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Mon, Jun 24


ONSC - Main Campus

4-day, 3-night Wilderness Skills Summer Camp at ONSC

Have you ever wanted to learn how to survive in the wild on your own? Join us at Ozark Natural Science Center in Northwest Arkansas for a 4-day, 3-night Wilderness Skills Summer Camp, full of survival skills, nature, and science exploration. Ages 8-14

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4-day, 3-night Wilderness Skills Summer Camp at ONSC
4-day, 3-night Wilderness Skills Summer Camp at ONSC

Time & Location

Jun 24, 2024, 7:30 AM – Jun 27, 2024, 5:30 PM

ONSC - Main Campus, 1905 Madison 1305, Huntsville, AR 72740, USA

About the Event

ONSC offers a unique, immersion-based approach to learning about nature and the natural sciences. Students visit us for authentic science learning experiences that are correlated with national and state science learning standards and provide in-depth education in biology, ecology, geology, social studies, and nature art – all while students have fun hiking and experiencing nature. 

ONSC's Wilderness Skills Summer Camp is for campers who want to learn all about what it takes to survive in the wild, from tools and skills to the mindset needed to handle adversities and problem solve in the wilderness.  Some of the skills discussed and practiced will include: 

  • Mental preparedness 
  • Environmental assessment and action plans
  • Comfort management
  • Sourcing materials from nature
  • Foraging and eating outdoors
  • Shelter building
  • Water accessibility and treatment/purification 
  • Fire building and starting
  • Orienteering and map reading
  • Other camp components will include day hikes, night hikes, team-building, games, educational and recreational water activities, and small-group activities.

Campers will be divided into field groups for hikes and some other activities by age level.  Campers will stay in ONSC's lodges, and will be assigned to rooms by age and gender.   *Weather permitting, campers will get the opportunity to camp outdoors in tents and/or their built shelters on one night.

We also have a limited number of free tickets for parent chaperones. We strive to assign chaperones to field groups that don't include their own child(ren), to allow all students an authentic feeling of "camp independence." However, exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. An interview and background check are required to become a chaperone. Signing up for a chaperone position does not guarantee that you will be placed in a position.


We strive to make ONSC programs accessible and affordable for all. In addition to ONSC's regular scholarship fund, we have been given a generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation so we can provide more camp scholarships. Apply here for a scholarship.


Step 1: Purchase tickets below

Step 2: Complete the Camper Registration Form for each camper (we'll email it after you purchase your tickets)

Step 3: Read the Parent/Guardian Packet and Packing List

Tentative camp schedule and details (Subject to change based on weather and availability of guest presenters):

Day 1

7:30am - Arrival

8am - Staff-Parent-Camper Meeting

9am - Camper Meeting & Orientation

10am - Name Games / Ice-breakers

11am -Wilderness Journal Activity

12pm - Lunch

1pm - Field Investigation (Guided hike with focus on wild edibles and other useful plants)

4:30pm - Downtime on the Deck

5:30pm - Dinner

6:30pm - Class: "Finding Peace & Enjoyment in the Wild While Embracing the Struggles" (Introduction to outdoor survival and mental preparations within the Human/Nature dynamic, including prioritizing needs and environmental assessments)

7:30pm - Campfire Council (A chance for campers to engage with each other on past outdoor/wilderness experiences)

8:15pm - Mini Night Hike

Overnight in ONSC lodges with chaperones

Day 2

8am - Breakfast (w/Review of the day ahead)

9am - Class: Prep for Building/Setting up "Camp" (Site selection process based on weather, terrain, and other external factors; gear and natural materials needed for different purposes; making a plan) 

10am - Properties of Nature Field investigation (Guided hike to help determine camp site location/s, and practice identifying and gathering natural materials available)

12pm - Lunch

1pm - Class: Types of Shelters (Basic intro to shelter building and/or tent set up)

2pm -  Camp Construction Exercises  (Actual shelter building and/or tent set up; if time, intro to fire building and starting)

5:30pm - Dinner

6:30pm - Active or Quiet Recreation Time

7:15pm - Lodge Break (Brush teeth! and gather essential supplies to take for camp out)

7: 45pm - Moving in to "Camp" 

8:15pm - Astronomy Viewing and/or Constellation Stories

*Camping outside in tents and/or built shelters with chaperones

Day 3

7am - Wake up & Move Back into Lodges (with shower time, etc.)

8am - Breakfast 

9am - Debrief Camp Out (What went well? What could be done differently? How would you plan/prepare for sustainability--longer time in "camp"?)

10am - Fire Building and Maintenance Techniques (Demonstrations and practice)

12pm - Lunch

1pm - Class: Water Needs (Access, sources, purification and filtration methods, etc.)

2pm - Water Time! (Bus to War Eagle Creek for practice with water purification/filtration techniques, and fun in the water!)

4:30pm - Return to ONSC Campus/Lodges (change into dry clothes & take a break)

5:30pm - Dinner

6:30pm - Active or Quiet Recreation Time

7:15pm - Campfire w/Lorax play

8:15pm - Astronomy and/or Night Hike, or Return to Lodges Early

Overnight in ONSC lodges with chaperones

Day 4

8am - Breakfast

9am - Class: Intro to Orienteering & Map Reading

10am - Practicing Orienteering Skills--Challenge

12pm - Lunch with Group Discussion of "Take Aways" from Camp Experience

1pm - Lodges - packing

2pm - Active and/or Quiet Rec Time

3pm - Class, Activity and/or Short Hike

5pm - Dinner

5-6pm - Parents arrive, store time, departure

About the Instructors:

Visit to learn more about ONSC's Teacher Naturalists and other staff.

Guest Instructor: James (Jim) O'Connor has been an active outdoorsman throughout most of his life. He often foraged and explored with family throughout the Midwest during his upbringing and had continued that tradition ever since. Jim participates in several non profit organizations and greatly values education for the outdoors and wilderness skills.  He is also a certified Wilderness First Responder.


  • Adult Female Chaperone

    Choose this free ticket to become an adult chaperone for one of the field groups. Our Program Manager will be in touch to arrange an interview and background check.

    Sale ended
  • Adult Male Chaperone

    Choose this free ticket to become an adult chaperone for one of the field groups. Our Program Manager will be in touch to arrange an interview and background check.

    Sale ended



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