Little Creek camp

Ludi with a memento from critter camp.

Editor’s note: this summer, Ludi attended three different camps at Little Creek Nature Area. She learned survival skills, worked with animals, and all sorts of things. Here are some of her memories:

One day we were canoeing, searching for a certain kind of frogs (I believe it was the American bullfrog). That day Ranger Bob — my favorite ranger — had a fishing hook that looked like a fly. He said it was something bullfrogs were attracted to. At this, it was imperative of one to make a mental note to learn how to fish for trout, as these are among the biggest catches they could be favoured with. We saw several frogs and he put it out in front of them and they would hop around objects and get close to the hook-thing.

We did lots of fun things in the survival camp, like build a fire, learn how to make shelters, and learn what kinds of food we can find in the wild. We went to different areas like the pond, grasslands, and fields. They’d tell us what insects, bugs, mammals we could find, and how to catch/hunt them. I have a notebook full of that stuff so I can carry it with me when we travel.

We learned if you want to cut down a tree, you need to have a sapling to plant in its place.

My favorite day at Little Creek camp was activity day where we played water games, rode bikes, went canoeing, went kayaking in a tandem kayak, did archery, and made pottery all in the same day. I was really good at canoeing because I had done it before.

When we did archery, the first time I wasn’t so sure I could do it because the bow felt really heavy. The arrows would slip out, so I gave it up the first week. But the second week on the next adventure day, I tried it again. It was the same guy, and he encouraged me to try again with a different bow. It was so much easier. The arrow only slipped out a couple times. When I shot the arrows, one of them was close to a bullseye.

Cider and a hike

There was a lot to do on this Saturday morning: it would be the final Ferguson Farmers Market, plus a “Homecoming” at the Little Creek Nature Area.

Yoli made waffles for breakfast, and then we hit the road for the market. Jadzia and Ludi decorated pumpkins; Yoli, Josie and Joseph listened to the live music; and I bought lots of goodies — apple cider, peppers, fresh ginger, garlic, ground beef, and green beans.

Then it was off to Little Creek. We have visited there many times over the years — it is a frequent field trip destination for preschool and elementary school kids in the Ferguson-Florissant school district.

But this time offered some new experiences. We got to drink nice, hot apple cider and eat some baked goods. Then a high schooler took us on a long hike around several of Little Creek’s trails. We got to see the pond and the actual creek, sites I had never seen on any of my previous visits. Along the way we gathered various items for a scavenger hunt for the three girls.

Ludi had been the one begging us to go to Little Creek in the days leading up to the event. As it turned out, the somewhat chilly hike was too much for her, and she was whiny for much of it. But then we went into the educational building to try some hands-on activities and she perked up. She got even more excited when we headed back to turn in our scavenger hunt bags and pick up little prizes.

We took a look at the apple cider press. We lamented that we had missed an earlier demonstration of how to make cider. And one of the Little Creek workers kindly put on one more demonstration, even though it was noon and the event was technically over. All the kids got to try crushing the apples, and then Jadzia and Joseph took turns with other children turning the press to squeeze out the liquid.

All in all, it was a fun morning. Here are some photos: