Eco pirates invade Springbrook Nature Center

Pirates might be a hot topic of the hour but Springbrook Nature Center had its swashbuckling capers in a row long before the pirate frenzy took hold as the diversion du jour.

Andrew Kim gets a swinging ride with the help of his teammates the Crunch Berries at Springbrook Nature Center’s Eco Pirates summer camp. Photo by Elyse Kaner

Andrew Kim gets a swinging ride with the help of his teammates the Crunch Berries at Springbrook Nature Center’s Eco Pirates summer camp. Photo by Elyse Kaner

About 39 young campers last week morphed into arrrr!-declaring pirates with a penchant for the outdoors in Springbrook’s Eco Pirates camp.

“It’s always been a popular camp, but never this big,” said Chrissy Mendelson, Springbrook’s camp coordinator.

This is about the eighth year the pirate camp has been offered at the center.

The idea is to immerse the kids in nature, to help them appreciate it. A skill they can take with them throughout their lives, Mendelson said.

Among the activities for the week, the pirate protégés learned to read maps, navigate a rope ladder to a make-believe ship’s crow’s nest, and build and sail ships on a pond in the week-long afternoon camp for six- to eight-year-olds.

Team Fried Pickles, The Crunch Berries and The Nose Hairs (names suggested by the nascent pirates) learned team work Aug. 1 as part of their activities.

The pirates held hands as they helped each other scale a thin board (plank), they played pirate soccer and together, with a rope and pulley tied to a tree, they hoisted a fellow pirate sitting on a wooden swing high into the air to get a bird’s eye glimpse of Springbrook.

Eco pirate Sam Roerick enjoyed the quick ride.

“I like when you go up and when you go down, you go super fast. It’s kind of fun,” he said.

In other activities, the pirates built shelters out of sticks, leaves and rocks, decorated pirate headbands, listened to a pirate story and went on a treasure hunt.

“Kids really like to use their imaginations,” said Tara Rogness, Springbrook camp counselor and naturalist.

“It’s fun to come to a camp to encourage that kind of thing.”

For more information, visit www.springbrooknaturecenter.org or call 763-572-3588.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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