Foothills Conservancy Our Big Backyard camp photo

Pictured are students who attended a previous camp.

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina will hold its third summer camp, Our Big Backyard, June 15-19 at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Office — Burke County Center, who partners with the land trust to present the camp.

Over the camp’s five-day course, campers will pick blueberries, learn about water quality through scientific testing, create nature-inspired artwork, catch and release native fish, explore Lake James State Park, learn about educational and recreational resources in downtown Morganton and enjoy other fun outdoor activities.

Created in 2018, the Our Big Backyard traveling day camp immerses children age 6-10 in the outdoors while also increasing their environmental literacy through fun, educational activities.

“We are so fortunate to have the resources and support to host this program for the third year in a row,” said Beth Willard-Patton, the conservancy’s associate director. “Seeing children learn about our natural world while engaging in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics) education is exciting and fulfilling. We are confident that our 2020 camp will be the best year yet!”

OBB also focuses on physical fitness and healthy eating, as campers are provided a healthy meal and snacks each day.

Campers will be dropped off and picked up each day from the facility at 130 Ammons Drive, Morganton. Other partners for 2020 include TOSS, Brown Mountain Beach Resort, Environmental Quality Institute, Wildlife Resources Commission, Downtown Morganton, Lake James State Park and Bigfoot Climbing Gym.

“Our community partners are crucial to the success of OBB,” said Sophie Shelton, conservancy development coordinator for Foothills Conservancy. “Through interactions with various partners, our campers receive quality programming that is both developed and implemented by an expert in a particular field. This collaboration has been a great way for summer campers to make new and unique connections with their environment.”

OBB is funded by grants, private gifts and in-kind donations of local businesses. The conservancy has received support from The Conservation Fund’s Creating New Economies Fund (a collaboration with Kate B. Reynolds) and the Burke Women’s Fund.

Foothills Conservancy is accepting applications for the weeklong camp, which costs $100 per camper, though scholarships are available to assist with or cover the cost.

To request a space, visit and complete the online application by May 1. The camp is not first-come-first-serve, and participants are chosen by a selection committee.

For more information, call Beth Willard-Patton or Sophie Shelton at 828-437-9930.

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