Since 2007, Wild Birds Unlimited has teamed up with the National Audubon Society to provide scholarships for Pathways to Nature for Kids camps. Locally, the weeklong camps are held at Aullwood Audubon Farm and Nature Center in Butler Twp., which receives 11 scholarships from Wild Birds Unlimited each year.
The children of Dayton View Triangle residents Rhonda and Michael Watts — Ryland, Xavier and Soren — have been scholarship recipients for three summers.
“Our children, who attend Dayton Early College Academy now, used to attend Meadowdale PreK-8, and a teacher there told me about the scholarships,” said Rhonda. “We’ve applied each year since, and they’ve received scholarships – they really look forward to the camps.”
This year, the children attended camps July 14-18; Soren, 7, was in Hog Wild, while 11-year-old Xavier and 13-year-old Ryland attended Backyard Farmers.
“I liked giving the pigs a bath, but I got kind of dirty,” said Soren. “And, I liked feeding them watermelon and lettuce. We made pigs in a blanket for a snack, and, on the last day, we made and wore pigs’ noses. We hiked to the nature center and looked for bugs in the pond. I’m sorry it’s over.”
“I like animals and don’t mind getting dirty,” said Xavier, who noted that “farm chores are hard. We also caught tadpoles, examined them, then let them back into the creek. And, we found out that if you can’t drink cow’s milk, you can drink goat’s milk. I like being outside at Aullwood.”
Ryland also enjoys the outdoor experiences. “They don’t just lecture in a class; they let us walk, see and touch things so we really get to experience what we’re learning.
Nationwide, about 200 children a year are able to attend the camps through Birds Unlimited scholarships.
“We’ve run summer adventure camps for second- to eighth graders for a number of years, and are very happy to have this support from Birds Unlimited,” said Aullwood’s environmental education specialist Nicole Conrad.
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