Wildlife Camps at MNRA | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

We are feeling grateful that we get to serve people once again this summer. The importance of providing a safe place for outdoor discovery and human interaction for the physical and social-emotional health of children and youth cannot be overstated.  We hope to provide that service this summer. It will be rejuvenating for all of us to be out in nature absorbing the healing properties of the Wild.

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Registration will open Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

 

Registration is online only! Internet Explorer does NOT work with our registration portal. Please use Chrome or Firefox. You must have an online account with us to register. If you do not have an account, we recommend setting up an account PRIOR to registration opening.

Here's what you need to know:

  • You can sign up for an account at any time. Learn how to set up an account and how to register here. If you do not have an account, you can either create an account here or call (319) 335-9293Important: Once your account is set up, you'll need to add your child as a "dependent" on your account
  • If you are familiar with our online registration process, click the "Register" button located in each of the camp sections below.

Summer 2021 Camps

All Camps will participate in either a bioblitz for one day during the week and/or have a special activity with guest instructors from Recreational Services.  The Iowa Raptor Project staff will lead activities at two of the camps, the coordinator for the Challenge Course will lead an activity for one camp and the land manager for MNRA will lead an activity at one camp on land restoration.  Bird banding will be incorporated into all camps when possible.

Learn more about each of the camps being offered this summer below:

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Eagle Camp are Teamwork, Balance, and Wetlands.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • June 14 - 18, 2021
  • June 21 - 25, 2021
  • June 28 - July 2, 2021
  • July 6 - 9, 2021 (This is a four-day camp)

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Golden Eagles: The Mightiest North American Raptor
  • Geology: Discovering the Earth’s Ancient Past at the Spillway
  • Slacklining: Building Balance and Strength
  • Team Building: Walking Through Challenges Together
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding: Learning a New Way to Enjoy the Water (3rd-6th grades)
  • Creating Homemade Watercrafts and Testing their Floatation Abilities (Kindergarten-2nd grades)

 

Fee: 

  • $210 (per week)
  • $168 (for the July 6-9 camp)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Falcon Camp are Nature Structures, Tracking, and Prairies.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • June 14 - 18, 2021
  • June 21 - 25, 2021
  • June 28 - July 2, 2021
  • July 6 - 9, 2021 (This is a four-day camp)

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Gyrfalcon: Learning about the fate of this raptor and how to spot one in the sky
  • Pollinators: What’s All the Buzz About? Up Close (Safely) & Personal with Bees, Flies, Beetles & Moths
  • Searching for the Rusty Patch Bumblebee: A federally endangered insect on our land
  • Ornithology: Songbirds of the Summer
  • Nature Architecture: Discovering Natural Structures
  • Mammalogy: Casting Plaster Paris Tracks on the Shores of the Coralville Reservoir

 

Fee:

  • $210 (per week)
  • $168 (for the July 6-9 camp)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Hawk Camp are Shelter Building, Survival, and Woodlands.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • June 14 - 18, 2021
  • June 21 - 25, 2021
  • June 28 - July 2, 2021
  • July 6 - 9, 2021 (This is a four-day camp)

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Red-tailed Hawks: The Hawkeye State’s Most Adaptive Hawk
  • Birding: Woodland Birds at the Iowa Raptor Project’s Bird Blind
  • Watching Wildlife: Animal Blind Construction & Camouflage Games
  • Avian Games: Frisbees & Boomerangs
  • Shelter Building: Creating “Hawk City”

 

Fee:

  • $210 (per week)
  • $168 (for the July 6-9 camp)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Osprey Camp are "Wild Flora," Senses, and White Oak Savannas.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • June 14 - 18, 2021
  • June 21 - 25, 2021
  • June 28 - July 2, 2021
  • July 6 - 9, 2021 (This is a four-day camp)

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Mycology: Having Fun with Fungi
  • Wild Edibles: Finding and Picking Edible Berries
  • Mini Shelter Building with Limited Supplies: “Down, Brown & on the Ground”
  • Ichthyology: Learning about Iowa Fish & Going Fishing
  • Archery: Learning Safety Skills & Technique with a Bow & Arrow

 

Fee:

  • $210 (per week)
  • $168 (for the July 6-9 camp)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Eagle Camp are "Wild Connections," Aquatic Fauna, and Waterways.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • July 12 - 16, 2021
  • July 19 - 23, 2021
  • July 26 - 30, 2021
  • August 2 - 6, 2021

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Bald Eagles: Our Amazing National Bird and its Comeback in Iowa
  • The Aerie: Observing a Real Bald Eagle Nest and Building a Replica
  • Explore: “Web of Life” on “Spider Pond”
  • Limnology: Studying Ponds, Lakes, Creeks and Streams
  • Herpetology Highlights: Facts & Myths Uncovered through the Capture and Release of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Searching for the Eastern Newt in the ponds of MNRA.

 

Fee: $210 (per week)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Falcon Camp are Prairie Restoration, Resilience, and Grasslands.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • July 12 - 16, 2021
  • July 19 - 23, 2021
  • July 26 - 30, 2021
  • August 2 - 6, 2021

 

Activities and topics will include:

  • American Kestrels: The Tiny, but Tough, Falcon of the Prairie
  • Mapping Vole City: Getting on the Same Level as our “Meadow Mice”
  • Botany of the Prairie: Prairie Plant Species Identification and Edibles
  • Fishing: Making Fishing Poles while Helping to Restore Healthy Prairie Habitats at the Same Time
  • Stand-up Paddle Boarding: Learning a New Way to Enjoy the Water (3rd-6th grades)
  • Creating Homemade Watercrafts and Testing their Floatation Abilities (Kindergarten-2nd grades)

 

Fee: $210 (per week)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Hawk Camp are the Tree Canopy, Nature Observation, and Forests.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • July 12 - 16, 2021
  • July 19 - 23, 2021
  • July 26 - 30, 2021
  • August 2 - 6, 2021

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Learning and honing new archery skills
  • Natural history of the raptor residents at the Iowa Raptor Project
  • Mini shelter construction
  • Symbiosis Scavenger Hunt: Discovering Interdependent Relationships
  • Building bridges using natural materials and discovering the science in structure

 

Fee: $210 (per week)

Register

 

For students who completed Kindergarten-6th grades during academic year 2020 – 2021.

Themes for Osprey Camp are the "Backcountry Adventuring," Dirt, and Meadows.

 

Camp Options - Please choose one week per camper:

  • July 12 - 16, 2021
  • July 19 - 23, 2021
  • July 26 - 30, 2021
  • August 2 - 6, 2021

 

Activities and topics will include but aren’t limited to:

  • Ospreys: The Natural History of the “Fish Hawk”
  • Mud Hikes & Otter Slides: Becoming One with the Land… and Mud
  • Campfire Cooking & Wild Edible Concoctions: Yum!
  • Exploring: “Osprey Fields” of MNRA
  • Birding: Identifying Songbirds by Sight and Sound
  • The effects of the 2020 Derecho and the ongoing recovery

 

Fee: $210 (per week)

Register

 

Camp Information and Policies

Thank you for choosing to participate in UI Wildlife Camps! We are looking forward to adventures that will include fun, hands-on investigations within some of our ecosystems at Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA). We will learn the science of nature while still experiencing the best of recreation. Below you'll find all the information you'll need to know for your campers to have a successful time with us!

  • In case of emergency or to notify us of an absence or for registration information, please call Jeanette Luke at 319-335-9294.
  • If the weather is questionable, camps will be canceled and families will be notified via email by 7:00 a.m. Refunds will be issued in this situation.
  • Campers are expected to be respectful to themselves, others, and nature. If a camper does not follow these guidelines, staff will communicate it to families. Staff will also notify families if a camper becomes ill or injured at camp.The Director reserves the right to dismiss any camper whose choices or conduct becomes detrimental to the program, others, or themselves.  No refunds will be made for dismissed campers.

MNRA Park Map

Given the fluid nature of the presence of the virus in our community, all information below regarding COVID-19 policies and procedures is subject to change based on guidance from the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

  • Camps will be limited to 32 participants and four instructors.
  • Campers' health will be assessed daily upon arrival and a health questionnaire completed to determine if the camper has (or been in contact with) COVID-19 or has COVID-19 symptoms.
    • If the camper falls into any of the following categories, they will not be allowed to join camp:
      • Has any one of the following symptoms: new cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, fever of 100.4° or higher, chills, vomiting, diarrhea; 
      • Has any two of the following symptoms: new headache, muscle/body aches, new fatigue, sore throat, new runny nose, new congestion, nausea, feeling otherwise unwell; 
      • Has been in close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • If the camper passes the daily health assessment, they can then be checked-in for camp.
  • Please see the "DROP-OFF AND PICK-UP" section for information about those procedures. To allow for social distancing, we highly encourage campers be dropped off and picked up directly at Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA) whenever possible.
  • Bus Policies and Procedures: 
    • If campers are dropped off at HRF, the large turf area of the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex (HTRC) may be used as our check-in/check-out site during inclement weather.
    • Campers at HRF will wait for their bus in their pods and will be instructed to remain masked and distanced at least 6’ from those in their pods. 
    • All bus riders and drivers will wear a face mask that covers both their mouth and nose. 
    • Each bus will have disposable masks available for campers who do not have a mask.
    • All campers will have assigned seats and will ride the same bus to and from camp remaining in their assigned seat. Siblings may be seated together.
    • Buses will be loaded from back to front and unloaded from front to back. 
    • No more than 32 campers and four instructors will be allowed on our buses at a time (buses have a capacity of 65).
    • Cleaning and disinfecting of the bus interior, with special attention to “high touch” surfaces, will take place before riders board and after they exit.
    • The first bench seat immediately behind the driver will be kept vacant for social distancing.
    • Under most weather conditions, windows and roof vents will be opened to maintain positive air flow through the bus. 
  • Daily Activities:
    • Wildlife Camps are an outdoor activity utilizing the natural environment in the park(s) and open air shelters when necessary.  
    • Unvaccinated individuals, including youth under the age of 12, are strongly encouraged to continue to wear a mask or other appropriate face-covering and physically distance from others when possible while on campus.  
      • The camp will provide disposable masks if a camper forgets theirs, loses one, or needs to change out theirs during the day.
    • Campers will remain in their pod of 8 throughout each day of their week at camp.
    • Campers and staff will be encouraged and reminded to use hand sanitizer frequently as well as wash hands with soap often. The camp will provide hand sanitizer, water, and soap.
    • When restrooms are not available, portable commodes will be provided with regular cleaning and maintenance with hand cleanser provided.
    • Most shelter sites have water pumps and soap dispensers available.
    • When equipment must be shared (archery bows, binoculars, etc.), we will minimize exchanges and equipment will be wiped down with disinfectant wipes between usage.
    • Spacing will be discussed at the beginning of the first day of each camp with continual reminders to reinforce expectations throughout the week.  
    • If severe weather (storm and/or heat warnings) is strongly predicted for a camp day, camp may be canceled.
      • This will be communicated to families via email by 7:00 am on the day of camp.
      • If we experience a severe unexpected weather situation at MNRA, campers and staff will be moved into the HTRC turf area until parents are able to come and check-out their camper.  The HTRC Turf meets the density requirements to shelter all of our daily campers and staff, while keeping them properly distanced in their pods.  For campers at state parks, temporary safe spaces have been identified and will be utilized, with distances maximized between individuals. 
    • Staff will disinfect any camp supplies used daily.
  • Communication and Response to Positive COVID-19 Result or Close Contact (modified from the ICCSD “Return to Learn” Plan):
    • Camp communication will be conducted primarily via email once a camper has registered for camp. Confirmation for the camp along with safety information will be provided in these communications.
    • Campers or Staff testing positive for COVID-19 or showing COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed at Wildlife Camps until they have gone 24 hours with no fever (and without using fever-reducing medications), symptoms improving, and 10 days since symptoms started.  
    • Campers or Staff testing negative for COVID-19 will not be allowed at Wildlife Camps until they have gone 24 hours with no fever (and without using fever-reducing medications) and symptoms improving. 
    • Close Contact: Since the only foreseeable instance where close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual (within 6’ for 15 minutes over 24 hrs) at camp would be on the bus, campers and/or staff within 6’ of a COVID-19 positive individual will need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to camp. If no symptoms develop, they are free to return to camp. 
    • Parents or guardians of campers and staff will be notified if a COVID-19 positive individual has been identified in a camp. If a camper and/or staff member was sitting within 6’ of the individual on the bus those campers and/or staff will need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to camp. 

From the CDC's Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps, the Lowest Risk Camps are ones that have:

  • Small groups of campers that stay together all day, each day. 
  • Campers remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. 
  • Outdoor activities are prioritized. 
  • All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., city, town, county, community).

Drop-off and Pick-Up:

  • We encourage all campers to be dropped off and picked up directly from Macbride Nature Recreation Area (MNRA) whenever possible. Falcon Shelter will be the site utilized for this and is the fourth left in the park upon entering.
  • Camper drop-off: 8:15 - 9:00 a.m.
  • Camper pick-up: 3:30 - 4:15 p.m.

Bus Policies and Procedures: 

  • If campers are dropped off at the Hawkeye Recreation Fields (HRF), the large turf area of the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex (HTRC) may be used as our check-in/check-out site during inclement weather.
  • Campers at HRF will wait for their bus in their pods and will be instructed to remain masked and distanced at least 6’ from those in their pods. 
  • All bus riders and drivers will wear a face mask that covers both their mouth and nose. 
  • Each bus will have disposable masks available for campers who do not have a mask.
  • All campers will have assigned seats and will ride the same bus to and from camp remaining in their assigned seat. Siblings may be seated together.
  • Buses will be loaded from back to front and unloaded from front to back. 
  • No more than 32 campers and four instructors will be allowed on our buses at a time (buses have a capacity of 65).
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of the bus interior, with special attention to “high touch” surfaces, will take place before riders board and after they exit.
  • The first bench seat immediately behind the driver will be kept vacant for social distancing.
  • Under most weather conditions, windows and roof vents will be opened to maintain positive air flow through the bus. 

Campers will meet Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted in the camp descriptions.

  • 8:30 a.m. Buses/vehicles leave for MNRA 
  • 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Introduction & warm-up for the day
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Morning activities session
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Lunch and noontime activities
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Afternoon activities session
  • 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Sharing & wrap-up for the day  
  • 3:30 p.m. Buses/vehicles leave for Hawkeye Rec Fields

Because we spend all, if not most, of our time in the outdoors you should come prepared for sun, rain and everything nature may bring. We recommend either wearing and bringing:

  • Sunscreen
  • T-shirts verses tank tops to prevent sunburned shoulders.
  • Raincoat or poncho. Programs will move inside when emergency situations arise during storm watches and warnings. If inclement weather is predicted for the day, camps will be canceled and families notified via email by 7:00 a.m. Refunds will be issued in this situation.
  • Proper shoes are important. This could be a pair of tennis shoes, hiking boots or sandals that stay on feet snugly and are designed for hiking and exploring outside.
  • Campers should bring their own snack, lunch and water bottle. Additional water will be provided. We’ve seen a reduction of non-recyclable waste generated at lunchtime. We would love to see this continue. If possible, avoid over-packaged products and bring reusable containers. 
  • We will follow a carry-in/carry-out policy.

We're excited to have a scholarship opportunity available through the United Way. Thank you to this organization for providing support to children to attend camp! If your child receives a scholarship, please register by calling Jeanette Luke at (319) 335-9294.

  • Families will receive a refund minus the non-refundable processing fee ($75.00) if canceling four weeks before the start of camp attending.
  • Refunds will not be issued for no-shows.
  • If you need to cancel, please call Jeanette Luke at (319) 335-9294 and complete the online refund request form.
  • The Director reserves the right to dismiss any camper whose choices or conduct becomes detrimental to the program, other participants, or themselves. No refunds will be made for dismissed campers.

We understand that a medical issue or unplanned emergency may cause a camper the inability to attend camp. 

  • Please call Jeanette Luke at (319) 335-9294 and complete the online refund request form.
  • A refund may be requested minus the non-refundable ($75.00) processing fee per camp session for each participant not attending.
  • If a camper is able and there is time and room, an attempt will be made to switch the camper to a different session.

Work for us!

Questions about the camps or employment? E-mail Meredith Caskey at meredith-caskey@uiowa.edu or call (319) 384-4720.

Wildlife Camps Job Openings:

Meet our Team

Questions?

Registration questions: call Jeanette Luke at (319) 335-9293 or email her at jeanette-luke@uiowa.edu.
Camp questions: email Meredith at meredith-caskey@uiowa.edu
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