Nature. Camp. Rocks!

2020 Nature Explorers Summer Camp

Update: Cataraqui Conservation has made the difficult decision to cancel the Nature Explorers Camp program for the summer of 2020, due to continued uncertainty and safety concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The heath and safety of staff and campers is our number one priority. We did not make this decision lightly and after consultation with Public Health and our partners, have decided we are not able to run camp due to limited capacity, difficulties providing the needed physical distancing, and Provincial protocols to keep everyone safe.

We understand this is disappointing news and know how important camps are to parents and children throughout the Cataraqui Watershed. Outdoor nature camps are beneficial for both physical and emotional wellbeing and as educators, these factors are important to us as well. Staff considered all options and scenarios and are frustrated and disappointed that we are not able to welcome children to camp this summer. Cataraqui Conservation has been running the Nature Explorers Camp for over 20 years, guiding generations of youngsters on a journey of learning about conservation and the flora and fauna that surrounds them. We look forward to maintaining this summer tradition once it is safe to do so. We apologize to parents and children that these extraordinary circumstances have led to this decision. We wish everyone a safe and happy summer.

If you have already registered your child for camp we are processing full refunds. Please check your email for details.

For over 25 years, area children have been able to experience the diverse wonders of nature in a safe, fun, hands-on manner as part of Cataraqui Conservation’s Nature Explorers summer Day Camp at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area in Kingston. Your kids will be enjoying themselves so much that they won’t even realize how much they are learning about plants, animals, conservation and the environment.

Spending a week (or more!) on an adventure at one of our themed Nature Camp weeks is more than just a way to occupy youngsters during their summer vacation, it is a way to get children to ‘unplug’ from their electronic world and engage with nature on a deeper and more profound level. Camp provides a series of unique wilderness experiences that will foster in them a sense of wonderment and curiosity and perhaps inspire new forms of creativity or even future career aspirations.

Camp takes place primarily at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, which is composed of lush forests, meadows, wetlands and trails with an abundance of wildlife and vegetation to explore. Campers have the chance to truly be kids, and explore the forests in a way that allows for a certain amount of freedom, while still focusing on exciting new core activities such as building shelters and tracking animals. Through ‘sit spots’ the children will also be able to connect in a quieter, more meaningful and deeper way with a tree or other nature being, as well as having opportunities to express themselves through art or even just have some quiet time. At the end of the week, campers and staff will participate in one of the most popular events of the Nature Camp – a traditional game of ‘Capture the Flag.’

All camp instructors are fully trained, eminently qualified and experienced. They have a passion for inspiring and fueling a love for nature in children and are dedicated to creating a safe, fun and learning environment for all campers. There is generally a ratio of one instructor for every 10 campers and all staff have first aid certification and carry first aid kits with them on all outings. The camps are designed for kids ages 6 to 11 with a maximum of 30 campers per week.

Guest Speakers

Each week of Camp there will be an entertaining and educational guest speaker who will share their passion for nature and their expertise, adding excitement and a hands-on component to the theme week. Popular guests in past years have been conservationist Matt Ellerbeck and Kenny Ruelland with Reptile and Amphibian Advocacy.

Guest Speaker Kenny Ruelland

Fun at Gould Lake

Twice during each week campers will be taken by bus on field trips to Gould Lake Conservation Area, where we can splash around or play on the beach. All swimming activities are supervised in a shallow area that has been buoyed off from the rest of the lake, under the supervision of a certified lifeguard. Also at Gould Lake, campers will be able to explore the forest and marsh areas and do a little pond dipping, as well as seeing if they can catch a glimpse of Porcunia, Gould Lake’s famous resident porcupine that lives in the mica mines.

Playing on the beach at Gould Lake Conservation Area

"Our two boys have been attending Nature Explorer's Camps for several years now and the experience is always a highlight of their summer. Spending active time outside, adventuring in the woods, learning new things about their environment and feeling safe and inspired in the care of the excellent staff all helps NEC feel like a home away from home. Their positive stories and obvious enjoyment of the camp reinforces our confidence as parents in the high quality and thoughtfulness of this program. When sign-up time rolls around for the next year's camp, there isn't a moment's hesitation." - abi lyon wicke

Fees & Hours of Operation

Nature Explorers Camp is $210 per week.
Shortened weeks due to holiday Mondays is $170 per week.

Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area – Outdoor Centre. 1641 Perth Rd. Kingston ON. Regular hours are from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. Before and after care is available at the Outdoor Centre from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM for an additional charge of $25 per week ($20 for short weeks).

Camp Staff

All new and returning staff have a background in teaching and possess extensive experience working with children. They also have expertise and knowledge about nature, conservation and outdoor skills, and are focused on nurturing children and helping them to develop a deeper connection with nature.

The staff is dedicated to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all campers. Each staff member has a current and clear  vulnerable sector criminal record check, is certified in Standard First Aid and CPR Level C. As well, a certified lifeguard supervises all swimming sessions at Gould Lake Conservation Area.


Registration is required for our Nature Explorers Camp. You may sign your child up for a maximum of TWO weeks of camp. We have a maximum amount of 30 children for each week and spaces do fill up fast, so register early!

How to use our registration form:

  1. Click on a week listed below that you would like to register for.
  2. Click “book now”
  3. Fill out the form fields and proceed to payment.
  4. We use PayPal for secure online payments. You do not have to have a PayPal account to use PayPal, it will accept all major credit cards.

We are only able to process booking for one child at a time. Sorry for the in convenience.


"My son, now nearly 10, has been attending the summer Nature Camp at Little Cataraqui Conservation Area for the past three years. We return for two sessions each year for the lively and educational programming, the time spent outdoors, the friends, knowledgeable, professional and FUN staff, and maybe, most meaningfully, that at least once a session, my son just has to lead me off into the woods after I've signed him out (at the end of the day) to show me his sit-spot, how to listen to the trees and the forest, or a new special area of the forest, or how good it is to walk the trails without shoes and socks - all takeaways from his day at camp. LIttle Cat Nature Explorers Camp has become part of our summer routine and we are grateful to have this wonderful resource just five minutes outside of the city." - Maggie Warner