The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

Learning From Nature and Children in Summer Camps

Posted by
Joslyn Primicias
| August 24, 2022 | Filed under: Program Reports
Joslyn Primicias, 2022 camp assistant at the Wells Reserve, observes a fritillary butterfly on the palm of her hand.

This summer I had the privilege to work as the camp assistant at the Wells Reserve through my internship as a NOAA Hollings Scholar.

I have lived in the South my whole life. While growing up in the beauty of Tennessee has strengthened my love for the environment, being landlocked has strengthened my desire to explore the shore. Assisting with education programs in Maine has been the perfect fit for me.

Camp and Children's Well-Being

As a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga studying environmental science, I have grown especially interested in the impact of humans evolving away from our connection to the planet, and specifically in the concept of nature deficit disorder.

To explore this concept through the Wells Reserve camps, I involved campers and their parents in a research project called “Fostering a Sense of Wonder: Promoting Experiential Learning through Outdoor Discoveries on the Coast of Maine.'' 

The goal of my study was to understand how nature exposure and environmental education in estuarine ecosystems influence the well-being of children. I distributed questionnaires to the children and their parents/guardians, both prior to and after the children’s participation in camp. The surveys quantified parents' perceptions of their children’s behavior, along with the children’s perception of the environment. In comparing responses, I found an overall increase in average scores after exposure to camp. While this was a limited study, it suggests a positive outcome for children participating in environmental camp.

What's Next?

Throughout this summer I have learned just as much from the campers as they have from me, if not more. I have loved being a camper right alongside them and am filled with joy as I work to “foster a sense of wonder” and connection with nature in young lives.

After completing my degree in environmental science, I hope to follow a career that works to enhance human’s perceptions of our environment and work immersed as a steward for our ecosystems.

After being a part of this caring team, I've gained a deeper appreciation for the work done here at the Wells Reserve and for environmental stewards everywhere who are devoting their days to our planet. I am extremely grateful for this wonderful opportunity to spend a summer in Wells to explore curiosity and make discoveries in nature.


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