Camp Aims to Preserve Nature and Educate Children

Local News

A site that once served as a Girl Scout Camp in the 1940’s is undergoing changes.

Today Idea Public Schools announced Camp Rio. A site that will serve the Rio Grande Valley by preserving nature while educating.

It’s an initiative to use a historic site for education. The historic Lula Sams is now Camp Rio. It’s an acquisition by Idea Public Schools for young students. Here they’ll enjoy kayaking, archery, information with educational lessons in mind.

Dr. Patrick Burchfield, Former Camp Owner says, “A lot of people don’t realize, but 70% of the children of the Rio Grande Valley never leave the valley. An outdoors experience like this and teaching environmental stewardship and teaching people what we have is critical.”

Nancy Pattillo Mance, Camp Director said, “We’re finding kids have a deficit of being outdoors. They don’t understand nature. A lot of them are scared of ants, and flies, and bugs and wasps, it’s because they don’t have exposure.”

In an age of smartphones and tablets, Camp Rio hopes to teach children in a unique way. It’s open not just for students in Idea Public Schools, but also for school groups across the Rio Grande Valley.

Studies have shown it’s good for their health. It improves their academics. There are any number of reasons. Then of course there are some economic benefits with outdoor recreation that brings dollars into the local economy.

This camp will forever be used as a conservation ecology laboratory for the kids. 

The site now hosts 3rd to 5th grade students. It is said to accommodate around 150 students at a time.

There are plans to have the site open to the public for week long summer camps.

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