Eco Adventure Day Camp — 5th-8th Grade

Session 1: June 22-24
Session 2: July 27-29 FULL

Eco Adventure Day Camp is a one-to-three day educational adventure open to students entering 5th-8th grades. Explore the outdoors in scenic Calhoun County with staff from the Center for American Archeology and the McCully Heritage Project, and learn how people have interacted with the natural world and its resources since prehistoric times.

Participants may attend just one day or all three. Each camp day builds on the last, but are they designed so those who can’t attend every day can join the fun right away. Each day will include a hike and activities to create ancient tools and technology using local natural resources. Hikes include information about methods of navigation, plants, wildlife, geology, archaeology, and more.


Day 1

Orienteering: Students learn to navigate using a compass and map on a scavenger hunt hike to discover aspects of the natural environment and collect materials for the day’s activities.

Ceramics: An introduction to prehistoric pottery production—how production changed through time, what tools people used, and ceramic form and function. Students make their own pinch or coil pots using local clay they collect.

Cordage: Students learn how native people gathered plant materials from their environment and used them to make cordage or weave and color baskets, belts, mats, and more.

Day 2

GPS Hike: Having learned the basics of navigation using a compass and map during the Orienteering Hike, students learn to use a GPS unit to navigate to waypoints. Students will also collect materials for the day’s activities.

Flintknapping: An introduction to stone tool technology: How were stone tools made? From what materials? What types of tools are discovered at archaeological sites? How can we tell when a rock is a tool and not just a rock? Participants will make their own stone tool.

Fire-making: The ability to start a fire without matches, lighter fluid, or other modern methods may prove to be a real challenge, but participants will be rewarded with a fire for s’mores if they can master the bow drill.

Day 3

Big Hike and Picnic: Using their orienteering and GPS skills, students will navigate a 2 mile hike to a picnic spot and back again.

Spear-throwing: The atlatl is ancient tool that allows hunters to throw their spears with greater speed and force. Participants learn about the wide variety of materials used worldwide to make some atlatls and learn how to throw spears using one.


  • Drop-Off: 8:30-9:00 am
  • Program: 9:00 am-3:30 pm
  • Pickup: 3:30-4:00 pm

Camp will begin each day at 9:00 am and the programming will be over by 3:30 pm. Drop off begins no earlier than 8:30 am, and all students must be picked up by 4:00 pm.


Eco Adventure Day Camp is held at McCully Heritage Project, a 940 acre preserve in Calhoun County, Illinois, located a half mile south of Kampsville. There are 15 miles of hiking trails, two ponds, a wetland with a boardwalk, a hill prairie plot and more. Hiking is pleasant even in the summer as the wooded trails provide plenty of shade. There are flush toilets and a pavilion.

Drop-off and Pickup will be at the McCully Heritage Project pavilion on Crawford Creek Road. Participants must be signed in and out each day by a parent or guardian.

What to Bring

Each camper should bring a bag lunch, snacks, and a refillable water bottle to use throughout the day. Water will be provided. Campers should arrive dressed for outdoor activities that will include hiking in grasslands, forest, and across a creek. Proper footwear is needed. Clothing may get dirty and wet. Bug spray and sunscreen are recommended.


  • 1 Day: $25
  • 2 Days: $50
  • 3 Days: $70

How to Apply

Download, complete, and return the 2021 Eco Adventure Day Camp Application.

Upon receipt, we will send you a confirmation by email. If you have not received confirmation, we have not received your application!

Registration for the program closes one week prior to the start of each session.

Maximum Enrollments: 20 students per day. Those applying after enrollment capacity is reached will be added to the waiting list in the order of receipt of a complete application.


Program Directors