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 Week of Nature: Gardens, Birds, and Animal Tracks

A group of 15 fourth- and fifth-graders will get scholarships to attend Cuyamaca Outdoor School next year because of their creative and well-written essays about positive experience they've had outdoors and what they hope to learn at the school.

To celebrate nature, outdoor education and these creative students, we're going to feature three of their essays each day this week. Here are three more:

Sophia Cao
Solana Pacific
Solana Beach School District

Camp Cuyamaca is a great way to spend time with friends, and learn more about nature.  I am so excited to go to 6th grade camp next year because it will teach me to be more independent.  At camp, I can learn new things and explore nature.  I can make new friends, even from other schools and classrooms.  To me, nature is such a calm and peaceful environment.  Also, camp could help me with my social skills.  I'm also excited because it's just like a giant sleepover, but in the wilderness.  All in all, I bet I'll have great memories both big and small.

I can learn a lot from camp, as well as having interests for the week.  One thing I am hoping to see is the pitch black night sky, along with some beautiful shining stars.  Expectantly, I would like some friendly cabin mates, and a fun filled counselor.  Also, during the visit, I would like to have more contact with nature than I usually do.  What I can learn at 6th grade camp, is how to respect and take care of nature.  However the week goes, I know I'll have a wonderful time.

How camp can change me is to make me more independent than I already am.  It could make me look at nature with a different perspective.  Not only will it change me, but it can help me change nature by taking care of it.

I can help my community be a better place at school, in our Garden Club.  We can take care of our plants weekly, and harvest them too.  I can put recycle and trash in their right bins, and make compost piles at my house.  Many other kind acts for nature can help the world around me, and keep Earth a safe and happy place. 

After camp ends, all that matters is that I had a great experience, and I hope that I will have another chance to visit again.


Andrew Gao
Sage Canyon
Del Mar Union School District

I've never been camping before.  I have three siblings, all littler than me.  Every year, I beg my parents to go camping.  I always get turned away.  Camp Cuyamaca is my chance to see the clear night sky, watch the crunchy autumn leaves drift to the ground, and experience the thrill of nature.

I can't wait to see all sorts of birds, flying around and chirping merrily.  Finally, I can really try out the bird calls I've been practicing, and make a collage of leaves.  My friend told me about the fun hikes and the cool activities there.  She went recently and showed me a smooth rock that she sanded herself.  It would be really interesting to do that.  On top of that, there's even rock climbing!

Camp could change me a lot.  I would know how to start a fire with twigs, (don't worry, I'm not an arsonist).  Tie cool knots, and learn lots of other survival skills like the kid in the book, My Side of the Mountain.

Using the things I learn at camp, I can help my neighborhood be a better place.  With my knot tying skills, I could make a mini swing for all the kids in the neighborhood to play on.  Also, I'd be more resourceful and be able to work in a team well.  I could inspire other kids to love the wonders of nature.  Camp would help me change other people's lives in a positive way.

These are the reasons why going to Camp Cuyamaca will change my life and help others.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!


Micah Miller
Literacy First Charter School
San Diego County Office of Education

I am very excited about sixth grade camp!  I am excited about it because I am an outdoor fan.  Outdoors is always something I will enjoy, so a camp all about the outdoors is the perfect thing for me.  I am also excited because there are so many things that I don't know and can learn through camp because I enjoy learning in general.

At camp, I expect to see wildlife such as, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and various plants.  I expect to learn about animals, their behavior and what they eat.  I also expect to learn about plants and if they are poisonous and what they can be used for.  I also expect to learn to identify animal tracks.

I think camp will change me by improving my understanding of nature.  I may be able to identify plants or certain types of animals.  Camp may also change me by making my true love of nature go to the next level by helping me understand nature better.

I will take what I learn at camp to make my community better by using my knowledge as often as I can.  I will also try to teach others in my home, neighborhood and school.  Then not only will I make the community a better place but so will others.