Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ski and Snowshoe Rental Information for 2013-2014 Outdoor Season!

It's hard to believe that the season for skiing and snowshoeing will soon be upon us! Here are our rates for equipment use for the 2013-2014 season:

Ski rental package--skis, boots, poles:
$5/day (pick up and drop off same day)

$10/weekend (pick up Friday, return Monday
$15/week (7 days beginning as desired)

Snowshoe rental: snowshoes and poles.  Individuals use own snowboots:
$5/day (pick up and drop off same day)

$15/week (7 days beginning as desired)

A $20 deposit must be made for each pair of skis or snowshoes rented.  The deposit will be returned upon the return of undamaged equipment.

A $5 late fee will be charged per day if not returned upon agreed-upon date

Fees may be paid in the camp office Monday-Friday

A minimum of 3" of snow is necessary to properly use and care for equipment.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

SELC Field Trip: Pro Kinship, New Ulm, MN

It was a blustery, chilly day on October 19th, but that didn't stop 24 kids and their families from enjoying environmental education activities together! Riverside Park was a beautiful park located in New Ulm right on the Minnesota River.  The scenery was gorgeous, as the river was low and we could see the different levels of vegetation and sediments left behind as the river moves through the area!

Right away we read a book on animal adaptations to set the tone for what we were going to be learning about during the field trip. We then played Thicket, which is a hide-and-seek game designed to teach kids about animal adaptations such as stillness and good camouflage. I had bracketed out about an hour to play this game, but the kids played round after round, getting better at hiding (and seeking!) as the morning went.  The kicker is that the seeker cannot move, but the hiders must have both of their eyes on the seeker at all times (lest Katie come find you and drag you out of your hiding spot for cheating :) ).  After Thicket was done we did an Autumn Colors hunt--the kids found different nature items in varied colors and we made a beautiful color wheel with the examples they found.  After the hunt we played Hunger Games--a game that teaches kids about food chains and adaptations (quickly freezing when a predator is near, running fast, gathering/caching food).

The rain started coming down as we were finishing up Hunger Games, so we went inside the beautiful Riverside museum, which houses a number of specimens of furs, skeletons, shells, preserved animals, environmental education information, gifts, and more.  The kids were allowed to be fully hands-on, which is so cool and such a luxury--it's how kids learn best! We ate lunch and then I taught a teaching kit called The Scoop on Poop--so fun to have the kids and their families guess the types of poop I left out on a poop hunt! We had one group that got 5/6 correct, and we laughed over how real my latex samples looked.  The rain quit shortly after so we went outside and started our ABC scavenger hunt--finding examples of things starting with each letter of the alphabet in nature. They did a great job! Next was leaf painting and Tree ID, where the kids painted/pressed leaves, then ID'd them with guidebooks.

The kids begged to play Thicket one more time, which ended the day on a fun note.  They had so much fun and at the last round, the winner hid himself among all the students and was not picked up by the a school of fish, hiding in the midst of one's own species! Loved it! Another kid laid his jacket out to look like he was in one spot, then hid in another! Smart kids!!

When the day was through, I visited briefly with a family who own a pet raccoon named Charlie :) So cute, what a handsome little fella.

This is just one example of the many field trips Shetek Environmental Learning Center does in a year! Over the seasons SELC presents in schools, at camp, and at different events.  What a joy to bring people closer to God's amazing Creation through environmental education! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for updates on our schedule and programming!
Searching for scavenger hunt items near the MN River 
such beautiful scenery!

find something that starts with X, Z, or J...the hardest letters!

beautiful leaf creative with color! 
rolling down hills and playing Thicket

Charlie the Raccoon!

Our autumn color wheel

painting leaves with their families

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Autumn Happenings at Shetek!

Another summer has went its way as we journey through the seasons at Shetek Lutheran Ministries! Summer 2013’s Environmental Education program focused on animal adaptations--how our amazing Creator designed animals so flawlessly to live in the habitats and ecosystems He created for them. Campers learned about animal adaptations through playing games like Thicket, where they hid within eyesight of their ‘predators’ using camouflage and other hiding strategies, and by participating in discussions about the many adaptations of the camp animals. Topics like predator/prey relationships, environmental conditions, climate change, adaptations to human presence, and more were covered in this year’s curriculum, and it was rewarding to see the lightbulbs go on when our campers came to understand God’s design for the prairie ecosystem!

With summer passing quickly and schools opening their doors for another exciting year, our programming will shift to events and field trips based on fall environmental happenings and how nature readies itself for the cooler temperatures. Two family fun events you won’t want to miss are Fall Fantasy, scheduled on October 6th from 2-5pm, and Toddlers and Trees, taking place on October 27th from 2-4pm. Fall Fantasy, a free-will donation event, will hold family games and activities, such as a scarecrow building contest, dragonfly art, sidewalk painting and more! Toddlers and Trees is a special time for parents with children between the ages of 1-3 to come out to camp for some sensory games, nature time, and a fun art project. This event is $10/family. We hope to see your families here for those fun days!

When the leaves begin to fall, we see transitions in nature that reflect our own instincts--nestling in, harvesting and gathering food, battening down the hatches for the cold weather approaching. Tea and coffee on the front porch feel especially good this time of year; watch for migrating birds flying south for the winter and squirrels caching acorns and other treats as you observe the world around you! Autumn is a wonderful time to be in nature, whether picnicking, hiking, biking, or any other activity your family enjoys. At camp we’ll be sorting through fall and winter curriculum, cleaning the Environmental Education building, and finding homes for our zoo animals until next summer. 

Keep up on our Facebook page (Shetek Environmental Learning Center) and the Shetek Lutheran Ministries website for more information on upcoming events, such as our snowshoeing and cross-country skiing days ahead! If you would like to volunteer or participate in any activities, please don’t hesitate to be in touch! Shetek Environmental Learning Center is open year-round for projects, programs, school events, and more.  Please contact me at camp with any questions or ideas on how the Learning Center can bring God’s creation closer to you!

In peace and falling leaves,
Katie Chapman
Environmental Education Director