Our Place

program description

Our Place Summercamp gets kids off the screen and into the green.

For 5 days campers hike, climb, wade & swim “our place”: the 5 ecoregions of the Nonotuck biome.

These activities are fun, and they”re designed to increase camper”s perceptual abilities, stimulate their critical thinking skills, inspire their creative imaginations, and counteract “nature deficit disorder.” Through active physical and mental engagement with “our place,” they gain a deep & lasting appreciation of it—and themselves.

We go from site to site—mountains, forests, brooks, industrial brownfields, you name it—enjoying an adventurous, inquiry-based investigation of how our biome is a bio-home (the home of diverse forms of life). Each day we visit new places, and meet new creatures; campers read resource maps, locate & explore rare ecologies, identify native & non-native species, understand watersheds, rivers, wetlands, public water supplies, and how different soils grow different trees.

Our goal is to enlarge your camper”s scientific and cultural “background knowledge” and help them to use it as we “read” the landscapes we pass through. The ability to “read a landscape” is the first important step a person takes towards what Aldo Leopold called “thinking like a mountain.”

Depending on their age level, and what the weather is like on any particular day, campers also visit farms, power plants & museums, read & tell stories about nature and culture, take pictures & write in their campbooks or field journals. After a week, they know why Nonotuck—our place—is unlike any other place in the USA. They also know some of the best places to take you hiking, swimming and picnicking!

We will meet at Forbes Library in Northampton for pick-up and drop-off. Campers will be transported to outdoor learning sites in the Biocitizen van. They”ll bring lunches, suitable clothing and exploration gear.


Our Place was great for my homebody son. When not playing soccer, my 13 year-old likes to stick to the familiar, but Kurt brought him somewhere new everyday. They learned about where we live by reading, talking, observing and literally diving in—they swam in rivers, hiked in beautiful places, and met new people. Now our son has led the rest of the family on a few adventures. Thanks to Our Place for getting us off the couch to enjoy this beautiful valley!
Ann Lewis

Put this on your “where should my kids go to summer camp” list. Lucien (& our friend Sam Jackson) adored this camp heart-&-souled by Kurt Heidinger.
Sarah Buttenweiser

“I hear from my two boys that Biocitizen camp for kids is a great summer adventure: “You learn cool stuff but it doesn”t seem like you”re in a classroom…it”s fun.””
—Tom Martin