Find Adventure in the Great Outdoors

By Nora Heston Tarte

Durham Ferry’s NEW Summer Camp

New camp alert! For years, children have explored the Durham Ferry Outdoor Education Center in Manteca on classroom field trips, offering an opportunity to get outdoors and explore the Delta’s ecosystem. This year marks the first time that SJCOE has decided to include a summer camp at the Education Center with the goal of exposing more children to the great outdoors while offering a deeper look at the principles and lessons taught at Durham Ferry over a four-day camp.

“With the prevalence of video games, tablets, Netflix, and social media, children are underexposed to their local ecosystem and have not had a chance to connect and learn about this exciting and important aspect of life,” says Dean Reese, science coordinator of outdoor education and environmental literacy for SJCOE.

During camp, children entering grades 4-7 are invited to attend the Let’s Play Outside summer camp and fish on the San Joaquin River, hike along trails in the riparian ecosystem, learn archery, participate in arts and crafts, get up close and personal with nature, and enjoy many other recreational activities. All of this will be done in a classroom-sized environment, with a maximum of 30 kids at each camp.

As an added bonus, individuals knowledgeable about the great outdoors lead the camps, so kids are learning scientific concepts and other educational lessons while they explore, in addition to reaping the universal benefits of summer camp such as a sense of independence, confidence, and strong friendships. America has some amazing outdoor adventures to love and explore, you can go anywhere and everywhere and see amazing locations. Visiting websites like can show you what you could be doing in your summers with your whole family.

What Kids Gain from Spending Time in Nature

  • Physical activity
  • Fresh air
  • Better coordination, balance, and agility
  • Language skills
  • Social skills
  • Creative play
  • Problem-solving
  • Observational skills
  • Connection to nature
  • Environmental awareness and ethics
  • Science concepts
  • Math concepts