The last stop on the Sustainable Camps Road Trip was Camp High Rocks an all boys summer camp located in Cedar Mountain, North Carolina. Don Gentle, one of the camp directors at Camp High Rocks showed me around the camp facility as we discussed the principles of sustainability. While I was in Western North Carolina, I visited three camps who each demonstrated sustainability in unique ways.
The mountain biking program at Camp High Rocks was quite impressive with the number of bikes and the shop area used to maintain the bikes. By using mountain bikes, campers are able to cover a great deal more distance while having fun riding a bicycle. In the camping world we often discuss the outcomes which result from intentional programming. Campers are getting exercise, seeing a lot more than they could on foot and learning proper cycling and bike maintenance skills.
There are two small gardens at Camp High Rocks. One of the gardens is full of beautiful flowers and lots of herbs that the kitchen can use. The other garden is maintained by the horse staff which has been coined, “The Garden of Eatin”. Gardens don’t have to be overwhelming if you start simple and take into consideration what it’s purpose. Either way remember to start small, but dream big. I’ve seen a lot of small herb gardens that provide a way to easily integrate fresh and locally grown herbs into food service.
I also liked the small rain water catchment system that is being used to water one of the small garden plots behind the arts and crafts shed. A simple system like this can cost as little as $50 or less if you can source a barrel. There are many conversation points that a rain barrel can engage a group on a range of topics. As mentioned in an earlier post, it’s important to consider the age appropriateness of the message that you are sharing. For younger campers you might consider simply explaining that you are catching and storing rain water to water the garden. Older campers could explore topics from ground water aquifers to the math equations to calculate how much water can be collected from a roof. Some of these concepts may not fit within the mission and goals of your organization, but it demonstrates the rich learning opportunities presented by sustainable systems at a camp.
A huge thank you to Don Gentle and the staff of Camp High Rocks for the opportunity to visit with you and learn about your camp programming and facility.
Visits like this one were made possible by Donations to the Sustainable Camps Road Trip.
Your donations will help cover basic expenses for the trip including meals, camping reservations and trees that will be planted to offset the carbon emissions resulting from the 4,250 miles driven during the tour.