Important Information about Nature Camp and COVID-19

This page will be updated regularly throughout the spring.

2 April 2020

As the news seems to grow more somber by the day, our collective hearts go out to all members of the Nature Camp family who are facing anxiety these days and who are struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We hope that your health is and will remain strong.

In light of Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home executive order, which is currently scheduled to last until June 10, Nature Camp is reexamining our plans and schedule for the summer.  At the moment it appears that we may not be able to begin First Session on June 14 as we had been hoping.  The board of directors and I are exploring a range of options, and we ask your forbearance and patience as we work through those over the next couple of weeks.  We hope to be able to provide more concrete information before the end of April, by which time the progress of the pandemic and the prognosis for the future should become clearer.  We remain committed to doing everything we can to hold camp this summer, although we don’t know just what that will look like, but we will not do so unless we can be confident that we can keep campers, staff, and their families safe.

If Nature Camp is forced to close this summer because of coronavirus, we will offer full refunds of all monies paid for this year’s sessions.  We do ask that if you have a camper or campers registered for this summer, you please suspend payments at this time until further notice.

If there is a silver lining in this crisis, I think that it has offered us an opportunity to reconsider how we connect with each other in community—not simply the medium or method of connection, but the message as well.  I am still navigating with a prolonged sense of unease and bewilderment this new landscape, but I am also excited to see the new directions that we might be able to follow.  Look for more communications from Nature Camp in the days and weeks ahead, with more opportunities to connect with and learn from one another. 

I am confident that Nature Camp will emerge from this crisis a strong, vibrant, and viable organization, one that will continue to seek to fulfill our mission of fostering environmental awareness, engaging both youth and adults in exploring the natural world, inspiring a life-long love of learning, and building and sustaining a community of stewards of the Earth.  We have a phenomenally generous and supportive base of alumni, parents, campers, staff, and friends, and we are well poised to withstand this storm and even more firmly committed to providing people young and old with life-changing experiences that expand appreciation of and wonder about nature.

18 March 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic caused by a novel strain of the coronavirus continues to spread across Virginia and the United States, we wish to inform you about plans and precautions that Nature Camp is taking.  We have read and will continue to monitor information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Heath Organization, and the American Camp Association, as well as our local Health Department, insurance company, and networks of other camp professionals.  In particular, we will heed recommendations from the Virginia Department of Health for holding camp this summer.

At this time we plan to operate Nature Camp as scheduled this summer.  We will continually reassess the situation throughout the spring and maintain regular communications with you, Given the rapidity with which circumstances are changing and the uncertainty as to just what the coming weeks and months will bring, a final decision about whether to hold camp this summer will likely not be made until late May or very early June.  

We are reviewing and reexamining our procedures for opening days of sessions, our standard cleaning protocols, and our health and safety policies and will keep you updated on any changes that will affect you and your campers this summer.  We will soon be creating a special page on our website (www.naturecamp.net) where all future updates will be posted, and we will continue to disseminate information through e-mail and Facebook.

Although Nature Camp is an educational camp that seeks to promote greater appreciation for the natural world and a lifelong love of learning, our foremost responsibility will always be the safety and welfare of our participants, and we are humbled and grateful for the trust you have placed in us to take care of your campers.  Nature Camp will not operate unless we can be confident that we can maintain a safe and healthy environment for our campers, staff, and visitors.

Be well, and we fervently hope to see you this summer.