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Gaia’s Camp Discovery Provides Gateway to Wilderness for Local Youth

On Thursday July 27th, in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, ICG hosted a camp out at the Garden for the youth summer camp of the Greater Ithaca Activities Center (GIAC).  After years of dreaming, and months of planning, the ICG staff was ecstatic to see it come to fruition.

The campers learned how to pitch their own tents and how to safely build fires outdoors. They also learned about nighttime wildlife and the wildlife that surrounded them at the Garden through hands on activities and games courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

Food was generously provided by Aldi, Wegmans, Ithaca Bakery, and our partners at GreenStar. Tents were kindly loaned by Eastern Mountain Sports and individual community members. Cornell Outdoor Education provided all sleeping bags, pads, and headlamps. Cornell Lab of Ornithology loaned binoculars for an early morning bird walk lead by longtime friends of the Garden, ornithologists Robyn Bailey and Paul Paradine.

Thirty campers attended, and for many of them, and even some of their counselors, this was their first experience camping outdoors.  One child said, “This is the best day of my life.” Another said, “This is better than Christmas.”

What more could we have hoped for? Everyone who participated had so much fun – we have already begun discussing making this an annual GIAC campout at ICG. Thanks so much to all who make it happen!

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