About

Bluff Lake Nature Center is a unique urban natural area dedicated to educating and inspiring people of all ages to respect, protect, and connect with our natural world.

Bluff Lake is a nonprofit agency that owns and manages a unique urban wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom in Denver. The refuge is home to an abundance of animals and native plants which thrive in a variety of habitats. Bluff Lake is Denver’s largest open space managed as native habitat, and Denver’s only nonprofit nature center. We rely solely on community support.

Tens of thousands of visitors, including over 8,000 area school children, come to Bluff Lake each year to enjoy a few moments of solace and connection to nature or to take part in one of our scheduled programs or events. We hope you’ll visit us soon!

 



Summer Camp

BLUFF LAKE SUMMER CAMP

*TUESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2021 is the opening day for 2022 camp registrations, Junior Counselor applications, and scholarship applications. For an invitation to register one week early, please make a donation today.

OVERVIEW

Our weekly outdoor nature camps offer a unique opportunity for kids and teens! We have something for everyone, with Weekly Camp Themes for ages 5-6 or ages 7-12, and a Junior Counselor Program for ages 13-17.  All camps run for one week each from 9am-3pm Monday to Friday. These camps are for every kid or teen with some energy to play, grow, and build a strong future for themselves and the planet!

We inspire our campers to better understand and appreciate the outdoors through a blend of weekly environmental topics, nature exploration, animal encounters, hands-on lessons, games, crafts, and free creek play. Small group sizes organized by age and parent preferences give every camper the opportunity to be curious, active, and appreciated! Parents will also get to share in the experience by receiving camp photos and activity summaries from the counselors at the end of each week.

Extended pre-camp care (8-9am) and post-camp care (3-5pm) are also available (with the exception that no pre-care is offered for Weeks 1, 9, or 10). Half-days (9am-12pm) are available for Ages 5-6 only. See Hours & Location for full info.

Scholarship applications are available for families who cannot pay camp fees.

NEW FOR 2022

Based on parent and staff feedback, and we are excited to announce the following camp improvements for 2022:

  • More weeks of extended care: Post-care will be available every single camp week this year, and pre-care will be offered for all weeks except the first. Pre-care length will be one hour this year (8-9am), and post-care will remain at 2 hours (3-5pm).
  • Higher camp capacity: We are able to offer more total spots this year, and a greater percentage of spots for Ages 7-12. The number of spots for Ages 5-6 will be slightly reduced compared to last year.
  • More scholarships: Thanks to our generous donors, more scholarships will be awarded, and they will all be for the full cost of camp, including the extended care options! Scholarships will be awarded in three waves across the winter and spring, so that earlier applicants are able to finalize their plans farther in advance, but later applicants still have a chance to win an award. Apply early for a greater chance to win a scholarship and more dates to choose from.
  • Earlier week assignments for Junior Counselors: Junior Counselor applications will be reviewed as they come in, and spots will be filled on a first come, first served basis as long as any spots remain. Bluff Lake will not assign specific weeks this year; applicants will be able to register themselves for any of the remaining open dates as soon as they are accepted. Apply early to have more dates to choose from.
  • Fewer required forms: Age 5-6 campers will not be required to submit a general health appraisal or immunization record (these forms are still required for Ages 7-18). Campers of all ages will not be required to submit a separate COVID waiver.
  • More spots from waitlists filled in advance:  This year, parents will have incentive to make any changes or cancellations farther ahead of time, because change/cancellation fees will increase as the spring and summer go on. We hope that, as a result, more of the registrations from the waitlists will take place farther in advance.

COVID PRECAUTIONS

Our COVID precautions are based upon the most current CDC guidelines and city regulations. Check back here for updates over the coming months.  We will reevaluate our summer camp guidelines in May 2022.

QUESTIONS?

For more information, please visit our FAQ page or contact:

Heidi Pfeiffer, Ph.D.
Summer Camp Director & Education Manager
heidi@blufflake.org
414-839-1670

 

SUMMER CAMP LINKS

Camp Overview, 2022 Changes, and COVID
Camp Staff
Schedule & Themes
Hours & Location
Prices and Registration
Medical Forms
Junior Counselors
Scholarships
FAQ

(Hidden) School Programs

PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOLS

Bluff Lake Nature Center offers a variety of environmental education programs at our nature center, including guided school field trips, after school enrichment programs, self-guided tours, and customized programs. All of our programs are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards to ensure a rich authentic experience in content and practice.

Contact Education Manager Heidi Pfeiffer at heidi@blufflake.org for more information.

Support

ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit organization whose work every year includes:

  • teaching over 7,500 kids from area schools about natural wonders at Bluff Lake and their local ecosystems.
  • planting more than 300 native trees and shrubs.
  • hosting nearly 1,000 volunteers.
  • providing critical (and free) public events and programs.
  • working with our neighbors in Stapleton to develop clean up and restoration days along Westerly Creek and Sand Creek.

We cannot accomplish these things without support of the community. As Denver’s largest nonprofit-owned open space, we rely upon community gifts to continue offering our programs and restoration work. A donation to Bluff Lake Nature Center will go directly to support our environmental education and conservation efforts. Additionally, Bluff Lake has been designated as an Enterprise Zone Charity, meaning that donations over $100 will yield extra tax benefits above and beyond normal charitable donations, for both corporations and individuals. As always, we value your partnership and appreciate your support.