Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina now accepting applications for June 2020 Our Big Backyard summer camp

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is proud to announce the return of its summer camp, Our Big Backyard, produced in partnership with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Office, Burke County Center. Now accepting camper applications, the third annual Our Big Backyard takes place June 15-19.

Over the camp’s five-day course, campers will pick blueberries, learn about water quality through scientific testing, create nature-inspired artwork, catch and release native fish, explore Lake James State Park, learn about educational and recreational resources in downtown Morganton and enjoy other fun outdoor activities.

First created in 2018, the Our Big Backyard (OBB) traveling day camp immerses children age 6-10 in the outdoors while also increasing their environmental literacy through fun, educational activities.

“We are so fortunate to have the resources and support to host this program for the third year in a row,” said Beth Willard-Patton, the conservancy’s associate director. “Seeing children learn about our natural world while engaging in STEAM education is exciting and fulfilling. We are confident that our 2020 camp will be the best year yet!”

OBB also focuses on physical fitness and healthy eating, as campers are provided a healthy meal and snacks each day.

The N.C. Cooperative Extension Office, Burke County Center, is once again providing its facilities for the week. Campers will be dropped off and picked up each day from the facility at 130 Ammons Drive in Morganton. To date, other partners for 2020 include TOSS, Brown Mountain Beach Resort, Environmental Quality Institute, Wildlife Resources Commission, Downtown Morganton, Lake James State Park and Bigfoot Climbing Gym.

“Our community partners are crucial to the success of OBB,” said Foothills Conservancy Development Coordinator Sophie Shelton. “Through interactions with various partners, our campers receive quality programming that is both developed and implemented by an expert in a particular field. This collaboration has been a great way for summer campers to make new and unique connections with their environment.”

OBB is funded by grants, private gifts and in-kind donations of local businesses. To date, the conservancy has received generous support from The Conservation Fund’s Creating New Economies Fund (a collaboration with Kate B. Reynolds) and the Burke Women’s Fund.

The weeklong camp costs $100 per camper, though scholarships are available to assist with or cover the cost. To request a space for your 6-10-year-old at Our Big Backyard, visit and complete the online application by May 1. This camp is not first-come-first-serve, and participants are chosen by a selection committee. For more information, call Beth Willard-Patton or Sophie Shelton at 828-437-9930.