Summer Outdoor Discovery Day Camps

Our week-long camps engage children in the study of the natural world. Camps are packed with hands-on activities, unique learning opportunities, and field trips to local natural areas. Programs are available for children ages 3 years through high school (teens, check out the High School tab for information on our Environmental Leadership Training program!).

Click here for the top 10 reasons to come to camp at the Montana Natural History Center!

 

Join us to Explore!

 

Register for 2017 Outdoor Discovery Day Camps

 

PLEASE READ BEFORE REGISTERING: We are using a new system this year for camp registration and submitting permission forms, which we think will improve parent communication and permission slip management.  But, there are some things you will need to be aware of to help your registration process go smoothly:

  • If you are registering multiple children, you will need to complete a profile for each and register and pay for each separately.  If you wish, you can save your payment information to make it faster.
  • Do NOT attempt to create a new profile for another child before completing registration and payment for the first, or you will lose all of the first’s registration information.  You should complete and pay for each child’s camps before beginning another.
  • MNHC Members should use the discount code “MNHCMEMBER” for each camp at checkout to receive member pricing. (See “General Information” tab for camp prices.)
  • You do NOT need to complete the permission and emergency release forms before registering and paying for camp– you will have an opportunity to do so later.
  • Once you have registered, you will use the same CampDoc system to complete and submit your child(ren)’s permission and medical forms, so be sure to remember your password.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR CAMPS

 

 

We have a limited number of need-based scholarships available.  To be considered, please fill out the scholarship request form under the “scholarship application” tab.

 

 2017 Outdoor Discovery Day Camps

 

Programs are subject to minor changes.

 

Geology Rocks!  

June 12-16

All camps full.  Waitlist available.

Calling all rock hounds!  Jump into geology with this rockin’ fun camp. We’ll start a rock collection, learn about the different types of rocks and fossils, and explore local areas as we investigate the amazing geology of Western Montana.

*No Preschool-Kindergarten camp this week.

Wild Wanderers

June 19-23

Spots are still open in grades 3-5 camp! Pre-K-K and grades 1-2 camp full; waitlist available.  

An adventure begins when you walk out your door.  Spend the week on grand explorations to local natural areas, looking for animal signs, searching for insects, watching birds, and peeking at plants.  Using tools of naturalists, we’ll explore and have fun while following our curiosity and adventurous spirits.

 

Fantastic Fish and Where to Find Them

June 26-30

Pre-K-K, 1-2, and 3-5 camps are full; waitlist available.

Summer is a great time to visit Montana’s rivers and ponds and practice your casting technique.  We’ll wade right in and reel in adventure as we learn about stream ecology, explore fish in Montana, and try to catch the Big One!

Thanks to a generous gift from Hellgate Hunters and Anglers, all campers this week will receive a spinning rod to keep.

Week of July 3-7: No Camps

Birding Bonanza

July 10-14

Spots are still open in grades 3-5 camp! Pre-K-K and 1-2 camp full; waitlist available.  

Have you ever wanted to know more about that animal soaring in the sky, singing in the tree, or dabbling in the pond?  Then join us this week to investigate the bird world, from hummingbirds to herons.  We’ll get to know our avian neighbors through exploration, stories, and art, using binoculars in the field, and by visiting with scientists to experience their work.

Habitat Hunt

July 17-21

Spots are still open in grades 3-5 camp! Pre-K-K and 1-2 camp full; waitlist available.  

We’re surrounded by different habitats, and this week we are going to explore as many as we can, visiting local natural areas to see what makes one an excellent place to live for the critters found there. We’ll catch insects, look for tracks, check out nests and burrows, and even try to recreate some of the habitats we find!

Expedition: Explore!

July 24-28

All camps full; waitlist available.

If you’re looking for an action-packed week of learning new outdoor skills, this camp is for you!  Have a blast while also learning some outdoor survival skills.  For our campers in grades 3-5, this week will conclude with an overnight camping trip near Grand Menard/Kries Pond.

*No Preschool-Kindergarten camp this week. 

*Campers in grades 1-2 should register for the regular version of Expedition: Explore!. 

*Campers in grades 3-5 will participate in an overnight trip Thursday evening of camp and should register for Expedition: Explore!—3-5 Overnight, which includes extra food costs.

Backcountry Biologists

July 25-28

Spaces still available!

Middle schoolers— this is a new camp just for you! We will meet Tuesday-Friday, starting with a day of learning outdoors skills and getting to know each other before we head for a 2-night overnight camping trip to explore the science of nature.  Have a blast while we learn about Montana’s ecosystems as well as some basic outdoor skills.

*This camp is for students entering grades 6-8 in the fall of 2017.

Wonderful Wetlands

July 31- August 4

Pre-K-K, 1-2, and 3-5 camps are full; waitlist available.

Summer is a great time to explore life around Montana’s lakes and rivers. We’ll spend the week investigating nearby wetlands, learning about their importance and the animals that use them.  Discover what makes wetlands so wonderful through science, play, exploration, and lots of splashing around!

Phenomenal Forests

August 7-11

Pre-K-K, 1-2, and 3-5 camps are full; waitlist available.

Learn about the amazing forests of Western Montana, and the animals and plants that call them home!  We’ll learn about why forests, trees, and even forest fires are important through hands-on activities, stories, art, and games, and by exploring some of the amazing wooded areas around the Missoula valley.  Join us for a great week in the woods!

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Nature’s Greatest Hits

August 14-18

Spots are still open in grades 3-5 camp! Pre-K-K and 1-2 camp full; waitlist available. 

Close out your summer with a week of greatest hits from the Montana Natural History Center! This week, we’ll experience a smorgasbord of the most fun and unique camp activities from the summer, all the while exploring local natural areas and learning a lot about Montana’s nature and wildlife—from mountains to rivers, and everything in between. It’s the best of the best!

Registration must be completed online. Online registration is now open!

 

2017 camp prices:

 

  • Preschool-Kindergarten Camps: $225/$200 with MNHC Membership
  • Grades 1-2 and 2-5 Camps: $200/$180 with MNHC Membership
  • Expedition: Explore! 3-5 Overnight: $225/$200 with MNHC Membership
  • Backyard Biologists (Middle School Overnight): $225/$200 with MNHC Membership

General Camp Information:

 

Students will be divided into camp age groups based on their school grade, and content and activities will be geared towards students in a specific grade range.  This allows our instructors to plan age-appropriate activities.  Our age categories are Preschool-Kindergarten, grades 1-2 and grades 3-5.  Camps are designed for students entering grade levels noted in the fall of 2017. Preschool campers must be potty-trained.

 

This year we area also offering a *new* “Backcountry Biologists” camp for 6-8th graders, featuring a 2-night overnight.

 

Our camps get outside every day. All camps will use our activity buses for field trips. Preschool camps will participate in local field trips within the Missoula area. The 1st-8th grade camps can expect to drive as far as the Bison Range, Seeley Lake, or Beavertail Pond for field trips. Specific field trip and activity information will be provided for you on your first day of camp but you may contact us with questions

 

Cancellations/Refund Policy

 

Program fee is refundable ONLY if a cancellation is made 30 days before the start of camp, minus a $50 non-refundable administrative fee per camp. Withdrawals after this deadline forfeit the full registration fee. Membership fees are non-refundable.

 

Scholarships 

 

MNHC has limited scholarship funds and does not grant full scholarships for any program. Those interested in a partial scholarship must:

 

1. Fill out the scholarship request form under the “scholarship application” tab.

 

2. We will review the form and will contact you within 5 business days of receiving the completed form. At this time, if applicable, we will verbally award you a scholarship.

 

3. If you are awarded a scholarship, are responsible for paying the remainder of the camp fee (minus any scholarship). Your child is not registered until you pay the full remainder of the fee. Please contact MNHC to register with your payment information.

 

Registrations in camps are on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

 

We are looking forward to an exciting summer packed full of exploration, learning, and fun!  Sign up for our email newsletter to receive updates about all things summer camp!

Camp schedules, descriptions, and scholarship applications are now available, so you can start planning your summer!

MNHC is happy to be able to provide a limited number of scholarships for our summer camps. Fill out the scholarship request form under the “scholarship application” tab and be pre-approved before registration opens!

Registrations in camps are on a first-come, first-served basis.

General Camp Information:

Our Program Goals:
*To provide quality outdoor education experiences to all participants through exploration, guided discovery, and hands-on learning.
*To teach stewardship through daily activities.
*To provide kids with the opportunity to develop a positive, respectful, long-term relationship with nature that will stay with them throughout their lives.

2017 camp prices:

  • Preschool-Kindergarten Camps: $225/$200 with MNHC Membership
  • Grades 1-2 and 2-5 Camps: $200/$180 with MNHC Membership
  • Expedition: Explore! 3-5 Overnight: $225/$200 with MNHC Membership
  • Backyard Biologists (Middle School Overnight): $225/$200 with MNHC Membership

2017 Day Camp Program Hours
Monday – Friday, 9:30am to 3:30pm.
Extended care is available free from 8:30-9:30am and 3:30-5:30pm.

All camps begin and end at the MNHC at 120 Hickory Street in Missoula.

Field Trips and Activities
Our summer camps participate in a wide range of nature-based activities. Your child can expect to be outside every day. We take time to explore natural areas from the perspective of a Naturalist: a scientist, artist and writer. Each camp will also include games and time for play in the outdoors which research shows, is important for children too. Kids can expect to learn a lot while having fun! 

All summer camp groups will take field trips using our activity buses. Preschool camps can expect to stay in town for field trips but 1st-8th grade camps may travel as far as the National Bison Range, Seeley Lake, or Beavertail Pond. All buses are equiped with safety belts and staff are trained, have passed required certification tests, and are evaluated for safe driving. Parents may provide a booster seat for their child though they are not required. One of our buses has a lift to accommodate wheelchair users.

Age Groups
Students will be divided into camp age groups based on their school grade, and content and activities will be geared towards students in a specific grade range.  This allows our instructors to plan age-appropriate activities.  Our age categories are Preschool-Kindergarten, grades 1-2 and grades 3-5.  Camps are designed for students entering grade levels noted in the fall of 2017.  Preschool-Kindergarten camp participants must be potty-trained.

This year we area also offering a *new* “Backcountry Biologists” camp for 6-8th graders, featuring a 2-night overnight.

Our camps get outside every day. All camps will use our activity buses for field trips. Preschool camps will participate in local field trips within the Missoula area. The 1st-8th grade camps can expect to drive as far as the Bison Range, Seeley Lake, or Beavertail Pond for field trips. Specific field trip and activity information will be provided for you on your first day of camp but you may contact us with questions

Cancellations/Refund Policy
Program fee is refundable ONLY if a cancellation is made 30 days before the start of camp, minus a $50 non-refundable administrative fee per camp. Withdrawals after this deadline forfeit the full registration fee. Membership fees are non-refundable.

Scholarships 
MNHC has limited scholarship funds and does not grant full scholarships for any program. Those interested in a partial scholarship must:

1. Fill out the online scholarship request form under the “scholarship application” tab.
2. We will review the form and will contact you within 5 business days of receiving the completed form. At this time, if applicable, we will verbally award you a scholarship.
3. If you are awarded a scholarship, are responsible for paying the remainder of the camp fee (minus any scholarship). Your child is not registered until you pay the full remainder of the fee. Please contact MNHC to register with your payment information.

Registrations in camps are on a first-come, first-served basis.


Montana Natural History Center is an equal opportunity service provider.
Some of our field trips are permitted on the Lolo National Forest (Clause VII.B).

Apply now for scholarships for MNHC’s 2017 Summer Outdoor Discovery Day Camps!

 

We want your child to join us for exploration and learning this summer!  We are committed to making our programs accessible to as many families as possible.  The Montana Natural History Center does not grant full scholarships for any program, but we are able to provide limited scholarship funds for children to attend Summer Outdoor Discovery Day Camp program.

To apply for a scholarship you must:

  • Fill out our scholarship application. Only one is needed per family.  You can also pick up a paper application at MNHC (120 Hickory Street, Missoula).
  • We will review the form and will contact you within 5 business days of receiving the completed form.  At this time, if applicable, we will contact you via telephone to award you a scholarship. Scholarships are awarded on a need-based and first come, first served basis.
  •  If you are awarded a scholarship, you are responsible for paying the remainder of the camp fee (minus any scholarship) and completing the registration process. Your child is not registered until you have paid the remainder of the fee and completed the camp registration process.
  • You will need to register your child for camp once approved. Registrations in camps are on a first come, first served basis. Once registration has begun, we cannot hold spots in any camp while we are processing scholarship applications or waiting on fee balance payments.

Ready to apply? Click here to fill out our online scholarship application!

 

camping-bus

Backcountry Biologists

July 25-28

Middle schoolers—this is a new camp just for you! We will meet Tuesday-Friday, starting with a day of learning outdoors skills and getting to know each other before we head for a 2-night overnight camping trip to explore the science of nature.  Have a blast while we learn about Montana’s ecosystems as well as some basic outdoor skills.

*This camp is for students entering grades 6-8 in the fall of 2017.

Cost
$225 or $200 with an MNHC membership
Scholarships are available. Fill out the scholarship request form under the “scholarship application” tab.

MNHC memberships can be purchased for $50 per family.

Ages
Camp themes and content for this programs are geared toward students who will be entering grades 6-8 in the fall of 2017.  This allows our instructors to plan activities that work best for students in those grades.

Cancellations/Refund Policy
Program fee is refundable ONLY if a cancellation is made 30 days before the start of camp,minus a $50 non-refundable administrative fee per camp. Withdrawals after this deadline forfeit the full registration fee. Membership fees are non-refundable.

Program schedule is subject to minor changes.

Registrations will be accepted online beginning in early March.  Full payment due upon registration.

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Environmental Leadership Training Program (Ages 15-18)

Join the Montana Natural History Center this summer as an Environmental Teen Leader for summer camps! In 2017, our Environmental Teen Leaders will participate in an initial 3-hour training in early June in addition to training sessions throughout the summer that will prepare you for a summer of fun and Environmental Leadership. You will get practice creating and participating in environmental education activities, get to know our summer camps, and learn about yourself as a leader. After, you’ll have a chance to put your new skills to use by volunteering with MNHC’s Summer Outdoor Discovery Day Camps!

What you get: Spend the summer outdoors connecting kids to nature, making new friends, learning new skills, and making a difference! MNHC will also provide Environmental Leaders with a free family membership, an MNHC shirt, and references as our Teen Leaders move on to future employment and educational opportunities.

What you give: Enthusiasm, creativity, and a positive attitude. Participation in training throughout the summer and approximately 25 hours of volunteer work with our summer campers throughout the summer, scheduled at times that are convenient for you. 

Ready to apply?  Fill out the application form!  Want to learn more? Call Bailey Zook or Drew Lefebvre at 406.327.0405.

Meet our 2017 Summer Camp Staff!

2017 summer camp staff

Maarten Dankers Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, Maarten Dankers grew up hiking and skiing in the glorious Alberta Rockies where he gained a passion for the great outdoors. Maarten has a background in environmental science, and has worked as a hydrogeologist, grassland researcher, and organic vegetable farmer. More recently he made a career shift to focus on education, because he believes strongly in cultivating enthusiasm for the natural world. Maarten has been in Missoula since January–during that time he’s volunteered with Flagship, the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program (CFWEP), and MNHC. This has been the perfect opportunity to learn about local issues and get to know many kids in Missoula’s schools. Maarten is super excited to be working with the MNHC this summer!
Claire Foley Claire Foley moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to Montana for an AmeriCorps program in 2013, and feels so lucky to have been placed here. She has worked with children in various informal education settings since moving here, and is currently a graduate student in the University of Montana’s environmental education program.  She spends her free time exploring mountains and trails, playing guitar, and continuing to learn about Montana’s fascinating natural history.
Claire Grisham Ever since she was a kid, Claire Grisham has been fascinated by the outdoors! From catching frogs in her backyard to attempting to identify the mysterious plants she stumbles upon, the excitement never fades. She recently graduated from UM with a focus in conservation and is very passionate about education and community outreach. Claire is thrilled to be working for the summer camps again and can’t wait to share some new, exciting activities with the campers!
Cara Grula Cara Grula is a midwest native. She recently moved from Iowa to continue her passion for environmental education. Cara has assessed water qualities of lakes in Iowa, conducted whitebark pine research in Missoula, and studied bee behavior in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. Between field seasons, Cara worked at Montessori Preschool. Cara is so excited to work at the Outdoor Discovery Summer Camps to share her passion for early childhood education, ecology, and playing outside!
Torrye Hart When Torrye Hart is not writing papers for the Social Work program at the University of Montana, she likes to spend as much time as possible exploring outside.  Torrye values positive experiences and ethical outdoor use, and loves to share those things with summer campers at MNHC. She’s super excited to spend this summer exploring local outdoor spots while helping kids learn about the incredible natural world that surrounds us.
Jessa Ouellette Jessa Ouellette grew up right here in Missoula on the banks of the Clark Fork River. She has a passion for environmental education, and takes every opportunity to learn/teach. Her other interests include baking, painting, sewing, fishing, and enjoying time with her pet bearded dragon, Pascal!
Stephanie Parker Stephanie Parker’s interests know no bounds. She has studied everything from butterflies and birds, to anatomy and plants. While hiking, she must stop every few feet to get a closer look at every amazing bug, plant, and bird along the way.  She has a BA in Ecology and Organismal Biology from the University of Montana and will be pursuing an MS in Biology at CSU Chico in the fall!