Summer Nature Camp

Click here for a camp schedule overview!

Year after year, DPNC is voted the area’s best summer nature camp, and with good reason!  Our campers spend their days hiking, exploring and learning about our animals, woods, meadows, streams and local habitats. We are passionate about sharing outdoor fun, adventure, games, new skills, confidence building, education and natural history knowledge. A strong environmental ethic develops in children who learn to love being outdoors. Nature camp builds the foundation for a lifetime of love and respect for the environment. Plus, it’s fun!

Our camps for ages 3 to 15 all work in concert with our mission: to inspire an understanding of the natural world and ourselves as a part of it – past, present and future.  Camp slots do sell out quickly, so to ensure you reserve the week and program of your choice, be sure to register online or in person at the Nature Center when registration opens in January 2024.  For registration questions, please call (860) 536-1216 ext 0.  For all other questions, please contact our Camp Director Jess Morris at [email protected].

Register online, or download this form to register in person or by mail.

Medical forms are due to the camp director by May 1. Physical exam and immunizations must be within the last three years.

If your child needs medication administered during the day, the medication form must be completed by their doctor and submitted to the camp director by May 1.

If your child has a specific physical, emotional and/or learning difficulty our staff should know about, please complete this form and return to the camp director by May 1.

Summer Camp FAQs

Pick your camp programs online at, and you'll be able to register and pay online. Alternatively, you can register over the phone at 860-536-1216 ext. 0 or come visit us at 109 Pequotsepos Road and we'll help you in person.

A complete camp registration includes:

  1. Registration form with emergency contact information
  2. Payment

In addition, parents must provide by May 1:

  1. Medical form & immunization schedule from within the past three years (or an exemption from a doctor)
  2. An Authorization for the Administration of Medication Form

If your child needs medication available or administered during the day, such as an inhaler or Epi-pen, parents must provide an authorization form signed by their doctor by May 1.

If your child does not require medication, an authorization form must be provided stating that they do not need medication.

If your camper/campers require any special care other than medication, parents must provide a separate care plan form by May 1.

Campers with incomplete registration forms will not be admitted to camp and will not be given a refund. 

Gift certificates for camp can be redeemed in person at the front desk. If you have questions about your gift certificate for camp, please call 860-536-1216 ext. 0 and ask for Sandra Lewis.

Please contact Camp Director Jess Morris at [email protected] or 860-980-3732 with your camp questions. For registration questions, please call the front desk at 860-536-1216 ext. 0.

Registration opens for members January 10, and then for non-members on January 24. Benefits of a DPNC membership include receiving camp information and discounts 2 weeks before non-members!

Yes! Members can choose their camp weeks and register starting January 10, before registration for non-members opens on January 24.

(Family, Single-Parent Family & Grandparent memberships include the summer camp benefits.)

Yes, we are pleased to offer discounts to Family, Grandparent and Single-Parent Family membership levels on Summer Nature Camp. The price for members and non-members is listed under each camp description.

No, not for summer camp. However, we do have other summer program choices for children of all ages. Inquire at the front desk or check our website at

No, even our youngest campers spend as much time as possible outdoors and are active during the time they are here. If your child needs a nap, we offer half-day camps and many early childhood programs that allow for naps at home.

Summer camp does not have an after-care program. Each full-day camper has an assigned drop-off time between 8:30-9:00 am and assigned pick-up time between 3:30 and 4 pm, according to the camper’s last name. If you need to request an adjustment to your time in the morning or afternoon, please contact Camp Director Jess Morris at [email protected]. The full camp day ends at 4 p.m.

If your child needs a longer day of activities and care at the Nature Center during the summer months, our Neighbors & Nature program at Coogan Farm welcomes children ages 5 to 12 from 7 am to 6 pm. Neighbors & Nature also offers child care and enrichment before school and after school during the academic year, following the Stonington School district calendar. Learn more at Neighbors & Nature.

Please call our front desk and leave a message at 860-536-1216 ext. 0 as soon as you know your child will not be coming to camp that day. Our counselors welcome their group at their home base each day, and wait until all campers have arrived to start the day’s activities.

All medication is presented at the check-in table to confirm the proper forms are present. Medications must be in the original containers/boxes with the child’s name and will be matched to the authorization form signed by both the physician and parent, and previously submitted to the Camp Director Jess Morris by May 1. Your camper's counselor will hold their medications and administer as directed. Campers that don't have the proper forms signed and submitted will not be able to attend camp. It is important that we know about all medications in advance.

A two-strap backpack, comfortable for hiking.

Bug spray and sunscreen. Please apply before camp each day.

An extra set of clothing and shoes. Consider clothing as sunburn, bug bite, poison ivy and tick prevention measures.

Proper footwear is critical for comfort and safety. Shoes should be sturdy and will get wet and muddy. Footwear that fits snugly will prevent accidents from uneven terrain at camp. No flip-flops or Crocs, please.

Rain coats when appropriate. Our camp is mostly outside and in all kinds of weather, and we play in the rain!

Please send at least 32 ounces of water in a reusable bottle. Tip: freeze a half-full water bottle at night, fill in the morning. It serves as both a cold drink and ice pack at the same time.

Please provide containers with lids so that uneaten food does not end up all over the lunch box. We teach campers to  “pack in/pack out” just like at our National Parks.

Most importantly, have them bring their imagination, sense of wonder and adventure!

Campers may bring nuts and nut butters in their lunch, but we take careful precautions at mealtimes if we have a camper in the group with a food allergy as noted on their medical form. Counselors are trained to keep food allergic campers safe and at least one of them in each group is Epi-pen trained. Please make sure to relay all allergy information to the staff and have all the proper medication and accompanying paperwork so we can keep them safe. Medical and medication forms are due to Camp Director Jess Morris by May 1.

All camp forms are due by May 1, which includes the medical form/health record signed by the child's physician (physical must be within three years) and if needed, the medication form and/or the special care form, both of which must be signed by the child's physician.

Please send your forms to Camp Director Jess Morris at [email protected], by fax to Jess Morris at 860-536-2983 or via mail to Camp Director Jess Morris, DPNC, 109 Pequotsepos Road, Mystic, CT 06355.

The DPNC fax number is 860-536-2983, and our front desk phone number is 860-536-1216 ext. 0.

Alternatively you can scan your forms and email them to Camp Director Jess Morris at [email protected] or send via mail to Camp Director Jess Morris, DPNC, 109 Pequotsepos Road, Mystic, CT 06355.

Please pack non-perishable foods only, snacks and lunches cannot be refrigerated.

Some suggestions of non-perishable foods include peanut butter, almond butter, sun butter, Nutella, fresh or dried fruit and vegetables, trail mix, granola bars, protein bites, nuts, apple sauce, hummus or other bean spreads, crackers, rice cakes, wraps, breads, muffins, dried cereal and hard cheeses.

Children are not permitted to share food at camp.

The Nature Center can be a great place for children with special needs and we will always try to accommodate all children; however, each child's situation is unique and the safety of the group is always a primary factor in any decision we make. The camp cannot provide one-on-one care. Please contact Camp Director Jess Morris to discuss your child’s needs at [email protected] or 860-980-3732.

Many of our camp counselors and assistants join the summer camp from our year-round education staff at the Nature Center, others are school teachers, naturalists, students in environmental studies or education and often they are former campers! Many of our summer staff return year after year. Each group has at least one counselor trained in CPR and First Aid, and all Nature Center educators and camp counselors have a full background check before they begin work.

All campers must be independent in the bathroom. They use outhouses and inside bathrooms at the Nature Center, the Preschool and Coogan Farm. Counselors do not accompany campers into the bathroom. On hikes, away from our main buildings, campers will use the woods with a balance of privacy and supervision.

Our summer camp staff members are all qualified and trained to be with children outdoors, however, nature and the outdoors is unpredictable and injuries can occur at any time. Bee stings or other animal bites, falls off rocks and ledges, tripping over roots  and slipping at the water’s edge are all risks that your child may be exposed to during their camp day. Our camp counselors are ever vigilant of danger and our mission is to teach campers to be active participants in their own safety. This includes asking for clarification if they don’t understand instructions, not wandering from the group, and responding immediately to safety directions. Please use this guideline to assess if summer nature camp is a good fit for your child. 

While we work with families to accommodate these situations, we also ask that you please try to schedule appointments around camp or stay as close to the camp schedule as possible. Our days are filled with adventures on the trails, in the woods and often we are far away from the main building. It’s very important to communicate special requests directly with the counselors: a schedule change for one camper often means they need to adapt their plans for the rest of the group that day. If you arrive early for pick up without notification, you may need to wait until the group returns from an activity.

Camp days are filled with messy conditions and activities. This is a big part of the nature camp experience. Chances are, the dirtier you find them, the more fun they had during the day! We hope you’ll embrace this experience with us, and plan accordingly if you need your child presentable on your way home. 

Our mission is to connect campers with nature, therefore we don’t include personal electronics as part of their day. The Nature Center takes no responsibility for lost items. Any items we do find are put in lost and found where they will remain for one week after the end of camp.

If you modify your initial enrollment by transferring to another week or substituting one camper for another, a $15 administrative fee per transfer is assessed. Cancellations will be accepted until two weeks before the start date of any session. No refunds are given for cancellations within two weeks of the start of camp. A 15% service charge will be deducted from any refund.

Yes. If you are missing items, check the lost and found. Please label EVERYTHING that comes to camp! The single most common misplaced item is a water bottle, please be sure they are labeled.

On the first day of camp each week, families will go first to the check-in table under the front porch. If your registration is complete, you will head to your camper’s home base, where you will sign them in. After Monday morning, you will sign in your camper each day at their home base, greeted by their counselor.

Please be sure all medical, medication and care forms are completed and submitted by May 1.

Staggered Drop Off & Pick Up

Each day you’ll drop off and pick up your campers at the Nature Center on 109 Pequotsepos Road.

Monday mornings, the first day of the camp week, will begin under the front porch at your check-in time. Then, from Tuesday through Friday, parents will check campers in at their designated home base, where counselors will greet you.

Camp drop-off and pick-up times are assigned according to the camper’s last name, staggered between 8:30 – 9 in the morning and  3:30 – 4 in the afternoon.

If you need to request an adjusted drop-off or pick-up time, please contact Camp Director Jess Morris at [email protected] or speak to a counselor.

Last names A-H: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Last names I-Q: 8:45 am – 3:45 pm

Last names R-Z: 9 am – 4 pm

The camp day ends by 4 pm each day. If you need an extended day of activities and care for your child in summer, we invite you to learn more about our Neighbors & Nature program, which provides care between 7 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday in summer, as well as before school and after school during the school year.

Camp Scholarships

Scholarships are given for one week of camp only, are reviewed in the order received, range in value and are granted based on available funds and financial need. If you have questions about a camp scholarship please email Jess Morris, Camp Director at [email protected].

If you are in a position to help give a child a memorable summer experience in nature, we welcome your support of our camp scholarship fund. To learn more, please contact Development Director Vera Harsh at [email protected].