Summer Camps at the GTM Research Reserve

Our Adventures in the Estuary Summer Camps immerse campers in the ocean, beach, estuary, and forest habitats. While investigating how and why the habitats are always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within. Campers will take part in scientific monitoring and stewardship activities very similar to the programs our biologists conduct on site. Each week is defined by a week and age level. Click on the tabs below to read more and begin reserving a spot. Click here to access the Summer Camp waitlist if spots are sold out.

Camp Information

WHO: The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

WHERE: The GTM Research Reserve’s Visitor Center (505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32082)

WHEN: The date depends on the specific camp (click below for specific dates or visit our calendar). Campers should arrive by 8:00 a.m. (Monday – Friday), no earlier than 7:50 a.m. Camper pick-up is at 5:00 p.m., no later than 5:10 p.m. This is different from previous years in order to accomodate our working parents and guardians. Camp will officially begin at 8:00 a.m. inside the classroom where we will begin with warmup activities. Outdoor activities will begin at 9:00 a.m. (therefore it is strongly encouraged that your camper is here by that time). Wind-down activities will begin at 3:30 p.m.. You are of course welcome to pick up your camper anytime throughout the day however, all campers will be located at the GTM Research Reserve’s Visitor Center after 3:30 p.m.

REFUND POLICY: There are no full refunds. A 50% refund will be issued if you cancel four weeks prior to the start date the summer camp. No refunds will be issued after this deadline.

ADDITIONAL COMMON QUESTIONS

  • Due to the structure of activities and based on experience we try to stick to the age requirements. However, we’ll permit campers that are posed to turn the minimum age within ONE MONTH after the camp start date. Meaning if you’d like your 6 year old to attend the 7-9yr camp then we’ll allow it if they turn 7 within one month after the camp start date.
  • We will provide snacks throughout the day. The morning will consist of a healthy snack (fruit/nuts/grains) and the afternoon will usually consist of a popsicle (to help cool down).
  • Lunches – Parents/Guardians must provide a lunch for their campers. We try to encourage the campers to bring a litter-less lunch (lots of resuables). We will provide a water bottle and water throughout the day. Campers must bring: insect repellent (strongly encouraged), sunscreen (strongly encouraged), towel, change of clothes, close-toed shoes (no flip flops), sunglasses, hat
  • Your camper(s) will only be allowed to go home with people you have indicated on a list that will be sent around (via email) closer to the start of camp.
  • We usually work on the agenda up until the week before because there’s lots of cool activities. We will send that around to registrants closer to the start of camp. Usually (because of the heat) we’ll be inside in the morning, conducting experiments or working on projects and then outside in the afternoon (the breeze usually picks up by this time).
The overnight camp experience (June 4-8, 2018): Campers will get a more in-depth experience into the research and stewardship activities that occur at the Reserve such as monitoring habitats for biodiversity using seine nets and remote operated vehicles, as well as participating in night walks on our beaches and trail system. There will also be many additional field components, including boat excursions to research sites within our boundaries.

Logistics: The overnight camp experience will take place at the GTM Research Reserve’s Visitor Center and utilize the classrooms as dorms (note: males and females will be in separate classrooms, along with chaperones). The Visitor Center has a shower (if needed) and restrooms. Students will need to bring: toiletries, towel, sleeping bag, pillow (with pillowcase), three sets of clothes, extra set of shoes (including flip-flops for the shower-room), hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and insect repellent. The GTM Research Reserve will provide a water bottle, a continuous supply of water, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Students are encouraged to bring their cell phone, however are 100% responsible for them.

4-6 year old (Plankton) – There’s just so many cool ocean things to discover and explore. This camp is a fun and education way for your child to discover the importance of the coastal community, learn more about the adaptations of animals that call northeast Florida home, explore the many habitats found at the GTM Research Reserve, and even check out some current research projects conducted by our onsite biologists. This week of camp will be focused on the Ocean Habitat. Campers will leave camp understanding: 1) what makes ocean water different from river water, 2) how the ocean is involved with the weather, and 3) the biodiversity of the plants and animals in the ocean.

7-9 year old (Gobies) – Campers will be immersed in the ocean and beach habitats. While investigating how and why the ocean is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the ocean and on our beaches. Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind ocean water and the underlying issues (ocean acidification, eutrophication or dead zones).

10-12 year old (Rays) – This is similar to the 7-9 year old description. This camp has an additional engineering and technology component — underwater remote operated vehicles and 3-D scanning/ printing! Campers will be immersed in the ocean and beach habitats. While investigating how and why the ocean is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the ocean and on our beaches. Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind ocean water and the underlying issues (ocean acidification, eutrophication or dead zones).

Week II’s are extensions of Week I’s. Campers do not need to attend Week I in order to know what’s going on during Week II. The lessons and activities (for the most part) will be different from Week I to Week II.

4-6 year old (Plankton) – There’s just so many cool ocean things to discover and explore. This camp is a fun and education way for your child to discover the importance of the coastal community, learn more about the adaptations of animals that call northeast Florida home, explore the many habitats found at the GTM Research Reserve, and even check out some current research projects conducted by our onsite biologists. This week of camp will be focused on the Ocean Habitat. Campers will leave camp understanding: 1) what makes ocean water different from river water, 2) how the ocean is involved with the weather, and 3) the biodiversity of the plants and animals in the ocean.

7-9 year old (Gobies) – Campers will be immersed in the ocean and beach habitats. While investigating how and why the ocean is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the ocean and on our beaches. Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind ocean water and the underlying issues (ocean acidification, eutrophication or dead zones).

10-12 year old (Rays) – This is similar to the 7-9 year old description. This camp has an additional engineering and technology component — underwater remote operated vehicles and 3-D scanning/ printing! Campers will be immersed in the ocean and beach habitats. While investigating how and why the ocean is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the ocean and on our beaches. Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind ocean water and the underlying issues (ocean acidification, eutrophication or dead zones).

Week II’s are extensions of Week I’s. Campers do not need to attend Week I in order to know what’s going on during Week II. The lessons and activities (for the most part) will be different from Week I to Week II.

4-6 year old (Plankton) – This week will be a little different from the first Estuary Week. There’s so many cool things to see and do in the estuary. This camp is a fun and educational way for your child to discover the importance of the coastal community, learn more about the adaptations of animals that call northeast Florida home, explore the many habitats found at the GTM Research Reserve, and even check out some current research projects conducted by our onsite biologists. This week of camp will be focused on the Estuary Habitat as well except we’ll go a little more in depth on: 1) the estuary system is always changing, 2) the differences between water in the estuary, the river, and the ocean, and 3) the biodiversity of the plants and animals in the estuary.

7-9 year old (Gobies) – Campers will be immersed in the estuary habitat. While investigating how and why the estuary is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the estuary (both plants and animals). Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind estuary water and the underlying issues our estuary faces (global climate change, marine debris, overfishing).

10-12 year old (Rays) – This is similar to the 7-9 year old description. This camp has an additional engineering and technology component — underwater remote operated vehicles and 3-D Scanning/Printing! Campers will be immersed in the estuary habitat. While investigating how and why the estuary is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the estuary (both plants and animals). Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind estuary water and the underlying issues our estuary faces (global climate change, marine debris, overfishing).

Week II’s are extensions of Week I’s. Campers do not need to attend Week I in order to know what’s going on during Week II. The lessons and activities (for the most part) will be different from Week I to Week II.

4-6 year old (Plankton) – This week will be a little different from the first Estuary Week. There’s so many cool things to see and do in the estuary. This camp is a fun and educational way for your child to discover the importance of the coastal community, learn more about the adaptations of animals that call northeast Florida home, explore the many habitats found at the GTM Research Reserve, and even check out some current research projects conducted by our onsite biologists. This week of camp will be focused on the Estuary Habitat as well except we’ll go a little more in depth on: 1) the estuary system is always changing, 2) the differences between water in the estuary, the river, and the ocean, and 3) the biodiversity of the plants and animals in the estuary.

7-9 year old (Gobies) – Campers will be immersed in the estuary habitat. While investigating how and why the estuary is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the estuary (both plants and animals). Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind estuary water and the underlying issues our estuary faces (global climate change, marine debris, overfishing).

10-12 year old (Rays) – This is similar to the 7-9 year old description. This camp has an additional engineering and technology component — underwater remote operated vehicles and 3-D Scanning/Printing! Campers will be immersed in the estuary habitat. While investigating how and why the estuary is always changing they will get to experience the rich biodiversity within the estuary (both plants and animals). Campers will take part in scientific monitoring activities very similar to the same monitoring programs our biologists conduct on site. Also, campers will be introduced to the chemistry behind estuary water and the underlying issues our estuary faces (global climate change, marine debris, overfishing).

Week II’s are extensions of Week I’s. Campers do not need to attend Week I in order to know what’s going on during Week II. The lessons and activities (for the most part) will be different from Week I to Week II.

4-6 year old (Plankton) – This camp is a fun and educational way for your child to discover the importance of the coastal community, learn more about the adaptations of animals that call northeast Florida home, explore the many habitats found at the GTM Research Reserve, and even participate in some current research projects just like the biologist who work here. This week of camp will be focused on the Forest Habitat. Campers will leave camp understanding: 1) the forest system and what makes it different from the other habitats, 2) the biodiversity of the many different types of forest animals, and 3) the adaptations those animals use to survive in the forest habitat.

7-9 year old (Gobies) – Campers will be immersed in an extensive experience of the plants and animals inhabiting Northeast Florida. Each day will focus on a new group (e.g., phytoplankton, land plants, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, and birds and mammals). Campers will learn common names of plants and animals (and as much as possible some scientific names in order to demonstrate how plants and animals are grouped). They will also become aware of some amazing adaptations these local plants and animals have in order to survive in our surrounding habitats. We will introduce students to multiple resources available to them to assist in their discovery of plants and animals and share with them the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula and how these plants and animals have enhanced the cultures of the peninsula.

10-12 year old (Rays) – Campers will be immersed in an extensive experience of the plants and animals inhabiting Northeast Florida. Each day will focus on a new group (e.g., phytoplankton, land plants, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, and birds and mammals). Campers will learn common names of plants and animals (and as much as possible some scientific names in order to demonstrate how plants and animals are grouped). They will also become aware of some amazing adaptations these local plants and animals have in order to survive in our surrounding habitats. We will introduce students to multiple resources available to them to assist in their discovery of plants and animals and share with them the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula and how these plants and animals have enhanced the cultures of the peninsula.

Week II’s are extensions of Week I’s. Campers do not need to attend Week I in order to know what’s going on during Week II. The lessons and activities (for the most part) will be different from Week I to Week II.

4-6 year old (Plankton) – This camp is a fun and educational way for your child to discover the importance of the coastal community, learn more about the adaptations of animals that call northeast Florida home, explore the many habitats found at the GTM Research Reserve, and even participate in some current research projects just like the biologist who work here. This week of camp will be focused on the Forest Habitat. Campers will leave camp understanding: 1) the forest system and what makes it different from the other habitats, 2) the biodiversity of the many different types of forest animals, and 3) the adaptations those animals use to survive in the forest habitat.

7-9 year old (Gobies) – Campers will be immersed in an extensive experience of the plants and animals inhabiting Northeast Florida. Each day will focus on a new group (e.g., phytoplankton, land plants, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, and birds and mammals). Campers will learn common names of plants and animals (and as much as possible some scientific names in order to demonstrate how plants and animals are grouped). They will also become aware of some amazing adaptations these local plants and animals have in order to survive in our surrounding habitats. We will introduce students to multiple resources available to them to assist in their discovery of plants and animals and share with them the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula and how these plants and animals have enhanced the cultures of the peninsula.

10-12 year old (Rays) – Campers will be immersed in an extensive experience of the plants and animals inhabiting Northeast Florida. Each day will focus on a new group (e.g., phytoplankton, land plants, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, and birds and mammals). Campers will learn common names of plants and animals (and as much as possible some scientific names in order to demonstrate how plants and animals are grouped). They will also become aware of some amazing adaptations these local plants and animals have in order to survive in our surrounding habitats. We will introduce students to multiple resources available to them to assist in their discovery of plants and animals and share with them the cultural history of the Guana Peninsula and how these plants and animals have enhanced the cultures of the peninsula.

Week II’s are extensions of Week I’s. Campers do not need to attend Week I in order to know what’s going on during Week II. The lessons and activities (for the most part) will be different from Week I to Week II.

The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) has six (6) summer internships available for an undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited environmental education program, marine science program, or a related field.  Strong candidates possess a strong interest in:

  • Science education
  • Environmental education
  • Providing students indoor and outdoor hands-on learning opportunities
  • Learning about the importance of estuarine and coastal ecosystems

Summer camp is held at the GTM Research Reserve’s Education Center (505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082). Each day, interns will help lead and assist both campers and staff through indoor and outdoor learning activities. Nearly all of the programs are modeled after field biologists and citizen scientists research occurring within the National Estuarine Research Reserve system. Activities range from beach profiling, kayaking, seining to fish printing, ROV’s, and conservation actions. Each week (pertaining to day-camps) are focused on habitats comprising the estuary (Ocean, Estuary, and Forest). There are two week-long overnight camps (13-15yr and 16-17yr). The 13-15yr camp will focus on conservation efforts at the GTM Research Reserve, and the 16-17yr camp will focus on careers in the environmental field.

Summer camp hours vary depending on the week. Please see below for detailed information. Interns are required to work 40 hours during each Summer Camp week. The exception to this timeframe is the 13-15yr and 16-17yr overnight camps, where Interns will be required to be with campers the full time (along with GTM Research Reserve staff).

Time Commitment:  40 Hours per week for 6 weeks, over an 8 week period

  • Arrive on June 1, 2018 before 12pm.
  • Check out of dorms on August 4, 2018 by 12pm.
  • Camp Week 1: June 4-8, 2018 (13-15yr overnight camp)
  • Camp Week 2: June 11-15, 2018 (Ocean Week I, 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch)
  • Camp Week 3: June 18-22, 2018 (Ocean Week II, 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch)
  • Camp Week 4: June 25-29, 2018 (Estuary Week I, 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch)
  • No Camp, expected to be here July 2, 3 and 6 from 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch
  • Camp Week 5: July 9-13, 2018 (Estuary Week II, 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch)
  • Camp Week 6: July 16-20, 2018 (Forest Week I, 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch)
  • Camp Week 7: July 23-27, 2018 (Forest Week II, 8am – 5pm, includes 1 hour lunch)
  • Camp Week 8: July 30 – Aug 3, 2018 (16-17yr overnight camp)

Selected Interns will:

  • Stay onsite at the GTM Research Reserve Research Dorms (checking in on June 1 through August 4, 2018). You must be able to stay onsite during Summer Camp weeks, and welcome to remain during off-weeks (during the aforementioned timeframe).
  • Receive a grocery allowance per month
  • Receive a $1,000 scholarship for Fall 2018 semester

Submission Deadline: Sunday, April 1, 2018, 5:00 p.m. EST

To Apply:

  • Complete the following application form. Please note you will need to attach your CV/Resume and complete a personal statement (300 – 500 words) on why you are interested in this opportunity and what you hope to gain from this experience. We recommend typing your personal statement in another program (e.g., Word, Google Docs) and then cutting and pasting into the form.

Additional Camp Details:

Depending on your experience and interests we will place you with (note there will, for the most part, be a GTM Research Reserve staff member with you):

  • Camper Ages: 4-6yr, 7-9yr, and 10-12yr
    • Maximum campers per week: 15
    • There will always be at least two adults with students at all times