Mission: TO GUIDE EACH STUDENT IN RECOGNIZING AND RESPONDING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S CALL TO BE STEWARDS OF GOD’S CREATION
What does canoeing next to a beaver dam, feeling wildlife bones, and coring a red cedar have to do with our Catholic faith? Fifth and sixth grade students at Camp Hamilton’s Environmental Education program get to experience science through a Catholic lens, using Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, and supporting the Next Generation Science Standards. This 3 or 4 day residential camping program calls students, through the voice of our Holy Father, to apply the science lessons and environmental stewardship beyond the old forests of Camp Hamilton to the student’s schools, churches, and communities.
Students participating in the Environmental Education program at Camp Hamilton will:
Connect their Catholic faith to the natural world around them.
Develop a sense of appreciation for God’s creation.
Experience their environment through scientific observation and investigations.
Gain a deeper sense of Catholic community, respect for diversity and participate in cooperative group living and problem solving.
Rooted in Catholic Social Teaching
The Environmental Education program at Camp Hamilton creates an experience rooted in Catholic spirituality and social teaching. The words of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato si’, guide each lesson calling students to be stewards of God’ creation.
Dynamic morning and evening prayer experiences shape the day, and the visit typically concludes with a celebration of mass to send us forth from camp to our parishes, schools, and communities. Faith-based values are incorporated into all facets of our program, from buying locally-sourced produce and fairly-traded coffee, to minimizing and composting waste on site.
Our program is grounded in community and cooperative group living. Students will learn the value of treating others with dignity and respect, the benefits of teamwork, and accept personal responsibility for maintaining and conserving the group living environment.
While at camp, students interact with other Catholics outside their home community. We schedule schools from different regions, socio-economic status, and ethnic backgrounds together and facilitate positive interactions, generating awareness of commonalities between diverse groups of people while appreciating differences.
Students spend a large portion of time each day in Exploration Groups out in the field participating in lessons based in scientific observation and investigation. The curriculum supports the Next Generation Science Standards, Catholic Schools Learning Expectations and Benchmarks, and Framework for Environmental Education Guidelines produced by the Washington State Office for Environmental Education. The curriculum was created in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Seattle Office for Catholic Schools.