Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
A boardwalk cutting through tall green shrubs and trees.
Boston Nature Center, Mattapan

About Boston Nature Center Camps

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. 

BNC Camp Values

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.

  • Campers at Boston Nature Center standing in a large circle on the lawn behind the nature center
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • Campers at Boston Nature Center peer inside a shoe box-sized terrarium while seated at a picnic table outside the nature center
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • Three campers at Boston Nature Center Camp pose with arms around each other's shoulders, smiling in front of the nature center
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • A counselor and CIT with arms around each other walking through the sanctuary's pollinator garden, filled with native wildflowers
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • A camper at Boston Nature Center Camp selects a picture book about dinosaurs from a table covered with books to choose from
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • Campers at Boston Nature Center Camp wearing face masks get an up-close look at Sammy the Snake as it stretches up the inside of its glass enclosure
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • Campers at Boston Nature Center Camp touch a raised, tactile display depicting a garter snake under a rock
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • A group of campers at Boston Nature Center Camp and their counselors walk along a shady trail on a hike
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • Counselors and CITs wearing blue and green Mass Audubon Camps staff shirts pose for a group photo
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • A smiling camper at Boston Nature Center Camp holding a bird's nest
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • Four campers at Boston Nature Center Camp smiling and posing for a photo; one is holding a pink water bottle and other has a blue plush lizard
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • A group of BNC Camp teens seated around their counselor who is wearing a blue Mass Audubon Camps staff shirt
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan
  • A counselor-in-training at Boston Nature Center Camp shows a camper a small bunch of conifer needles
    Boston Nature Center Camp, Mattapan

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

At Mass Audubon Camps, we strive to create a safe, inclusive, and caring camp environment where each person is respected and supported in their learning and growth. We believe that diversity—both in nature and in our human communities—is essential to strength, resilience, and innovation, and we are committed to recognizing the unique contributions of each community member. 

To learn more about how Mass Audubon respects and embraces our campers’ and staff’s unique identities and needs, please review our Gender Inclusion at Camp policies and procedures.


Mass Audubon is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity and inclusion to ensure that everyone can participate fully in the magic of our nature programs.  As an outdoor, nature-based program, it is important that families of children who have disabilities understand Mass Audubon’s expectations, programs, and terrain prior to enrolling. 

If your child requires accommodations, please contact the camp director as soon as possible; a delay in request could have the unintended consequence of disrupting your child’s Mass Audubon camp experience.

Learn more about Accommodations and Behavior Expectations at Camp


Due to the outdoor and exploratory nature of our camp program, campers will be moving on uneven terrain throughout the day. The terrain at our sites varies from hard-packed, gently sloped paths to steeper, uneven trails that may have exposed rocks, tree roots, and other obstacles. Additionally, weather conditions could affect our trails’ conditions. 

We encourage all families to visit the sanctuary prior to enrolling to understand its unique terrain. 

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 several quiet activities, including board games, cards, or birdwatching using our binoculars. Pre-registration required.

8:30–9:30 am: Camper Drop-Off & Choice Time

Counselors welcome campers and help them decide which activity to try during this supervised, free choice time. Campers can pick from indoor choices like board games or nature-inspired art projects, or they can head outside to spend time in the Nature Nook making mud pies and building forts. 

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 Activities

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, nature journaling, and more. Every week includes elements of art, literacy, and math.

12:30–2:00 pm: Lunch & Recess

2:00–3:30 pm: Nature Exploration Activities

Campers continue to explore the week’s theme through a nature-based, age-appropriate curriculum. In their camp groups they reinforce concepts about the nature theme of the week through special art projects, scientific demonstrations, and games. 

3:45–4:00 pm: Afternoon Blob

The whole camp comes together to share Nature Notes from the day, sing more songs, and share what they have learned during their day.

4:00–5:00 pm: Camper Choice Time

Campers can choose if they would like to spend the afternoon relaxing and reading a book, creating beautiful art projects, playing board games with friends, or running around outside in nature.

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 several quiet activities including board games and cards, or visit with the BNC’s educational animals. Pre-registration is required; not available for sessions at Hyde Park.

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 Willow Tree Youth Leaders Program to act as assistant day camp 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. Assistant day camp counselors receive additional training through the Counselors-in-Training program or BNC’s Willow Tree Youth Leaders program. They are at least 16 years of age and are partnered with and directly supervised by camp counselors.

Camp Leadership Team

Camp Director Kim Baker

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 on adult public programming. 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, Mattapan: Kathryn Galante

Kathryn Galante (she/her) joined Boston Nature Center in 2017 as one of the Willow Tree Youth Leader teen interns, where she began to learn about environmental education. During this program, she was introduced to the camp community through her experiences as an assistant counselor and camp educator. Kathryn continued to work at BNC throughout her time in college as a substitute teacher in the preschool and public programming. Kathryn received her Bachelor's degree in 2023 in Elementary Education and Moderate Disabilities from University of Massachusetts Lowell and is certified for Pre-K–Grade 8. She is currently working as a preschool teacher at the BNC while working on her postgraduate degrees in Special Education and Education Administration from Bridgewater State University. Going into her seventh summer with Camp BNC, Kathryn is looking forward to working in nature with kiddos, and hopefully finding some salamanders and frogs! 

Camp Director, Hyde Park: Jamie Semel

Jamie Semel (she/her) joined the Boston Nature Center in 2019 and feels so lucky to work with this wonderful and passionate 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 exploring nature with campers in Hyde Park. 

Boston Regional Director: Erin Kelly

Erin Kelly (she/her) has been supervising Boston Nature Center (BNC) Summer Camp for more than ten years, before which she was Camp Director at sleepaway camps in New York and Connecticut. Erin fell in love with camp as a child in New Jersey, and her passion grew over the years as she transitioned from Counselor, to Waterfront Director, to Program Director, to Assistant Director, and finally, to Camp Director. As Boston’s Regional Director , Erin uses her camp experience, combined with 15 years of outdoor environmental education experience, to design programs that meet the needs of urban audiences. Erin earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and an Master of Science in Environmental Education from Antioch University New England. She is also a Certified Preschool Director.

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 2024 camp handbook will be available soon.

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.


We are proud to be accredited by the American Camp Association, a nationally recognized program focused on program quality, safety, and management.

Camp Policy Requests

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

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