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Boys & Girls learn on the lakes

MADISON, Wis. — This Thursday, nearly 200 students from the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County (BGCDC) will descend on Lake Wingra for the second annual Lake Explorer Camp field day—to cement new skills and hobbies and celebrate a successful camp season. Over the last two months, the kids, aged 7 to 12, have attended the camp weekly in small groups, getting their hands and feet wet in the name of lake science and recreation.

“The camp exposes kids to local lakes, teaches them how to navigate our waters safely, and fosters excitement in kids who would not normally have these opportunities,” says AJ Kriha, senior director of programs at BGCDC. “Once they’ve participated in the Lake Explorer Camp, they’re always excited to go back or share what they’ve learned.”

The Lake Explorer Camp is produced in partnership by Wingra Boats, Clean Lakes Alliance and BGCDC, thanks to generous support by American Girl’s Fund for Children, Wingra Boat’s Duck Dash, and CLA’s “Lake Buddy” donor program. The students learn about and play on Lake Wingra with Wingra Boats’ professional staff, including a bilingual instructor. Students investigate fish biology, read topography maps, and identify lake macroinvertebrates with a microscope, and build paddling, boating and fishing skills.

“The outdoor environment just lends itself to a different sort of learning,” said Debi Leeper, Wingra Boats camp director and education coordinator. “Kids that were at first afraid to get into a canoe or rowboat leave feeling confident and saying ‘I want to do this again.’”

Through their lake education programs, Clean Lakes Alliance seeks to leverage the strengths of community partners and make connections to help foster the next generation of lake advocates. To sponsor a kid to participate in the program, become a lake buddy at cleanlakesalliance.org/product/lake-buddy/.

The field day is located at 824 Knickerbocker Street, Madison, WI 53711. Group A activities run from 10 a.m. to noon; lunch at 12:15 p.m. and awards at 1 p.m.; and group B activities from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Media are invited to cover the event.

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Clean Lakes Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement and protection of the Yahara watershed

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