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The Parklands

Summer Camp: Connecting a New Generation to the Outdoors

School is out, summer is here, and that means one thing for The Parklands education department: Summer Camp! In 2018, The Parklands offers eight weeks of summer camp programs for kindergarten through sixth grade students. Topics range from Wilderness Explorers and Paddle the Parklands to Grossology and Water Warriors. The goal of Parklands Summer Camps is to introduce kids to their local landscape through outdoor recreation. Campers hike, fish, canoe, creek walk, catch crawfish, and build forts all while learning about the forests, streams, wetlands, and meadows they are interacting with. There is no better way to learn about how ecosystems function than to experience them up close and personal by wading in the stream, catching a crawfish, or walking through the forest.

“My favorite thing about camp is catching crawfish with nets!” (and safely putting them back, of course)


Camp topics this summer have changed to incorporate even more fun into outdoor learning. In Grossology, camp students will make edible animal scat that teaches them how to identify what animal has been using the trail. During Winged Wonders, Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky brings in live birds of prey such as bald eagles, turkey vultures, and great horned owls so students can learn about animal adaptations up close and personal. Rangers in Training camp is preparing the next generation of Parklands rangers by showing students what it takes to run a park of this scale. Students learn how trails are built, how gardens are tended, how park visitors stay safe, and how visitors are educated. Paddle the Parklands camp lets students experience Floyds Fork in a new way, floating through this diverse riparian ecosystem. 

“My favorite thing about camp is having fun by the water. I love to dig and we even made a pool
hotel for fish to swim in and out of.”


After leaving camp, we want students to take a connection to this place with them. A connection to the forest. A connection to the stream. A connection to the meadow. A connection to the fresh air.  A connection, we hope, that brings them and their families back again and again. 

To sign your child up for summer camp or to learn more, please visit

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About the Author

Picture of Curtis Carman

Curtis Carman

As Director of Education, Curtis Carman oversees The Parklands Outdoor Classroom, promoting STEAM-based education through engaging, hands-on learning both outdoors and inside the classroom. Each year, his team of Education Specialists, Interpretive Rangers and Camp Counselors guide nearly 20,000 participants of all ages through school field trips, camps, Parklands Explorer, Junior Explorer and Wednesday Wonders. Prior to his promotion to Education Director in May of 2018, Curtis first joined The Parklands team as an Interpretive Ranger and led the department as Education Coordinator for three years. A native of Louisville and a graduate of Ballard High School, Curtis returned to his hometown after having worked as an environmental educator in Maine and Colorado at Acadia and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Curtis also served as Membership Manager at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. Curtis enjoys hiking, biking, camping and kayaking.