Photo Credit: National Audubon Society © 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Nature Camp located?
Nature Camp Main Campus is located at Magnuson Park, northeast of the University of Washington. Drop-off and pick-up is behind Building 406 (formerly known as the Brig,) near the amphitheater. View interactive map. We travel to other area parks twice per week for field trips. Field trip destinations are announced in the spring.
Beginning summer 2023, we will also have a session take place in the Red Ochre Art Studio, located in Building 30 at Magnuson Park.
Additionally, we will also have several sessions take place at the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden in Shoreline, WA for summer 2023. Drop-off and pick-up will be at the upper part of the garden, and the camp sessions will take place in the lower gardens. There will be no field trips for Kruckeberg campers.
What are the days and hours?
Regular Nature Camp hours for all locations are from 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Magnuson Park Main Campus and Red Ochre Art Studio sessions: Camp runs for 9 weeks during the summer, beginning July 3, 2023, and running until September 1, 2023. The first week of camp will be a 4-day week due to the 4th of July holiday. After camp extended care runs from 3:30-5:30pm.
Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Camp: Camp runs for 4 weeks during the summer, beginning July 3, 2023, through July 28, 2023. No extended care available at this location.
Do you have Extended Care?
Yes! Seattle Audubon offers onsite AFTERNOON Extended Care for our campers after regular camp hours at the Magnuson Park location only. Space is limited.
Afternoon Extended Care runs Monday-Friday, 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Cost is $19 per day or $85 for the full week. A snack is provided for Afternoon Extended Care campers.
You can sign-up for Extended Care during your initial online registration process, or contact the Camp Registrar.
No extended care available at the Kruckeberg location.
How much does Nature Camp cost?
Fledglings Sessions (F Sessions): $360 Seattle Audubon Members, $385 Non-members (full day)
Albatross Sessions (A Sessions): $400 Seattle Audubon Members, $425 Non-members
Blackbird Sessions (B Sessions): $400 Seattle Audubon Members, $425 Non-members
Crossbill Sessions (C Sessions): $425 Seattle Audubon Members, $450 Non-members
A Seattle Audubon Family membership is $49 annually. Membership may be purchased during registration online.
What if I need to cancel?
Cancellations with at least two weeks notice are eligible for a full refund – minus a $50 administrative fee – only if the cancelled spot is filled. Cancellations with less than two weeks notice, or ones where the spot has not been filled will receive a $50 refund only. A $5 processing fee is applied to any Extended Care cancellations. T-shirts are fully refundable.
Seattle Audubon Memberships and program donations are NOT refundable.
Transfers to other camp sessions within the same summer are done at no cost, as long as the transfer is not done within 2 weeks of the start of the camp session. Transfer requests within 2 weeks of the start of camp may or may not be possible, depending on the ability to fill the spot.
Prorating – We do not pro-rate camp fees due to absences from illness or family vacations. Each camper enrolled in camp is taking time, space, and staff whether or not the child attends each camp day. (All absences related to Covid-19 infection are pro-rated.)
What are the themes of camp?
There are six different themes for the weeks at Nature Camp: Oceans, Wetlands, Forests/Restoration, Birds, Bugs/Invertebrates, and Nature Art. Each theme is repeated later in the summer. See the Session Descriptions page for full descriptions.
Are you able to make accommodations for children who have special needs?
We are happy to make accommodations whenever possible for campers who have special needs. Note that we do not have additional staff to offer 1:1 support for your child, and we cannot accomodate children who are known to react violently to certain triggers or in certain situations. Please contact the Camp Registrar to discuss how we can include your child in the exploration.
How do I apply for a scholarship? How much will I get?
Please complete the scholarship application before registering for a Nature Camp session. The amount of scholarship money awarded varies from 25% of the cost of a camp session, up to 85% of the cost of a camp session, and is determined by HUD median income guidelines for the current year. Families applying for scholarships are limited to one session per camper, so that we can ensure as many children as possible get a chance to attend Nature Camp. (However, if there are still scholarship funds available towards the end of the summer, families may apply for one additional session per camper.)
What do the letters and numbers in session titles stand for?
The numbers in session titles refer to the week of camp. (2A means that it is the second week of camp for the summer.) There are 10 weeks total of Nature Camp.
The letters in session titles tell the grade level of campers in that session. (A sessions are for campers entering grades 1-3, B is for campers entering grades 4-6, and C is for campers entering 7-9th grades).
The title following the number and letter tells what the theme of the week is. (5A: Invertebrate Investigators means that it is week 5 of camp, the session for the youngest campers, and the theme is Bugs.)
How do camp wait lists work?
If a particular session is not available online, it is likely full. Families who would like to be placed on the wait list must do register for the waitlisted week on the camp registration page. The Camp registrar will update you as soon as there are any cancellations or changes to the wait list. If you have not heard anything by the Friday before the wait listed camp session, you can safely assume that there were no cancellations and you did not get into the camp.
What is Seattle Audubon's Tax ID Number?
Seattle Audubon’s Tax ID number is 91-6009716. You can also find this number in the top right corner of your Nature Camp invoice.
What is a typical week like?
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, campers are at Magnuson Park, hiking, learning, and occasionally listening to a guest presenter. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, campers go on field trips to other local parks in Seattle. (Carkeek Park, Discovery Park, Hamlin Park, and Shoreview Park are most common.) The field trip destinations depend on the week’s theme. Final field trip schedules will be announced in the spring.
Fledglings campers will remain at Magnuson Park all week.
Kruckeberg campers do not go on field trips.
How do campers travel to field trip destinations?
We charter buses and drivers for field trips from King’s Schools, a private school based out of Shoreline, WA. The campers will board with their Naturalists and Junior Naturalist, and the camp coordinator will drive their car separately in case of emergencies.
No field trip for Kruckeberg campers.
What is the appropriate age for Nature Camp?
Nature Camp is designed for students who will be entering grades K through 9 in the fall immediately after camp. All campers registering for the Fledglings session must be at least 4 years old. No exceptions will be made. For high school students, we offer the Junior Naturalist program as a way to earn service learning credits.
How are campers divided into groups? Will siblings stay together?
Field groups are assigned by grade level, with 10-12 campers per group. Each group is led by an adult Naturalist and at least one teenage Junior Naturalist. The youngest campers in A Sessions usually have two or three field groups (one group per grade level or one single grade group and one mixed grade group), depending on the week. B Sessions often have 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the same group, and C Sessions will have 7th-9th graders together. F sessions have 8-10 Kindergarten campers in the group.
We try to honor “buddy” requests whenever possible, but note that older campers must join the younger camper’s group. We understand that it might be hard at first for siblings or cousins to be separated, but we strongly encourage teamwork and friendship throughout the week, and even the shyest campers often have a new BFFs before the week’s end. Campers of all ages do have a chance to mingle during lunch, recreation times, and occasional all-camp activities.
Who teaches my kids at Nature Camp?
Seattle Audubon Nature Camp staff is professional and enthusiastic about teaching kids. There is a reason we call them “Naturalists” or “Teachers” (never “counselors”). Most Naturalists are college graduates. All have extensive experience teaching outdoor and environmental education and working with children. CPR/First Aid certification and both state and national background checks are required.
What are Junior Naturalists?
Junior Naturalists are high school students who assist and are mentored by adult Naturalists in day-to-day tasks at Nature Camp. The Junior Naturalist program offers teens in grades 10-12 a chance to earn service learning credits required for graduation, while building leadership and teaching skills. Select paid internship opportunities are also available. Junior Naturalists are required to attend a half-day training with the adult Naturalists, where teens learn how to interact with children, lead games and activities, risk management techniques, and appropriate behavior in a professional setting.
Check out the Junior Naturalist Job Description.
What happens if I pick up my camper late?
Any Camper left after 3:45pm will automatically be put in Extended Care. The full $18 Afternoon Extended Care fee is due upon pickup. Extended Care late fees are $1 per minute after 5:30pm .and $3 per minute after 5:45pm.
For campers attending Nature Camp at Kruckeberg, the late fee system above will begin at 3:45pm. ($1 per minute after 3:45, $3 per minute after 4pm.)
Prep for Camp:
What is the Parent Pack? What forms do I need to fill out?
The Parent Pack will be emailed at the time of your registration and is also available online to download. The Parent Pack gives detailed information about what to expect at Nature Camp, how to get there, policies, and checklists for preparation.
The registration forms on the AcitivtyHero system will collect all of the necessary health and emergency contact information, so please be sure to complete these forms ASAP so we have all the important information on your camper before they begin their Nature Camp session. An additional Medication Card is only needed if your child needs to take medication during camp hours, or for emergency medications that are carried at all times like an asthma inhaler or Epi-pen. You do not need to turn in a Medication Card if your child takes medication at home before or after camp hours.
I never received an email confirmation. What should I do?
First, check your junk mail folder. Gmail and Outlook sometimes flag the first message from our automated online registration system. Please add the address from your confirmation to your safe senders list.
If you still do not get an email confirmation, please contact the Camp Registrar to ensure your information was entered correctly. Registrations made by phone should receive an email confirmation within three business days.
What does my camper need to bring?
A full checklist is included in the Parent Pack, but here are the basics for every day at Nature Camp:
- A backpack
- A jacket or sweatshirt
- A refillable water bottle
- Two snacks
Campers are not allowed to use handheld video games, phones, iPods, or other electronic toys during camp hours. Campers may bring a point-and-shoot digital camera or binoculars, but the Nature Camp staff assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged items.
What should my camper wear?
Make sure your camper is prepared for quick-changing weather conditions. All campers need a jacket or sweatshirt, even on the hottest days, since we are often trekking through shaded forest trails. We are outside for most of the day, everyday, unless the weather conditions are dangerous. We never go swimming at Nature Camp. At most, campers might wade in tide pools ankle-deep, but there is no need to pack swimwear. Make sure your camper wears shoes that are comfortable and appropriate for walking long distances. Sandals are permitted, as long as they have a heel strap that secures the foot bed to the foot. Flip flops and slippers are not allowed.
Can I pack nut products (or other food allergens) in my camper's lunch?
We have at least one camper with a severe food allergy most weeks of camp. Please try to avoid packing peanut or tree nut products in your child’s lunch and snacks if at all possible. We do not allow campers to share food, and we take extra precautions to keep campers with severe food allergies safe, but it is better to be safe than sorry.