Campers practice casting their reels into the water with the Division of Marine Fisheries.
A camper grins as he shows off a crab exoskeleton he found on the beach.

Welcome to week five of Hill to Harbor Discovery Camp. This week we took campers to Peddocks Island, which is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. This week we worked with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to teach kids about the marine life in the harbor and some new useful skills.  

To get to the island we took the boat, the Columbia Point. The campers enjoyed the ride and listened aptly to safety instructions. For some, it was their very first ride on a boat! Many were nervous at first but were more relaxed on our way back. After the boat ride we got ready for many fun activities, but the order would differ from group to group. All groups would get the chance to practice casting on the beach, with the help of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The fishing rod had rubber weights at the end to prevent any accidents. The kids really loved this activity, but a frequent issue was the unwillingness to share fishing rods. To make this activity work we divided into two groups and had one group practice fishing first. The other group learned how to make clinch knots and identify the fish frequently found in Boston Harbor.   

The other activity of the week was learning camping skills, particularly how to build a tent. We would start off with showing the campers step-by-step how to build their tents. Then breaking off into small groups with a YCC (Youth Conservation Corps member), ranger, or counselor they raced to put their tents up. This went smoothly and the kids had a lot of fun going inside their tents! We would come back as a group and go over some rules for when we use tents and teach campers how to disassemble them. This was a bit of a challenge because the campers were struggling to regroup after having so much fun. Eventually we would finish demonstrating the disassembly, then send the campers back to disassemble the tent themselves.  

Finally, it was lunch time! After lunch we would give campers a choice, they could stay at the beach or explore more of the island through a guided nature walk. Most of the groups chose to stay at the beach but there were a couple of groups that went through the walk. The nature walk helped them learn about the animals and plants that live on Peddocks Island. At the beach the campers could skip rocks and look for crab shells. 

After our long day, our trip was over and we headed to the boat to take us back to Long Wharf. For many of these campers, it is their first time doing some of the activities we do during camp. Through these trips with the National Parks of Boston there are many opportunities for campers to try new things and expand their knowledge! 

Camper Quotes:

“I’m crying because I’m having such a great day. I never want to leave!”

“Aren’t you a ranger or something? You’re supposed to know all the animals.”

“I love it here. I wish we could live here with all the beautiful nature.”

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