Junior Naturalist Field Camps (Grades 1-6)

SJMA is proud to continue the tradition of one of Durango Nature Studies most beloved and enriching summer camps in Durango. Junior Naturalist Field Camp is a place where elementary-aged children will spend time learning about the natural world. Campers may spend their day catching crawdads, building forts, hiking, exploring, or river tromping — which all focus on learning about the natural world.

In Response to the COVID Pandemic: We have decided to make certain modifications to our summer camp programming with the goal of providing a memorable summer experience as safely as possible.

  • This June we introduced the San Juan Ramblers, 1/2 day hikes on local public lands for your kiddos. Youth will be able to explore outdoors, enjoy the fresh air and meet new friends (albeit from a far) during these daily excursions. We’ll still look for creepy crawlies, predators and prey, nature’s art and so much more during these wild days of exploration.

  • We’re modifying our July and August Junior Naturalist Field Camps (JNFC) to a hybrid version of traditional full days at the Durango Nature Center and our half-day San Juan Ramblers model.

  • A parent handbook will be emailed to registered families at least one week in advance with updated information on safety measures and protocols.

Cost*: $250; We believe these opportunities should be available to all. If you are in need of financial assistance,  please submit our Camp Scholarship Form.

Max Number Participants: 22 per camp

Age Eligibility: Rising 1-6 Grades

Drop Off and Pick Up Time:
June: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at local trailhead
July – August:
–  Monday/Friday 9:00am – 1:00pm at Local Trail Head
–  Tuesday-Thursday 9:00 am – 4:30 pm at Durango Nature Center

Questions? Check out our FAQ and our Camp Policies or give us a call at 970-385-1256.

* Please note that if you have made this registration less than 48 hours in advance of the start of camp, your registration is not guaranteed until confirmed by staff.  We need time to receive and process all of the camp forms mandated by Child Care License requirements.

June 8-12: San Juan Ramblers - Explorers

The “San Juan Ramblers” – interpretive 1/2 day hikes with exploration and discovery of our local forests at the heart of the program. Join us for small group hiking adventures on our closest public lands. Youth will be able to explore outdoors, enjoy the fresh air and meet new friends (albeit from a far) during these daily excursions. We’ll still look for creepy crawlies, predators and prey, nature’s art and so much more during these wild days of exploration. Grades 1-6.

June 15-19: San Juan Ramblers - Predators & Prey

JNFC_predator and prey2 (1) web

The “San Juan Ramblers” – interpretive 1/2 day hikes with exploration and discovery of our local forests at the heart of the program. Join us for small group hiking adventures on our closest public lands. Track animal survival and investigate the biggest hunters all week long. Our youngest campers will discover the predators and prey that make up the San Juan Mountain and High Desert Southwest Ecosystems this week, while making friends and building a connection to nature in small, age-specific groups. Grades 1-6.

June 22-26: San Juan Ramblers - Forts, Caves, Survival Skills

The “San Juan Ramblers” – interpretive 1/2 day hikes with exploration and discovery of our local forests at the heart of the program. Join us for small group hiking adventures on our closest public lands. Youth will be able to explore outdoors, enjoy the fresh air and meet new friends (albeit from a far) during these daily excursions. We’ll build forts, explore caves and learn some survival skills. Grades 1-6.

July 13-17: Water, Water Everywhere

Build boats, traverse streams, find crawdads and get your feet wet this summer! Water is like magic: it keeps us alive, serves as a home, magnifies objects and transports material. Learn more about this incredible element during the dog days of summer. Water Water Everywhere will include time in the river at the Nature Center as well as field trips to paddling destinations, local lakes and rivers. Grades 1-6.

July 27-31: Eco-town

Celebrate your imagination by creating a world around you with what you can find, like; rocks, a box, sand or a plot of land. Using the story of Roxaboxen as a foundation, we will build “homes, businesses, and infrastructure.” Taking cues from symbiotic relationships of different plant and animal species, we’ll cooperatively develop “agreements” to help guide our behavior and choices. The week will conclude with an “open for business” time for the campers to showcase their work for families, including an overnight family campout at the Nature Center. Grades 1-6.

August 3-7: Nature Intuition

Things with wings, birdsongs and butterflies in flight are sure to amaze you this summer. Look closely at rocks and crystals, learn geology and make your own gemstone friendships. Understand Leave No Trace principles and develop backpacking skills for your next adventure. This camp is designed to support leadership development and outdoor skills as students find they have a natural intuition when outdoors. Discover Camp will include field trips on public lands. Grades 1-6.