My Favorite Nature Moments of 2013.
Ijams provides a safe place for urban kids to explore the outdoors. And the summer months at Ijams are for the camp kids. Eight weeks of activities, each week a different age group. Eight weeks of fun, learning, games, crafts, long hikes, exhaustion.
We sincerely hope that the youngsters have as much fun as we oldsters. We all get camp names and shed our urban identities.
Most kids love the creek walks, it's part adventure, part scary, part exploration, part refreshing, especially on a hot July afternoon. (That's me in the rear carrying the crawdad bucket.) As Richard Louv pointed out in his book, "Last Child in the Woods," children today do not get to "explore" their world as our generation did. That's were Ijams plays an important role.
I grew up in Gatlinburg. Exploring Baskins Creek looking for crawdads was the way to escape the heat of a hot July afternoon.
This group of "creek-walkers" encountered a small northern brown watersnake sunning itself on a rock.
"Let's just pass the snake quietly and slowly," I said. "Hopefully, it'll stay on its rock. Underwater, we have no idea where it's at."
We all did that, and the snake proved much too comfortable to move.
For more highlights, click: summer camp in July.