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Nature in your Backyard Virtual Camp

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Nature in your Backyard virtual camp is a great opportunity for families to provide an at-home learning experience that also encourages time outside.  TTF Campers will learn about the natural spaces around their home whether it be backyard, patio or neighborhood park. Activities will focus on local plants and animals, “bushcraft” wilderness skills, and nature-based arts and crafts.  This camp balances engaging virtual instruction with individual outside work sessions.  Just because we’re stuck at home doesn’t mean we need to be inside!  Take the opportunity to keep your kiddos engaged with the natural world in this donation-based camp brought to you by The Trail Foundation in partnership with Fire Scouts, a local scouting organization.  The first week starts on June 1st, and there is limited space available, sign up now!

What to expect

COST: Donation-based. We ask families to consider making a donation to support our staff time and supplies. Suggested donation amount: $100

EACH DAY: Camp sessions will be 3-4 hours of programming each day, Monday – Friday for each week. The day will be split into 3 different parts

      • Morning –  1 hr Zoom session with fellow campers, introduces campers to  activities for the day and provides demonstrations. 
      • Outdoor work – 1-2 hour outdoor session, kids will spend time outside completing the activities for the day. 
      • Afternoon – 1 hr Zoom session, campers will share their work and engage in other virtual activities.


SCHEDULE: We are providing two scheduling option for campers. You will need to pick one group only and join both morning and afternoon sessions for that group

    • Group 1 – Morning zoom session – 9:00am – 10:00am; Afternoon zoom session – 1:00pm – 2:00pm
    • Group 2-  Morning zoom session – 10:30am -11:30am; Afternoon zoom session – 2:30pm – 3:30pm


THEME: Each week will have a fun nature based theme

    • Week 1. June 1-5: Bug and Blooms (Insects and Inflorescences)
    • Week 2. June 8-12: Bushcraft (Backyard wilderness skills)
    • Week 3: June 15-19: Amazing Animals. We will learn about critters in the sky, underground, and in your neighborhood.

SUPPLIES: Most of the supplies needed for the week’s activities are common household items. You can choose to use what you have at home or come pick up a packet of supplies at a designated time/location.

  • Activity Supplies (TTF will provide as need for pick-up)
    • Thick card stock
    • Rubber bands
    • Glue
    • Twine
    • Birdseed 
    • Pencils/Crayons
    • Notebook
    • Watercolors
    • Pipe cleaners
    • Popsicle sticks
  • Supplies you will need from home (not provided by TTF)
    • Cardboard
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug spray
    • Sun hat
    • Water bottle
    • Closed-toed shoes for exploration in Texas
  • Optional supplies
    • Magnifying glass
    • Binoculars
    • Bug catcher (jars, nets, etc)
    • Field guides


ROLE OF THE PARENT: Each camper will require a different level of parental participation especially as it relates to outdoor activities and access to outdoor spaces. This program is intended for ages 6-10 but it is possible for younger or older campers to participate.

      • Ages younger than 6 will require parental supervision during the entire session
      • Ages 6-8 will require some parental supervision depending on the activity and depending on the camper
      • Ages 9 and older will require little to no parental supervision 


SIBLINGS: Campers with siblings are encouraged to participate together.


BEHAVIOR POLICY:All campers are required to keep all language and images shown to be age appropriate for our youngest participants during camp sessions.  If this is not honored there will be one warning given, a second time will result in that camper having their audio muted and video turned off for the rest of the day.  They will not be removed from the session, but they will no longer be able to contribute to the group during the session.  Further violations may result in being removed from a session, or being asked to not return.



Leslie Lilly is the Conservation Director with The Trail Foundation and a proud Texas Master Naturalist. She has more than 13 years of academic and professional experience with native Texas plants, Texas ecosystems and land management.  She has spent time outdoors doing everything from fighting fires across the country on a US Fish and Wildlife fire crew, managing a 200-acre organic vegetable farm, and tracking endangered bird species through the hill country. As the Conservation Director for The Trail Foundation, she oversees the urban forestry and natural areas management program around Lady Bird Lake, which includes the management of over 1k volunteers annually, many of which are families. She also runs the Kids Adopt-A-Garden program at Metz Recreation Center, which teaches elementary aged children about gardening, nature and the outdoors. 





Braden DeLonay has been educating youth about sustainability and the outdoors for over 10 years.  He was trained in survival skills, nature literacy, and wilderness mentoring in the forest of Central Maine at the Maine Primitive Skills School.  His love of all things nature and people drives him to take every opportunity he can to connect the two pieces.  He is currently living in east Austin with his dog Star and spends time in the creek behind his home daily.  Braden currently teaches at Cedars Montessori School in west Austin, directs Fire Scouts, and runs corporate programming connecting professionals to nature as well.  He has been a wilderness mentor at the Whole Life Learning Center, the Amala Foundation, the Maine Primitive Skills School, Earth Native Wilderness School, Camp Ketcha, and others.  The experience running virtual classes for the last 3 months has been invaluable and has opened his eyes to how effective this medium can be for connecting youth to the nature directly around their homes.


Ehren Siegenthaler is a lifelong nature enthusiast, and has over a decade of experience as an outdoor educator. Ehren began as a junior counselor with Austin Nature and Science Center while still in high school, and has since actively pursued opportunities to connect with people in nature. Ehren worked for Austin Rock Gym for several years, and during that time acted as an outdoor guide and private instructor for all ages, as well as led summer camps, and coached the physical education waiver program and climbing team at ARG. Later, while working as a conservation technician for the Shield Ranch, Ehren would provide supplemental instruction to El Ranchito, the summer camp offered on the ranch. During this time, and subsequently, Ehren led numerous formal and informal plant walks, specifically geared towards identifying and learning the uses of native plants. Currently, Ehren works both for Renovated Primitive and The Trail Foundation. Ehren has worked with Renovated Primitive since its inception 4 years ago, and has been involved in much of their programming including co-teaching wilderness classes at Cedars Montessori, the Fire Scouts program, and summer camps. Ehren is the Conservation Manager for The Trail Foundation, providing “boots on the ground” support for operations around the trail, including volunteer events and the Kids Adopt a garden program. Ehren’s nature specialty is native plants!


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