Reflection of Summer Lunches

Written by Chad Thomack
    Friday, 21 October 2016
Reflection of Summer Lunches

Even though we are a few months into the school year, I can’t help but reflect on my summer as a camp leader. Think of this as a preview of what your friends and family could look forward to next year.

The theme that sticks out most for me and my summer was my lunches. Yep, I said it, lunch. Last year I ate lunch outside at over 20 different places in Milwaukee. I am not talking about your local restaurants. I am talking packing up a lunch and driving, biking, hiking or paddling to our lunch destination.

My first week of camp brought me out to Wyalusing State Park on the Mississippi River just south of Prairie Du Chien for our first ever Fish and Float camp. For middle school students, this camp includes a couple nights of sleeping under the stars. What an adventure it was! We took boundary-breaking night hikes, fished on the back waters of the Wisconsin River and swam in the Mississippi River, all in just two days!

During another camp, we explored the city on bike. We started every morning at the Menomonee Valley branch, but we would eat lunch there only on day one. I shared with this group of middle school students that the more responsible they were, the more freedoms they’d get. They blew my mind with their respect for me and our guidelines. Every day we got our bikes and gear ready and left for the day, rain or shine. We biked almost 15-miles a day exploring Lincoln, Kletzsch, Estabrook, Jacobus, Doyne, Hart, Hoyt, Lakeshore and Three Bridges Parks. We also toured the Milwaukee VA historic grounds. All within a week!

The Outdoor Detectives camp brought me back to Riverside Park but only for a day. For this 3rd and 4th grade camp, we picked a park to explore, grabbed our exploration gear and off we’d go. Lion’s Den Gorge (state natural area near Grafton) was our most exciting adventure. Trails take you along the bluffs of Lake Michigan giving us views of blue Gatorade-colored water and down to the beach for more exploration, rock skipping and fun.

Summer at the Urban Ecology Center is certainly very busy with the addition of all the campers who come here to explore the natural world for a week-long camp. Check out the camps we will be starting in June 2017 and maybe your child will be able to enjoy lunch somewhere different next summer.

Chad Thomack

Chad Thomack

Chad Thomack, Environmental Educator, has been a staff member of the Urban Ecology Center for over 15 years.  Chad received a biology/wildlife degree from UW Stevens Point and has been teaching about nature ever since.  His hobbies include outdoor adventures like kayaking, mountain biking, trail running and cross country skiing, as well as exercising, reading, playing video games, journaling and gardening.


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