Muddy buddies

For area kids, that final bell on the last day of school is the sound of freedom. Summer has started, and it's time to kick back, forget about homework and stash the backpack in the closet. But for Durango Nature Studies, that bell means it's time to ramp up the education and the fun. Now in its 10th year, the Durango Nature Studies Junior Naturalist Field Camp hosts kids from first to sixth grades on explorations in the great outdoors. Running throughout the summer, the camps include days filled with wilderness survival, water studies, and flora and fauna. Of course, there is plenty of good-old messy fun worked in, with lessons on erosion with real mud and studies of geology using jelly sandwiches. The sessions are four days each, promising plenty of exploration, friend making and fist bumps when it’s time to say goodbye.

Eric Peterson wants to give you a hug.

Mia Sholes exfoliating her hand.

Tava Gilpin, Grace Hladik and Scarlett Ramsey work on an erosion-proof hillside.
After a mock rainstorm, Olivia Landrum tries making the slope erosion proof.
Tava Gilpin holds up her exploding jelly volcano
A simulated heavy rain demonstrating how nature creates erosion
Spencer Zogg and Austin Blake eat the fruits of their jelly volcanoes