for download in spring 2023.


Credentials


Camp License

Our camp complies with the regulations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (105 CMR 430) and is licensed by the Boston Board of Health.

American Camp Association (ACA) Accreditation

We are proud to be accredited by the American Camp Association. Developed exclusively for the camp industry, this nationally recognized program focuses on program quality, health and safety, management, and camp operations.

Camp Policy Requests

You may request copies of our background check, health care, discipline, bullying, and grievance policies at any time. Request copies of our policies >


What Others Are Saying . . .

"Every day he came home telling us about bird beaks and wings, how lightning works, and all about different animal habitats (loved hearing him using new words like that)." —Camp Family

"I can't say enough about how much my child and I love BNC. It's the most supportive, accepting, educational, and FUN camp experience ever! Highly, highly recommend." —Camp Family