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Local places get kids active during break
Elachee camp teaches about outdoors, crafts
Jessica Bell, a naturalist at Elachee Nature Center, stands with an amelanistic corn snake. She takes the snakes out for birthday parties, special programs and camp. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan

Just because kids are out of school for the holidays doesn’t mean they have to stop learning.

The Elachee Nature Science Center is holding a three-day Winter Holiday Camp for kindergartners and elementary school students Wednesday through Jan. 4.

Counselors will lead campers through educational activities and on hikes along Walnut Creek through the 1,500-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

"(The camp) is just a way to get outside and see what the season change has brought to the Chicopee," said Angela Belanger, Camp Director for Elachee Nature Science Center.

Belanger said campers will learn about hibernation and the effect winter has on plants, trees and birds.

A blow-up astronomy lab will allow participants to view the constellations of the wintry night sky, and counselors will teach them how to identify constellations prominent in the winter months.

Campers will also have the opportunity to learn about the American Indian culture and how early settlers kept warm in shelters during the winter.

No children’s camp is complete without craft time, and the Winter Holiday Camp is no different. Belanger has many craft activities planned, including snow globes, birdhouse ornaments and telescopes. Campers will also have the opportunity to plant bulbs and learn green thumb tricks to make them sprout quickly.

"Parents will know their kids are having fun and exploring nature," Belanger said. "It will get the kids out of the house and they’ll get to meet new people."

Registration for the January Elachee Winter Holiday Camp closes Friday.