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About Nature Museum Camp

CHICAGO’s Nature Camp

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Camps immerse children into the wonderful world of nature and science! Campers will develop their critical thinking and social skills by spending fun-filled days inside and outside the Nature Museum. They will participate in hands-on exploration including science and art projects, nature play, animal encounters, and so much more. We encourage campers to take the lead and we provide them with space to explore the nature of Chicago at their own pace with tools selected (or built!) by them.

Our METHOD

Developed and led by Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Camp team, our camp curriculum fosters social and science skills while cultivating a love of nature and learning. The Nature Museum’s summer day camps are offered in four, two-week sessions designed for children ages 4 through 11. This approach emphasizes learning and fun, while giving kids time to bond with their counselors and fellow campers.

Our Camp RATIOS

All of our camps have a high staff to camper ratio. Four-year-old camp sessions have one staff member for every five campers (1:5). All other camp sessions have one staff member for every seven campers (1:7).

Our DAILY PARENT PAGES

Keep the camp fun going with a little help from our daily emails. Unique to the Nature Museum, these Daily Parent Pages are written by the camp directors and include photos, a summary of the day's accomplishments, and questions to spark meaningful conversation with your camper.

Meet Our Directors

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Nicole Juppe, Camp Director

Nicole Juppe is a full-time, year-round educator at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. She has worked in school and museum-based programming for both students and teachers as camp director and education programs coordinator since February of 2017. Nicole has been a camp director for over five years and has worked in summer camps and environmental education for 10 years. She graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in sociology and a minor in environmental science.

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Rebecca brokaw, Camp director

Rebecca Brokaw is a full-time, year-round educator at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. She has been a member of the Nature Museum’s education department since June 2018. Prior to joining the Nature Museum staff as camp director and education programs coordinator, she worked in many environmental educational settings, including garden-based summer camps in Madison, Wisconsin, and urban forestry focusing on community involvement and environmental topics. She graduated from DePaul University with a degree in environmental science and a minor in food studies.

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Camp Staff

Each camp session is supervised by our full-time camp directors and the assistant camp director. High school and college-level counselors lead activities and supervise the campers in every session throughout the day. Our staff is always excited to play along, get dirty, and guide campers to make discoveries while they explore the world around them. Each camp has a strictly-enforced counselor to camper ratio, ensuring that all campers have the guidance they need to have a fun, educational, and safe summer camp experience.

Prior to Nature Museum Summer Camp, the camp team participates in extensive educational training focusing on ecology and natural science topics, best practice education strategies, and outdoor education approaches to best foster camper engagement and learning. Together, the directors and counselors develop activities and curricula specially tailored for each camp and session. For more information about staff training, click here.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Camp directors and counselors have experience working with children ages 4 to 11 and they’re trained to help give specialized guidance for campers with specific needs, such as sensory processing disorders. Camp staff members are certified in CPR and first aid and trained to recognize the signs of a severe allergic reaction and to administer an EpiPen.

 “The staff and program are why we’ve been attending camp for five years.”

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About the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

For over 160 years, the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has served a unique role in the city of Chicago connecting children of all ages to nature and science through immersive exhibits, fun family events, important conservation research and in-depth education programs, inspiring the wonder in all of us.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum members enjoy additional discounts on camps, as well as family events, classes, and more. Click here to learn more about Nature Museum membership.