RUSKIN – It’s that time of year again. With cheers from parents and groans from kids, back to school time is but a few weeks away.
But the classroom isn’t the only place to learn.
At Camp Bayou’s 7th annual Back-to-School, Back-to-Nature event, kids and parents can learn about nature – everything from frogs to fauna – on the 160-acre nature preserve.
The all-volunteer, outdoor learning center will feature “nature stations” for all school-aged kids to learn about Florida’s critters and their habitats. At each station, children can pick up school supplies in preparation for the upcoming school year. Those registered will receive raffle tickets for a chance to win additional school items, including backpacks, journals, lunch bags and more. Drawings will take place every 30 minutes.
While at the event, families can enjoy Camp Bayou’s walking trails, butterfly habitat, birds, fossil pit and more.
The back-to-school event is free and will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Camp Bayou is located three miles south of State Road 674 at 4202 24th St. SE, Ruskin.
To prepare for the number of children attending, organizers request that families register online at www.campbayou.org.
Dolly Cummings, Camp Bayou’s volunteer director for the past 15 years, is committed to having everyone enjoy Florida’s beauty.
“I have always loved the outdoors,” she said. “And I want to make sure the next generation has the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature.”
Beyond Back-to-School, Back-to-Nature, residents can enjoy Camp Bayou every Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for wildlife-watching, nature photography and trail walks. Admission is always free.
Camp Bayou Outdoor Learning Center is a public-private partnership between Bayou Outdoor Learning and Discovery Inc. and Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation.
Elaine Speer is a freelance writer who can be reached at [email protected]