Pam Hosimer, MLS Candidate
Marybeth Kaplan, MLS Candidate
College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Camp Ladybug – The Green Kids Program


On February 22, 2011 the Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously to support and publish the revised environmental literacy graduation requirement language recommended by the MDNCLI Coalition (Maryland No Child Left Inside Coalition). Based on this exciting news, the director of Camp Ladybug decided to include an environmentally themed station to focus on environmental literacy and the natural world in its one week day camp program. This summer day camp, newly housed at Chevy Chase Elementary School, was interested in trying out some new programs. This new facility offered not only a wonderful outdoor environment that included a pond and lots of green space, but also was allowing the camp to use its computer lab with 27 personal computers. The previous location the camp had been at for the last nine years, which was undergoing an extensive renovation this summer, did not offer these types of amenities. Unsure of how to proceed, they director consulted with the local team of Marybeth Kaplan and Pam Hosimer, Information Specialists in Agricultural and Environmental Education and creators of the popular Green Kids Program. Based on their previous work with Environmental Education programming and over fifteen years of experience working at summer camps, they were invited to join the staff and develop this new station.

Marybeth and Pam selected habitats, endangered animals and recycling as the focus of the week long program which is broken into three lessons. Working as a team with the director, other unit leaders, aides and the summer staff technology specialist, they created an exciting interactive program focusing on utilizing the local environment and technology to immerse campers in an experience with the natural world. In an article on the Apple website ( entitled, "About Challenge-Based Learning: Take Action and Make a Difference" the relevance of accessible technology and the internet to current-day students was discussed. It raises the question of student's being so wired that traditional learning methods are becoming less effective and motivating the students is more difficult than before. In the Green Kids program we hope to use technology which promotes the camp curriculum in a new and exciting way. By blending nature and technology we are hoping to create a multi-disciplinary element to the camp experience. While discussing environmental conservation with the campers we hope to promote challenge based learning by, "teaching and learning that encourages students to leverage the technology they use in their daily lives to solve real-world problems." Campers will be introduced to the idea of environmental conservation and more specifically how pollution, environmental changes, and over use can have a negative impact on animals. Campers will learn how to become environmentally responsible through recycling. They will learn what items are recyclable and strategies to protect the Earth we share with our animal friends. While investigating these natural topics, campers will also have opportunities to learn and practice many 21st Century technology skills.

This document will give an overview of the project by incorporating the following sections:
  • Introduction
  • The Topics and Standards - including a discussion of the influences that helped shape this project.
  • The Setting and Context
  • The Materials and Technology Tools - that were integral to this program, including a resource list
  • The Implementation and Assignments - a summary of the program
  • The Lessons - and links to all the work sheets and handouts
  • References

After the last day of camp, camper's family and friends will be invited to a Parent Open House to view the fruits of all the camper's labors, and the Green Kids unit will showcase their camper-made endangered animals created by using recycled products and camper-published stories on recycling and healthy habitats.

The Topic & Standards


The topic is, in a nutshell, how to coexist responsibly with the natural world. We have decided to focus on topics based on environmental conservation. This is a broad topic with many exciting aspects that greatly appeal to this age group. We are going to focus on conservation of a very important resource – animals and their habitats. We are going to learn that recycling is an important way to conserve resources and help protect the environment and these animals. In addition, we will be designing this unit based on the new environmental literacy graduation requirement language.


We will be using the AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action.

1.3.4 Contribute to the exchange of ideas within the learning community.
1.3.5 Use information technology responsibly.
1.4.4 Seek appropriate help when it is needed.
2.2.4 Demonstrate personal productivity by completing products to express learning.
2.3.1 Connect understanding to the real world.
3.1.3 Use writing and speaking skills to communicate new understandings effectively.
4.1.5 Connect ideas to own interests and previous knowledge and experience.

NETS Standards from ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education)

1. Creativity and Innovation
a. apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression

2. Communication and Collaboration
a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats

6. Technology Operations and Concepts
a. understand and use technology systems
d. transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies.

Maryland State Standards
Standard 6.0 Environmental Science
B. Environmental Issues
1. Recognize and describe that the activities of individuals or groups of individuals can affect the environment.

1. Identify and describe that individual and group actions, such as turning off lights, conserving water, recycling, picking up litter, or joining an organization can extend the natural resources of the environment.

The Setting and Context

We are a Girl Scout day camp called Camp Ladybug that welcomes girls who have never been a Girl Scout as well as girls who are currently Girl Scouts. Our goal is to recruit new girls into the Girl Scout movement. We enroll girls that are rising Kindergarteners through 5th grade. Our maximum number of girls at camp is 50 total to make sure we can provide a quality program. The girls are broken into four groups based on age and rotate daily through planned activities and four "units" - music, games, crafts and the Green Kids environmentally friendly program. This will be the 10th year anniversary of this camp. We have been located in a local church for the past 9 years, but they are undergoing extensive renovations this year and we could not hold the camp there. Chevy Chase Elementary School was kind enough to offer us the use of their beautiful green school facility for this summer.

Here is the Camp Ladybug Daily Schedule, which will be sent home with campers on the first day:
Camp Ladybug - Daily Schedule.doc

FACILITY: Camp Ladybug is a one week day camp held at Chevy Chase Elementary School. We will be using the all purpose room as a general gathering area as well as classrooms as the home base for each of the four units. In addition we will use the media center and the outdoor spaces which include a playground, which is two levels, and a courtyard with ornamental grasses and a koi pond. Also, the school has been designated by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) as a green school. We are very proud to have our camp partner with such an environmentally friendly facility. Green Schools:

a. Plant trees on school grounds and in buffer areas.
b. Provide teacher training for environmental projects.
c. Assist teachers with integrating environmental education throughout the curriculum.
d. Provide teacher guides on waste, energy, and water audits.
e. Provide small grants for aquatic-based school yard projects.
f. Integrate environmental education into school instruction.

STUDENT LEARNING NEEDS: The campers encompass a huge diversity. There are many different races, nationalities, economic situations, skill levels, and six different grades. We often have girls attending with learning differences, ADHD, mobility issues or significant disabilities such as autism. We do not turn any girl away, but if she needs one-on-one assistance we ask parents to provide that. Our staff and volunteers have all been trained to work with all populations, with many on the staff having specialized advanced training. In addition about 50% of our staff has Infant/Child through Adult CPR and First Aid Training and we have a professional nurse in camp at all times as our First Aider.

TEACHING STAFF: We will be teaching this session ourselves because we have been recruited by the camp director specifically for our expertise. Teaching this allows us more control over what is being taught and how it is being taught. We are extremely familiar with the topics and will also be able to allow for flexibility in each lesson. If the girls are interested in a specific topic we can follow that interest easily. If someone else taught the lessons, they may not have the knowledge or comfort level to allow campers to deviate from the lessons.

Each unit at camp is taught by a pair of leaders. If needed additional adult volunteers can be requested for help with special activities. In this camp we also have high school girls who are Aides. We will have 4 Aides per session to assist us – 2 Aides assigned to our station, and 2 Aides that are with each group of girls. These older girls are wonderful!

SCHEDULING CHALLENGES: As Girl Scouts we persevere in all types of situations. That is just who we are. It's raining outside and we have an outdoor activity? Wear your rain gear. The planned project is causing difficulty for many campers? Ask for additional adult volunteers to help. Computer system or technology is down? Substitute a hands-on version of the lesson or activity.

Safety is always top priority, so if it is lightening outside or the temperature is extremely high we adjust our plans accordingly. Technology safety is also a consideration. All of our student work will be kept offline and only shown to the known audience at the Parent Open House. Students will be given a CD at the end of camp with the electronic versions of any of the projects they have done on the computers.

Our number one scheduling challenge is the demographics of our campers. Over the years the make-up of our campers has varied widely. Campers may or may not be familiar with technology, craft projects, or working in a diverse all-girl setting. We work with this issue by keeping the total number of campers at 50 girls, have no more than 12 - 14 girls in each unit, and having a ratio of 1 leader/aide per group of 3 - 4 girls in each unit. Compounding this variety is the fact that we only enroll 80% of our campers before camp starts. With a walk-in enrollment of 20% we never know until the first activity session mix of girls we will be dealing with. We feel that the ratio of staff to campers is critical to our success. The staff's experience in working with girls, flexibility, commitment and problem solving skills are also a factor in our camp's success.

One additional concern was the six year age span of the campers. To address this, many of the worksheets and activities have been designed with two levels in mind. The younger level has just completed grades Kindergarten through 2nd grade, and the older group just completed grades 3 - 5. We felt this was a developmentally appropriate division.

TECHNOLOGY SKILLS: The technology skills of the staff and campers are extremely varied. As mentioned in the lessons, we will have the school's technology specialist as a volunteer staff member to help us with the technology portion of our programming. She has also agreed to provide a two hour staff training session the week before camp. Consideration will also need to be given to instructional time for students to learn computer and technology skills. In addition to our small staff to camper ratio, two possible options to help with this issue are:
  • Buddy students that have more technology experience with students that have less experience. Incorporate peer support into the lessons.
  • Increase the number of Aides in our unit on days we have lessons with more complicated technology.

RESOURCES: We have access to wonderful resources at this facility. The media center at this elementary school is a research learning hub. It has:

27 networked Dell computers
1 Promethean Board
8,000 print materials
200 Playaways
100 videos

All of these resources will be available for the campers to use. The availability of these resources gives us great flexibility in implementing our lessons, which we plan to take full advantage.

BUDGET: Thanks to our host sponsor, Chevy Chase Elementary School and their abundance of resources that they are donating the use of, we are still able to continue our camp despite the current economic climate. This year our budget has taken significant cuts:

Supply budget cut by 33%
Funding for staff has been cut 50%
Snack budget has been cut 50%
Due to the creativity of our staff and the frugalness of all involved we were able to come up with low cost solutions and still provide a quality program. A good example is the Green Kids Magical Tote Bag and endangered animal crafts. They are made primarily out of donated craft supplies and donated/collected recyclable materials at a very minimal expense to the camp budget.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH: In order to promote the camp and the creativity and talent of the campers, Camp Ladybug will have a Parent Open House on Friday (the last day of camp) from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Friends and family of the campers will be invited to view the camper's Green Kids artwork, crafts and Storybird products. The community is also invited to attend. Light refreshments will be provided.

Materials and Technology

All of the materials and technology that have been used in the camp have been reviewed and approved by the camp educators. There is little to no advertising on the websites used and most of the materials provided have been created for teachers and educators. One of the websites that the children will be spending a lot of time using during their camp experience, and at home if they want, is Arkive. Arkive has thousands of videos, images and fact files to engage students. The website shows examples of variation in nature, adaption in nature, animal habitats and animal life cycles. There are teaching resources on evolution, classification, adaptation, food chains and conservation. The website links to Google Earth and provides science games for students and campers to explore. Arkive won the AEP (Association of Education Publishers) Award in 2010 and the website is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Network) Ambassador to promote curiosity in these subjects. Another resource the students will be using is a website called Storybird. Storybird is a collaborative storytelling site which empowers students to create stories as individuals or in a group and use artwork provided to illustrate their creations. The website capture's the imagination of the student and encourages literacy. In a review of the website in School Library Journal in December, 2010, Christopher Bell is quoted as saying that Storybird, "knocked my socks off!" We feel that both of these tools mesh perfectly with the themes and focus of our unit because they not only promote 21st Century technology skills, but they do it in a way that we can incorporate seamlessly our focus on nature and environmental responsibility.

Additional online resources used in the lessons include:
All About Habitats - printable book
Habitat Word Search tool:
For grades K – 2 Recycling Coloring Page:
For grades 3 - 5 Recycling Maze worksheet:
Magical Tote Bag – instructions and video:
Recycling video – Litterbug, featuring Carlos the Caterpillar:
Resource about endangered species of animals and their habitats:
Computer software for creating your own simple story:

Online resources for additional information for leaders:
Excellent resource for lessons and ideas: Note: The “Scrap Art” video on Teachers TV was the inspiration for our building animals out of recycled materials. The video is not currently available. Teachers TV lost their funding due to the economic situation in the UK. It was taken offline. Rather than lose the wealth of instructional materials the site had built up, the government stepped in and is currently in progress incorporating the information onto the government site listed above. Check back periodically to see when the information becomes available again.)

A resource about recycling for leaders to find more information for themselves to help them work with kids as well as kid friendly sources:

The Implementation & Assignments
The Green Kids Program Team, led by Marybeth and Pam, felt very successful after three evening planning sessions held in March allowed them to develop the week long program for camp. The team consisted of the camp director, Marybeth, Pam and the entire camp staff. The summer staff technology specialist from Chevy Chase Elementary School also attended the last session and helped finalize the technology activities. During our planning sessions a couple of challenging issues were discussed. Assessment was a hot topic. Even though this is a camp we felt it would be important to assess the campers to see if they really understand the concepts presented. We have more freedom than the teachers do during the school year when they are bound to a specific curriculum, so we tried to incorporate assessment into the lessons in a fun way instead of using formal testing. Each day we incorporate an activity at the end to give us feedback on whether the campers are getting the gist of the topic presented or not. Based on that daily feedback we will tweak the lessons for the upcoming days. The other issue was how to strike a balance between technology and the natural world, especially since we have access to both. After lengthy discussion, everyone agreed that we should not incorporate technology into each day’s lesson. The team felt strongly that campers have a day where they can use their five senses and really experience nature and the world around them undistracted by technology. The team also liked the idea of allowing the campers to be immersed in hands-on creative sessions. This is a summer camp! Another hot topic that came up was how to keep the campers from being distracted or overwhelmed when searching on the computer as well as instructs younger and less technology savvy campers. Everyone agreed that some type of scaffolding needs to be in place to avoid that. The technology specialist proposed that she would prepare a two hour training session for the team the week before camp and provide us with strategies and techniques to keep campers focused and searching. All agreed that would solve the problem. Based on all that, the program will be broken down into three lessons with a focus on three environmental literacy topics – habitats, endangered animals, and recycling:
Lesson 1
Day 1 – This is the day we decided the campers could commune with nature. This lesson introduces the topic of habitats and we get them outside to observe and explore. We especially liked starting off the week focusing on nature because it really establishes a strong theme for the program. Plus an outdoor experience is a huge jolt to most kids since time spent outdoors is minimal at best, non-existent at worst.

Day 2 – For the second day of camp we introduce the topic of endangered animals. We also take them into the computer lab and do some basic searching for information about endangered animals on a very kid friendly website and provide a work sheet for them to collect the information. This simple lesson is a good introduction to technology. Campers then create a poster of the information which they will be using in later lessons.
Lesson 2
Day 3 – Our third topic, recycling, is introduced on this day. We take this opportunity to immerse the campers in a hands-on creative session making a craft using specific recycled materials. We allow a nod to technology by allowing the campers to watch an animated video about “Littering” while they are making the craft.

Lesson 3
Day 4 – We give the campers another opportunity to use the computer lab to compose an online story using the Storybird software. The stories will focus on how recycling can help keep animal’s habitats clean and safe. Our goal is to encourage the campers to understand the three topics we have presented in the past three days and to see how they are interrelated.

Day 5 – We finish up the week with another hands-on creative session making a craft using a collection of recycled materials and craft supplies. This craft also ties in our three topics of habitats (using their poster as inspiration), endangered animals (they will create one out of the materials on hand), and recycling (the materials used to make the animal craft will be recycled items).

The Lessons

Lesson 1: Green Kids and Habitats

Lesson Plan 1.docx
Green Kids 1 - Habitat Word Search.doc
Green Kids 2 - Habitat Word Search.doc
Green Kids Animal List.doc
Green Kids 1 - Endangered Animal work sheet.doc
Green Kids 2 - Endangered Animal work sheet.doc

Lesson 2: Green Kids and Recycling

Lesson Plan 2.docx
Green Kids - Note to parents about recycled materials.doc

Green Kids - Green World Eco Facts.doc

Lesson 3: Green Kids and Putting it all Together

Lesson Plan 3.docx
Green Kids 1 - Recycling Coloring Page.doc
Green Kids 2 - Recycling Bin Maze.pdf
Green Kids - Storyboard work sheet.doc


About Challenged Based Learners: Take Action and Make a Difference. Retrieved from:

American Association of School Librarians. (2007). Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. Retrieved from:

Chevy Chase Elementary School website. Retrieved from:

International Society for Technology in Education. (2007). The ISTE/NETS and Performance Indicators for Students. Retrieved from:

Maryland State Board of Education. (2000). Standards for School Library Media Programs in Maryland. Retrieved from:

No Child Left Inside Coalition. Retrieved from:

School Library Journal. Retrieved from:

The Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). Retrieved from:

Print Resources:

Gribbin-Lindemon, S. (2009). Do Martians Recycle? Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse.
Spilsbury, R. (2005). You Can Save the Planet - The Great Outdoors: Saving Habitats. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library.