About Us

Our Mission

To provide an inclusive and representative space where children can find their place in nature, embrace their unique selves, grow relationships and new life skills, build resilience, and be inspired throughout.
Group of campers backpacking up a hill

Our Unique Experience

Nature-Oriented ○ Non-Competitive ○ Small Numbers ○ Well-Trained Staff ○ Unplugged and Media-Free ○ Unhurried Schedule ○ Family-Run ○ All-Gender ○ A Five and Six-Week Option

Nature-Oriented ● Non-Competitive ● Small Numbers ● Well-Trained Staff ● Unplugged and Media-Free ● Unhurried Schedule ● Family-Owned & Operated ● All-Gender ● A Five and Six-Week Option

Why Nature?

Because we are a part of the natural world! In nature we feel joy, connection, and a sense that the world is essentially a good and healthy place. Living in a fast-paced, high-pressure, socially digitized society can overwhelm our primary connection to the natural world. Nurturing our connection to nature is restorative and strengthening, and can give us a feeling of belonging to something that is greater than ourselves.

Rather than having a nature center at The Nature Place, nature is the center, and becomes the thread that weaves throughout our varied activities. Our program propels children to feel at home in their world, connected to their earth, creatively capable of meeting their futures.

Why Non-Competitive?

Non-competitive means a great deal more to us at The Nature Place than offering cooperative games in lieu of regular sports. It is also an attitude and way of living in the world: accepting people as they are, recognizing that each person we encounter is worthy of our respect, believing that how we treat others is as important as what we can accomplish. This philosophy is followed through all our activities, from swimming to archery to art; no awards are given at camp.

Skills learned through cooperative games and active participation in a non-competitive environment prepare children to navigate through life beyond camp. By removing the pressure of winning or losing, and by taking away the fear of looking ‘not good enough’ in front of peers, campers can actually engage fully in an activity. Learning how to communicate through differences, working to include all members of a group, and focusing on process rather than product, are competencies we believe to be fundamental to living a healthy, meaningful life.

Why Small Numbers?

We intentionally keep our numbers small to cultivate a community where everyone recognizes each other and no one gets lost in the shuffle. Individualized attention and care are given to each and every camper.

How are Staff Trained?

Many of our staff members are previous Nature Place campers, some are teachers, some in college, a few are graduating from high school, and all of them work at The Nature Place not just because it’s a job, but because they believe in what we do.

During our full week of staff training, we hold workshops and discussions on conflict resolution, bullying, anti-racism, safety (physical and emotional), sustainability, ensuring a positive environment for LGBTQ+ campers and staff, setting and maintaining the proper verbal environment at camp, our expectations, what to do in a variety of ‘What if…?’ situations, and so much more.

Why Unplugged?

In an age where day-to-day life is heavily saturated with digital influence, camp serves as one of the last places where campers (and staff) can escape the pressures of constantly being hooked in to screens, social media, and virtual reality. Our campers tell us they feel relieved, free, more creative, less anxious, and more connected to the people around them in our unplugged camp environment.

Why Unhurried?

As an antidote to our fast-paced lifestyles, at camp we intentionally slow down. We believe children thrive when given time to integrate into an activity and not be rushed out of it. This is especially considered in the structure of our younger campers’ schedules. An unhurried schedule also encourages organic social interactions and opportunities to ‘stop and smell the roses’–or in our case, the milkweed. To get more of a sense of our pace at camp, check out a typical day.

What Family?

It would take a complex diagram to explain all of the connections, but the short of it is that Ed Bieber and Scott Dunn (friends for 30 years), have children by their sides helping run camp (two of whom are married!).

Why All-Gender?

The Nature Place is deeply committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for every camper. We do not assign campers to groups based on their gender, nor do we emphasize gender as a means of defining or limiting individuals. By removing gender as a means of division, we strive to overcome gender stereotypes, encourage self-expression, and nurture opportunities for growth. We work closely with the Rockland Pride Center to continually evolve our awareness around gender, inclusion, and our camp culture.

Why a Five and Six-Week Option?

In Summers 2020 and 2021, we enrolled all campers for a 5-week-long experience and watched as our camp mission and core values were fulfilled like never before. Campers’ genuine connection with one another reached new depths, as did skill-building and self-expansion. Not to mention how safe having static groupings made camp. This summer, we’re excited to bring you the same benefits of having everyone enrolled for the full summer, while also giving families more flexibility! Read more on our ‘Why 5 or 6 Weeks?’ page.

Direct sensuous reality, in all its more-than-human mystery, remains the sole solid touchstone for an experiential world now inundated with electronically generated vistas and engineered pleasures; only in regular contact with the tangible ground and sky can we learn how to orient and to navigate in the multiple dimensions that now claim usDavid Abrams