Nature Day Camp at the Yakima Area Arboretum

What better way for your child to spend their summer than outside in the fresh air and sun at Yakima Area Arboretum's Nature Day Camp!

Here you can find information on Nature Day Camp, how we will be maintaining a safe and fun environment in the COVID era, and how to register for your child's weeks of camp. Please keep in mind during this time and through the summer, we will be following any and all guidelines set forth by local and state health officials.

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Our 2019 Nature Day Camp Kids

Nature Day Camp During COVID and What We Are Doing to Protect Our Staff, Campers, and Their Families

The health and welfare of our campers, staff, and their families attending our camp is at the forefront of all our decision making to ensure an enriching and safe camp experience. The plan below outlines our commitment to the safety and well-being of all included parties during Nature Day Camp (NDC) and the steps we will be taking to mitigate the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19.

This document was created in accordance with guidelines set forth in:

Centers for Disease Control: Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps | CDC

WA Department of Health: DOH-OSPI-DYCF-SchoolsChildCareGuidance.pdf (

American Camp Association: Field Guide for Camps | American Camp Association (

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The Yakima Area Arboretum is committed to offering first rate environmental education to people of all ages. We believe that facilitating positive outdoor experiences while developing an understanding of local ecology yields a powerful and lasting educational experience that helps to create a more informed, sensitive, and thoughtful citizen.

Through our Nature Day Camp Program we strive to provide a collaborative learning environment that blends the arts, sciences, and playfulness, that actively engages the hearts, hands, and minds of our students.

Campers will spend their days outdoors, exploring, conducting experiments, gathering and documenting information, listening to stories, playing games, climbing, walking, building, observing, collecting, getting dirty, wet, and so much more. At the end of the day your camper will arrive home tired, a little messy and full of stories about their adventures and will be eager to do it all again the next day.

Our camp themes help guide the games, lessons, activities, and exploration of each camp week. Themes will also help focus the camp towards your child’s interest and add variety for our multi-week campers. However, nature being nature, we also reserve the right to switch it up a bit if a unique opportunity presents itself, i.e. taking the time to literally stop and smell the roses during Survivor, or sitting quietly and listening to the American bullfrog bellow his tune during Arts and Crafts week. As we like to say, “There is always something new to do and view at the Arboretum.”

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Changes to Nature Day Camp for 2021

This year brings many new challenges and new opportunities to Nature Day Camp. Below is a list of some of our major changes for 2021 compared to previous years of camp so you have a better idea on what this year's Nature Day Camp will look like:

  • Cost is $200 per week for YAA Members, $220 for Non-Members
  • Staggered pickup/drop off times and new pick-up/drop-off procedures to reduce crowding.
  • Shorter camp periods (5.5 hours instead of 6) to ensure we are able to follow sanitation requirements and accommodate new pick-up/drop-off schedule.
  • Smaller groups sizes per camp.
  • There will not be any offsite "River Days" this year.
  • We will not be able to offer before- or after-camp care for 2021.

2021 Schedule & Camp Themes:

Camper grade is based on camper's 2021-2022 school year grade!

1st - 3rd Grade Camps will run from 9:00am to 2:30pm

4th - 7th Grade Camps will run from 9:30am to 3:00pm

Explorers (1st-3rd) and Survivors (4th-7th)

Kids learn the basics of what it takes to explore the wilderness and some basic survival techniques. Both groups will learn the basics of what to bring on a trip in the wilderness and what to do if you're lost. Explorers will focus on what to look for while walking (plants, wildlife, safety, etc.) through games, creature features, and projects. Survivors will create a survival shelter, learn about ways to get clean water, learn what’s needed to build a fire, and how identify native plants and animals. Survivor is our most popular camp!

Week 1- June 14 to June 18

Week 7- July 26 to July 30

Week 10- August 16 to August 20

Art and Nature (1st-3rd) and Creature Creations (4th-7th)  

Campers will be inspired to create natural art and recreate engineering feats found in the natural world. Art and Nature campers will use natural materials to use for art projects which may include making their own creatures, wind chimes, and other fun projects with natural materials that they will get to take home. Creature Creations campers will learn from lessons that can include making "owl pellets" to dissect at home, "bird nest" weaving, and more.

Week 2- June 21 to June 25

Week 6- July 19 to July 23

Week 8- August 2 to August 6

Leap, Slither, and Crawl (1st-3rd) and Call, Growl, and Howl (4th-7th)

Explore the creatures of the Yakima Area Arboretum. Younger campers spend their days looking for smaller creatures that might be leaping, slithering, or crawling through the grounds and trees. Older campers learn about larger and stealthier animals, focusing on their sounds and identifying their tracks.

Week 3- June 28 to July 2

Week 5- July 12 to July 16

Week 9- August 9 to August 13

*NEW* Funky Forests (1st-3rd and 4th-7th)

Campers learn about what goes on in our forests. Both groups will learn the basics of what makes up our forests and what the trees there can tell us! They’ll learn about how forest fires move through terrain, what you can find in the forest above and below ground, and the effects of removing too many trees from the landscape!  

Week 4- July 5 to July 9


Questions, Comments, Concerns?


Garrett Brenden

Nature Day Camp Director

(509) 248-7337