As another week of summer camp with the fantastic Wee Wonderers and the pensive WAACers (Wild About Art Camp) simmered to a close last Friday, I began to hear strange, foreign phrases emanating from the mouths of Shaver’s Creek interns such as, “What should we do next week?” and “I’m going to have tons of time to work on my intern project!” These words are bizarre to hear at Shaver’s Creek because the lives of summer interns are usually led — by our fearless leaders Cardinal and Ladybird — through action-packed weeks of summer camp. Most weeks we find wild turkeys and legless turtles, enjoy lots of activities outside, and search for the Iron Owl. We take up animal care duties, finding ourselves feeding feisty Black Vultures or peacefully traversing the center with beautiful Barred Owls perched on our hands. This week there is no camp, however, so that all of the interns could travel to Children’s Day at the Arts Festival this Wednesday.
So what will we make of this week? Will we survive without the sing-song voices of the Discovery and Explorer campers powering the bus over to Whipple Dam? No matter how you look at it, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center feels a little different without 70+ elementary school-aged students careening down the boardwalk or squealing with mock fear when they hear about the ominous “Garbage Graveyard” near Squirrels Landing.
But as quiet as this week of no camp is at the Creek, it lends itself to a number of cutting edge, stirring activities for interns. Fellow intern Tom Foley and I have embarked on a woodworking project to build a few Adirondack chairs for the intern house (also known as The Roost.) Other interns have decided to organize a canoe trip down the Juniata. Still others are climbing the ranks of bird handling, starting with the American Kestrel and working their way up to the Great Horned Owl (and maybe even the Golden Eagle) with interim raptor center director Jon Kauffman and raptor center intern Samantha Arner. In addition to Children’s Day on Wednesday, we all joined forces on Thursday for a butterfly survey around Stone Valley.
So, if you look forward to the days when the Creek isn’t overrun with students and peppy counselors, make the drive out to Shaver’s Creek this week. Come check out our new Black Vulture, or distract an intern from their project to ask how their summer has been. Camp will start up again in a few days, and I heard that it might be the best week ever…!