MWR Wildlife Summer Camp 2024 Wrap-Up

An amazing group of campers spent a week at the ARK exploring the fascinating world of wildlife. Each day, we covered a different group of animals.

Monday: Birds

Campers had an exciting day learning all about birds. They met Athena the barn owl, Marshmallow the barred owl, Rufous and Hazelnut the screech owls, Mochni the red-shouldered hawk, and Hulk the red-tailed hawk. The Bird Beak Buffet game helped them understand how the shape and size of a bird’s beak indicates its diet. They took a deeper look at raptor diets by dissecting owl pellets, learned how to use binoculars, and went on a short birding hike.

Tuesday: Arthropods

Campers learned the basics about these essential invertebrates, distinguishing insects from arachnids and millipedes from centipedes. Meeting the live specimens, especially the giant hissing roaches, was a big hit. Campers applied what they learned by building their own arthropod crafts. Equipped with nets and viewing boxes, they hit the trails to find species to complete their BUGGO board.

Wednesday: Mammals

Campers learned what makes a mammal a mammal and investigated pelts and skulls. Special guest Deb Waz from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science led a discussion and craft on animal adaptations. Campers played the role of scientists, identifying different species in the Skull Maze, and learned to identify the presence of mammals by examining tracks and scat.

Thursday: Amphibians

Campers explored the unique features of amphibians and observed live examples of both exotic and native species. They performed an experiment to see how an amphibian’s absorbent skin makes them bioindicators, providing important information on the health of a habitat. They looked at the differences between frogs and toads, competed in a frog vs. toad relay race, learned how each frog species has a unique call, and tested their identification skills with an audio challenge. A nature hike completed the day.

Friday: Reptiles

After an introduction to reptile traits and the primary groups of reptiles, campers enjoyed a presentation by Davis Ruffin from Magnolia Exotics. Davis shared his extensive collection of native reptiles and his vast knowledge of these often-misunderstood animals. Campers then got creative, painting their own wooden snake to take home.

Each day of camp ended with a tasty lunch from one of our generous sponsors. Campers reinforced their learning with a game of Jeopardy and captured the day’s events in their journals. It was a great and WILD week.

Thank you to our sponsors: Whataburger, McAllister’s Deli, Domino’s Pizza, Habanero’s
Restaurant, Sonic, and Chick-fil-A.

A special thank you to our amazing volunteers: Kate Friedman (Board member/ Education Director), Carrie Moyers, Leah Steen, Lauren Lee, Jonathan Patrick, Brett Hogan (Board member) and Stephanie Hogan (Wildlife Director).

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