Chemung River Friends Summer Camp Brings Lots Of Smiles

ELMIRA – The Friends of the Chemung River Watershed wrapped up their annual week-long summer camp at the Town of Elmira on July 21, 2023. The summer camp was hosted by Chemung River Friends’ executive director, Elizabeth Zilinski, with planning and partnerships secured by Chemung River Friends’ outreach coordinator, Karen Charnetski.

The dozen children, ages six through twelve, started their week with team-building fun, including making towers from pasta and marshmallows, doing field games, and going on nature hikes.

Haley Frame, who runs Yoga by Haley, came in to teach the children mindfulness and the calming power of nature and trees and assist campers with making upcycled boats to race on the river.

Finger Lakes Composting stopped over to show the children how worms, food scraps, leaves, and shredded paper made an ideal compost mix that could be used in their home gardens. Five lucky campers were able to take home their very own compost-in-a-jar, which they made with their team.

Nikole Watts—who serves on the Chemung River Friends board and is employed by Chemung County Stormwater Coalition—hosted a macroinvertebrate workshop. Children were able to go right into the river to catch and study stream bugs and learn about what these macroinvertebrates indicate about the health of our waterways.

The camp culminated in a river safety and paddling demonstration, followed by a kayak trip on the Chemung River hosted by Seneca Lake Kayak. Town of Elmira Community Center director Patty Carozza made hot lunches for all campers each day while camp counselors Addy and Ryleigh assisted Mrs. Zilinski with the children and took them to the town pool every afternoon.

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