How do you combine art and nature?  Simple: you create a camp around the two ideas and they fit, naturally.  On the surface, nature can be the subject or inspiration for art and art can inspire people to get in touch with nature.  That is exactly the goal behind the IRWP Art & Nature Camp for ages 8-11: get children in touch with nature and let them be inspired by it.

painting wooden salamandersCampers paint wood salamanders during Art & Nature Camp.

There is plenty of nature to be inspired by here at the Watershed Sanctuary.  Since my last post about the Ozark trillium here at the Sanctuary, I have come across some other very cool plants including spiderwort, blue-eyed-grass, trumpet honeysuckle, passionflower (blooming now), and wild petunia, pictured below.


Fringeleaf Wild Petunia (Ruellia humilis)

A few species of frogs and toads were calling most of the spring, and I recently witnessed a red-eared slider (turtle) laying eggs in a hole she dug near the lake.  And that is just what I have witnessed during the day before the sun sets and the grey bats emerge from the cave where the spring comes out.

It is hard to believe we are already half-way through our four weeks of summer camps throughout June and July.  The children have worked on a variety of cool projects from painting birdhouses and creating pictures out of natural materials, to learning about water quality and fishing.  The children in the first week even got to see an Ozark cave fish that ended up in the waterway below the cave.  Nature abounds at the Watershed Sanctuary and there are neat things to see year-round.

Learning OpportunityStudents learn that only .00003% of our world’s water supply is fresh potable water during the activity “Drop in a Bucket.”

Discover the Illinois River Watershed through the Arts this summer!

The IRWP staff will conduct four weeks of Art and Nature Camps for kids ages 8 yrs to 12 yrs old. Morning activities include Art & Nature projects with IRWP Artist-in-Residence, Becky Christenson and Brenda Laney.  Afternoon activities involve outdoor adventure and science programs with IRWP staff.  Sign ups are for one week of camp, which will be held at the IRWP Watershed Sanctuary and Learning Center in Cave Springs. Visit for registration and more details.

$40 per child, per week

WEEK 1: June 8-12

WEEK 2: June 22-26

WEEK 3: July 13-17

WEEK 4: July 27-31

IRWP Summer Camp CrewCamp Leaders & IRWP Team (L to R): Merscedez, Chas, Erin, Jordan, Campbell


Additional Resources

Drop in the Bucket Student Activity

IRWP Watershed Learning Center