Local News

Summer Camp for Adults Not Your Average Beach Trip

Posted July 12, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Adults may get jealous about all the neat things kids get to do over the summer, but a new adult summer camp takes grown-ups into nature's backyard.

UNC-Wilmington's Coastal Encounters program lets grown-ups have their own brand of summer fun. It is designed as an educational day camp for "bigger" kids.

Betty Wooten is one of the adult campers who came to study the coast's complex ecosystem.

"I've lived in the coastal area for 16 years and haven't done anything like this -- to get down into it and be part of it is a whole new experience," she says.

Wooten was in the salt marsh, where tiny life exists under every ripple, and inside every hole.

"You can never look back at a marsh quite the same way again, having walked it, felt it, smelled it, touched it and tasted it," said camper Owen Wexler.

Instructor Tressa Thompson and her adult students wade through the marsh, where they discover crabs, shellfish, a sea urchin, and a very young sea bass.

There is a message in the fun of discovery -- the interdependence of life in the marsh.

"It's heightened my awareness of what goes on in this part of my system," Owen says. "And I'm going to treat the marsh behind my house with a different kind of respect"

"We always tell the kids to go home and share with their folks what they've learned. Now we've got also the folks sharing with their kids what they've learned," says Thompson. "They get a stronger appreciation of why it's important to protect the natural resources of the coast."

UNCW's Center for Marine Sciences hosts the Coastal Encounters program. There are several excursions planned this year.

For more information about dates and fees, call Marine Quest at910-962-2460.