Nature’s Engineers: Monday-Friday

Welcome to our first ever Nature’s Engineers Summer Camp. We look forward to a week of fun STEAM activities as we learn about engineers in nature.


Happy Monday! We kicked off this beautiful Monday with the Yellow Pepper group leading us through flag ceremony. We learned about working together, sharing jobs, and supporting our community. Great job Yellow Peppers!

Then it was off to chores. The yellow peppers got to hangout with the chickens and then the Green peppers went to hangout with the rabbits.

Then off to our wagon ride! We saw some deer in the back hay field! 

Then time to head over to the garden to harvest some veggies. We snacked on beans, tomatoes, and carrots! Lots of yumms all around! 

Next it was time to tie dye. Many campers could not wait to see their t shirt design before they left, looking forward to seeing them all on Friday!

After lunch we had a special guest Mr. Clay talk all about bees, one of Tollgates favorite Nature Engineers. After his fun presentation and tasty honey snack we got to become bee’s and learn about pollination. 

Now that we are bee experts we took the bee shape of choice, the hexagon, to the test and built marshmallow toothpick towers incorporating a hexagon to all our structures. 

Today went by so fast! Can’t wait to have more fun tomorrow! 


Nature’s Water Engineers. Beavers, Dams, and Bridges! 

Kicked off the morning with the green peppers hosting the flag ceremony! Awesome work green peppers! 

After flag ceremony it was time for chores. Yellow peppers got to milk a goat and hangout with the bunnies and the Green peppers got to hangout with the chickens! 

After chores we headed to the garden to engineer a Scarecrow with Ms. Nancy. We wanted to keep our corn safe from the birds and I think both scarecrows are going to do an amazing job! We even snuck some garden snacks while we were out there. 

Then it was time to learn about beavers and dams. We went for a pond/dam walk, discussed the pros and cons of dams, and then constructed and tested our own. I think overall all the dams were really effective at their job! 

Bonus excitement was the CSA compost truck stopped by for a visit and we all got to witness a large dump of compost get dropped off. This compost will supply the fruits and vegetables growing on the farm with the nutrition they need to grow big and strong. 

After lunch we worked on our STEAM project of building a hurricane proof house. Lots of good ideas coming to life. Can’t wait to see the finished product Friday! 

Next, we headed over to the pond for casting practice. We learned about the Tollgate way of casting lines and we look forward to all the campers fishing tomorrow! 

After casting practice it was time to head to the forest for a bridge hunt. We found some amazing bridges, natural and man made, however the mosquitoes were out and ready for blood so we needed to move fast! 

Such a fun/busy day today! See you all tomorrow! 


Happy Wednesday! Today we started the day with the Yellow peppers hosting flag ceremony. After flag it was time to do some chores and a few special visits to the other animals we necessary!

Today was a lot about eggs and how incredibly fragile yet incredible strong they are. We talked about their shape, their uses, and how that shape is used all over the engineering world. From a team building teeter totter activity to trying to break an egg with our elbow pit to seeing how much weight a single egg can bare (which is a lot) we went all into the engineering of eggs! 

Then we wanted to learn about Pully Systems. The simple machine Pulley is used all over from the flag pull we raise everyday to the cranes that build sky scrappers, Pulleys are highly useful! We were able to lift a load that weighed 84lbs up to the top of a tree branch with significantly less effort than it would take to pull without a pully. Although it was still really heavy it was cool to talk and learn about the science of the pulley together. 

After lunch it was time to visit the pond for fishing. We had talked about how humans engineer dams to create reservoir that are great for fishing in the summer– so that’s exactly what we did. The campers did great practicing the Tollgate method of casting and were able to catch quite a few fish before the storm blew in. 

After fishing the storms came in so we had snack, played games inside, and then it was time to go. Glad we were able to get most of the activities done before the heavy rain and lightning came in! 


Wow quite the storm we had yesterday! Todays plans quickly changed with the amount of rain we got last night. The good news is that the sun came out today so we could work with solar energy and make a delicious snack! 

A morning activity was building solar ovens so that as soon as the sun was out we were ready! We took pizza boxes, put aluminum foil around the inside and outside flap, made a plastic wrap green house and then placed a black sheet of paper on the inside to absorb the heat. Once the solar ovens were constructed we placed the s’more materials inside to get cooking in the sun. Campers were excited to see if it would really work! 

After constructing we did our daily chores where the Green Peppers got to milk a goat! 

After chores we decided to do our horse snacks because we weren’t able to do it yesterday do to the weather. We cut up fruit and veggies, mixed in molasses and oats and went out to feed the ponies! They loved it of course! 

After we were able to go out to the CSA field to visit farmer Darby to learn about how they have engineered a system to meet the needs of the tomatoes and the farmers best in their fields. 

After lunch we learned about biomimicry and how nature has inspired many everyday items like Velcro and airplanes. 

Later we played some games and then visited the CSA field again to do a carrot harvest. We were able to harvest over 100 carrots to donate to the hungry! Good job peppers! 

After carrot digging it was time to work more on our STEAM projects and put on the finishing touches. From the looks and the tests I have a feeling we are going to have some pretty tough hurricane houses!

Last but surely not least it was time to taste our solar S’mores. From the outside window they look melty and delicious. Ill just let you see the pictures to determine if the campers enjoyed them or not. 

Another amazing day! Hard to believe tomorrow is already Friday! Cant wait to see all the wonderful t shirts tomorrow! 


Happy Friday! Started the day with the Green peppers hosting the final flag ceremony of the week! 

After, we decided to go fishing one more time because one group ran out of worms and the other hit a storm on Wednesday and it was Ms. Alex’s last day and its her favorite activity. Not nearly as successful as Wednesday but still great to do! 

Then it was animal chores. Campers request was to say goodbye to them all! 

After chores we headed over to the children’s garden for games and snack. 

Then after lunch it was time to do the finishing touches on our STEAM projects! I think everyone is about ready for the final test! 

The last activity of the day was designing nature shelters but because of the bad mosquitos we needed an activity with more movement. We went on a nature hike and ended up building and exploring some bridges out there. 

To wrap up the week we tested our houses against extreme winds, flooding and falling trees and most homes stayed fairly intact and safe given the conditions. This has been a really great week of camp! Thank you all for joining Nature’s Engineers! 

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