Animal Camp Week 2- Day 5

Hello campers and families!

Sorry for not writing a blog post yesterday. The internet went down on the farm.

Friday was so much fun!

Meet the blue peppers! They loved gardening this week!

Meet the red peppers! They loved building nests at the pond! 

Meet the orange peppers! They loved hiking in the woods!

Meet the yellow peppers! They loved playing games in the children’s garden!

Meet the green peppers! They loved singing songs on the wagon ride!

Campers enjoyed horse back riding Thursday and Friday. Each group took a turn in the corral with the horses.

Are horses ruminants? How can you tell?

This horse was running around on a lead rope.  After running, the horse had an increased pulse. The blue peppers took her pulse using a stethoscope. 

How many times does the average horse heart beat per minute?

How do you measure horses? With hands! A hand is approximately 4 inches. This horse is approximately 15 hands tall from hoof to withers (shoulder).

Who puts shoes on a horse? Why is it important for a horse to have horse shoes?

Horses like to roll in the dirt as much as a clean dog.

The teen volunteers led “fishy story.” The story tells of a fish traveling down a river contaminated with fertilizer, oil from a parking lot, trash, and other pollutants.

How did the fish feel in a polluted habitat?

The pepper groups enjoyed a wagon ride in the afternoon!

The campers learned “repeat after me” songs.

The campers built the nests all week for STEM. Then this afternoon they dropped an egg in the nest to see if the egg would survive a fall. 

Did your camper’s egg survive the drop? What materials made durable nests? What materials were more likely to break an egg when dropped?

In garden kitchen, campers made ricotta cheese with tomato/basil sauce and spider oat bites.

The green pepper group picked tomatoes in the garden. The campers washed the produce before using it in the kitchen.

Here are the recipes:

Morning: Homemade Ricotta

4 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
2 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

Line strainer with a couple of damp paper towel or cheesecloth and set inside of a large bowl. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, milk, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes, then pour into the strainer and let drain for 20 minutes.

Afternoon: Assemble homemade ricotta on bread slices with tomato sauce and basil.

Tomato Sauce

3 tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 onion
½ cup fresh basil leaves

Heat oil on a medium saucepan. Add the onion, and cook over moderate heat until it is translucent 5-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the tomatoes with their juice. Season with salt and pepper and add basil. Cook for about 20-30 minutes and adjust seasonings if desired.

Optional step: pass the sauce through a blender or food processor. To serve, reheat gently.

Spider Oat Bites

1 cup oats
2/3 cup coconut flakes
½ cup nut butter/sunflower seed butter
½ cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ/bran
½ cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever sizes you would like. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week. Makes 20-25 balls.

Here are additional photos from the week:

Have a great weekend!

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Animal Camp Week 2- Day 3

Hello campers and families!

Today we learned about birds at animal camp!

Campers dissected a chicken egg. How many shell layers are in an egg?

See the yolk. Why is the yolk important for a baby chicken?

This group looked at a diagram of an egg to find all of the parts.

All of the pepper groups spent time with the chickens to observe their behavior. Where are the comb and waddle on a hen? Why do chickens have combs and waddles?

Chickens cannot sweat and have combs and waddles to help them regulate their body temperature.

Can chickens see more colors or fewer colors than humans? (more- they see ultra violet colors as well)

How many days does it take for a fertilized egg to hatch? (21)

In the garden, campers looked for potatoes to harvest. Potatoes are tubers and grow off of the roots of the potato plant. Onions are similar to potatoes and the edible part is the root. How to raspberry plants make seeds?

Corn seeds are located in the corn kernels. 

Tomato seeds are located in the fruit as well. Do we eat the tomato seeds?

The flowers on the squash turn into the squash fruit. The seeds are located in the fruit.

The campers played a game called wrens and jays. The campers pretending to be wrens hid a cup and gathered as many eggs as possible. The jays hunted the nests of the wrens. 

Where is a good location to hide a nest?

Did your camper use any strategies to avoid the jays? One camper stopped at other bushes before placing her egg in the cup to avoid the jay finding her nest. Did the jays use an strategies to find the wrens’ nests? 

The campers went on a hike to find animal habitats in nature. 

The blue peppers hiked to the big oak tree in the hay field. What animals enjoy shade from this tree?

Why are bird feathers hollow inside? One, this helps keep the bird light enough to fly. Two, the hollow middle allows for air to travel up and down the feather for temperature control- warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

The campers found deer tracks in the mud. Which was was the deer traveling?

Who lives in this habitat?

Who benefits from a home in the high tree branches?

Who has a home in the forest?

What critters live in the vernal pool?

Does this vernal pool have different critter than the one pictured above?

Here are the garden kitchen recipes from today:

Golden Nuggets with homemade ketchup

Morning: Prepare golden nuggets

1 can chickpeas (or any light colored bean), drained, rinsed, and mashed
½ cup rolled oats
¼ cup gluten-free flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
Seasonings to taste such as rosemary, thyme, sage (optional)
Panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs (for coating nuggets)

Mix ingredients together well. Roll into balls and flatten into nuggets. Coat breadcrumbs over nuggets and place them on a baking tray with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes then flip and bake for 10 more minutes. Allow nuggets to cool before eating.

Afternoon: Make homemade ketchup

1 cup tomato paste
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
Sea salt to taste (optional)

Here are additional photos from today:

Have a great evening!


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Animal Camp Week 2- Day 2

Welcome to animal camp day 2!

Today campers learned about vermicompost. Vermi in Latin means worm. All of the pepper groups worked together to make a worm compost bin using newspaper, water, fruit and vegetables scraps, and worms. Why can’t dairy products go in the vermicompost?

The blue pepper group found worm eggs in the old compost bin. What does this tell us about the environment? Are the worms healthy?

Campers learned about good worms (vermicompost worms) and bad worms (parasites) on the farm. What do good worms do? What do bad worms do?

Campers checked for bad worms in the goat population. They used cards with pictures of healthy goat eyes ranging to heavily parasitic goat eyes. Were the goats at Tollgate healthy? How do you know? What causes the animals to get parasites? What can we do to prevent bad worms in our animals?

Campers learned more about bacteria by playing bacteria tag. The animals wore red bandanas and ran away from the bacteria wearing purple bandanas. The animals were cured by antibiotics wearing rainbow bandanas. At the end of the game, the bacteria became antibiotic resistant and the animals were out of the game if they got tagged.

Why are antibiotics helpful for people and animals? Why does bacteria change when antibiotics are introduced?

Campers helped take care of the animals today.

The yellow peppers used the wheelbarrow to move dirty bedding from the barn into the compost pile. Good worms and other decomposers will break down the waste into fertilizer.

The orange and blue peppers enjoyed time with the chickens. The orange peppers learned how to look at a chicken’s ear and determine egg color. 

The red peppers helped feed the goats and sheep. Are goats and sheep predators or prey animals? What did campers learn about their eyes? Why are their eyes located on the sides of their head?

The pepper groups took turns in the garden today. This group harvested leeks for birds nests in garden kitchen.

This group harvested lambs quarters in one of the beds. They found other edible weeds along the way.

In the morning, peppers prepared their vegetables for birds nests in the afternoon. They also prepared a blueberry-sun butter smoothie for morning snack. 

Here are the recipes:

Morning: Blueberry-Sunbutter Smoothie

1 ½ – 2 frozen bananas
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp sunbutter
¾ cup rice milk, or milk of choice
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Add ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. If it has trouble blending, add a bit more milk. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.

Afternoon: Veggie Bird Nests

2 leeks, shredded
¼ cabbage, shredded
4-5 medium potatoes
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or gluten free flour
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, toss the cut leeks, cabbage, and potatoes to combine. Squeeze firmly 5 or 6 times to slightly wilt them. You may also choose to squeeze them over a colander to drain excess liquid, otherwise it will pool up in the bottom of the bowl.
Add the eggs, flour, salt, and pepper, and mix until well coated.
Next, heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and drizzle on enough oil that you can roll it around to coat the bottom of the pan.
Working in batches, drop around 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan, spreading it a bit to be around 4 inches in diameter. Do as many as you can fit into the pan without letting them touch.
Cook for around 4 minutes on each side, adding a bit more oil to the pan if necessary. They should be tender and a deep golden brown.
Makes approximately 24 mini birds nests

Here are additional photos from today:

See you tomorrow for another fun day learning about animals!

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Animal Camp Week 2- Day 1

Welcome to Animal Camp Week 2!

On Monday, campers meet to review CARES- Cooperation, Attitude, Respect, Empathy, and Safety. How did your camper show CARES throughout their day at camp? CARES badges will be passed around in each group throughout the week as campers are caught helping others and practicing safety. Did your camper earn a badge today?

Campers helped with animal chores throughout the morning.

This group milked a goat. Where are the goat’s eyes? In the front or on the side? Does this make the goat a predator or prey animal?

Here are the feet of one of the goats. What do the feet tell us about the goat’s digestive system? (a goat is a ruminant).

This camper brought food to the barn in the wheelbarrow. A bag of goat feed weighs about 50 pounds!

The rabbit appreciated food and water today. What does a rabbit eat? (alfalfa pellets)

This group of campers fed the chickens and collected eggs. How often does a hen lay an egg? (once every 26 hours)

The pasture coup is full of broiler chickens. These chickens do not lay eggs. What do the broiler birds eat? (grain and worms/bugs in the grass) The campers moved the coup to provide the birds with fresh bugs.

The baby goats do not get milked. The campers fed the kid goats away from the adult goats to make sure the kids ate food. 

Campers tie-dyed t-shirts today. These will be washed later in the week and sent home in back packs. Staff and campers wear their tie-dye t-shirts together on Friday.

The ruminant relay helped show how a cow and other ruminants digest food. Cows, goats, and sheep are ruminants. That means that they have 4 parts to their stomach: the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum.

Campers participated in a relay to show how food goes through a cow’s digestive system. First they added water to a bucket to represent the rumen.

Then they added bread to represent hay. The ruminant regurgitates the food from the rumen to break it down further before passing it through the reticulum. This is called “chewing cud.”

They threw the bread through the hula hoop to show hay going through the filter of the reticulum. This gets rid of rocks or debris and only lets small pieces of hay into the next part of the stomach.

The towel represented the omasum removing excess water from the hay.

The abomasum is the most similar to the human stomach. Acid (coca cola) breaks down the bread (hay) and lets the animal absorb the nutrients. 

Lastly, the hay is excreted as waste. This camper threw the bread in the trash.

After the relay, campers sang a song about the cow digestive system.

Here is a diagram of the cow digestive system.

What are vitals? Why are these important for animals around the farm?

Staff helped campers find their pulse (heart rate). Was their pulse lower or higher at rest?

Campers ran a course called gymkhana- the clover pattern for horse races. Then they took their pulse again.

The campers raced one of the counselors around the course.

What happened to their pulse after running? Were their predictions correct?

The goats enjoyed a hike with the campers this afternoon. They climbed Mt. Woodchip together!

This group of campers took the goat to the forest to walk around.

The extended project this week is ‘nest building.’ Campers observed and wondered about nests found in nature.What does your camper want to learn about nests this week?

Some groups began work on their nests. At the end of the week, campers will test their nests by dropping them from the deck in the children’s garden. What materials will protect an egg when the nest falls?

Today in garden kitchen, campers made banana cookies and pumpkin hummus.

Morning: Banana Cookies

2 ripe medium bananas
1 cup rolled oats

Optional add ins are dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, coconut flakes, sunbutter, cinnamon, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, add in the oats and continue mixing until both ingredients are fully incorporated. Scoop about a tablespoon of batter per cookie and bake 12-15 minutes until a golden color appears. Remove from the oven and allow cooling before serving.

Afternoon: Pumpkincredible Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans (cannellini or other), drained and rinsed
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 ½ – 2 tbsp tahini to taste
1 ¼ teaspoons sea salt
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
¼ rounded teaspoon allspice
1 large clove garlic
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ tsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (reserve about 2-3 tbsp for garnish)

Toast the pumpkin seeds by placing on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for several minutes (about 5-7 min) until they turn a golden color and you can smell a nutty aroma. In a food processor, add the chickpeas, white beans, pumpkin, tahini, sea salt, cumin, paprika, allspice, garlic, lime juice, and maple syrup. Puree until very smooth. Add more garlic or spices to taste, if desired. Next, add most of the pumpkin seeds (reserving a couple of tablespoons) and pulse the mixture. Transfer mixture to a serving dish, and top with remaining pumpkin seeds. Serve with whole-grain pita breads, tortilla chips, warm whole-grain bread, and more.

Here are additional photos from today:

Have a great night! See you tomorrow for day 2 of animal camp!


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Survival Camp Week 2- Day 5

We had a fun Friday at survival camp!

Meet the green peppers! They had so much fun on a wagon ride!

Today in the animal barn, red peppers milked a goat. Then they spent time with the kid goats in the barn and pasture.

The blue peppers fed the rabbits and let them out of their coup for the day.

The green peppers cleaned the barn and dumped the compost in the pile near the pasture. The yellow peppers played with the kid goats on the pool.
The green peppers spent time weeding in the garden.

The threw the weeds onto the compost pile. The decomposers in the pile appreciate new plant material.

Campers dissected sunflowers. 

They collected the sunflower seeds.

And made paper envelopes to store their seeds.

They decorated their envelopes.

And had completed packets to take home!

Campers enjoyed a tractor ride around site this afternoon.

They sang camp songs to prepare for the closing activity!The blue and green peppers combined efforts to make a shelter.

Here is the yellow shelter.

The red peppers made many small shelters. Here is one of them. Here is the orange pepper shelter. The campers enjoyed working together to construct their shelters all week! What was their favorite part about this activity? What would they do differently if they could build a new structure?

In garden kitchen, campers made mango guacamole. They also made corn tortilla chips.

Here is the recipe:

Mango Guacamole

2 medium avocados, mashed
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 fresh mango, diced
¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice to taste (about 1 lime)
Fine grain sea salt

Combine and mix ingredients into a bowl.

To prepare tortilla chips to eat with the guacamole, cut up corn tortillas into triangles and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Each pepper group worked together to make a survival camp banner.

For closing this afternoon, campers performed skits and sang songs.

Here are additional photos from the week:

Thanks for a great week at survival camp!


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