Nature Camp provides a bunkbed and mattress for each camper. Campers should bring

  • pillow
  • mattress cover
  • sleeping bag or sheets and blanket

Campers should also bring sufficient personal items and clothing for two weeks, including

  • toiletry articles
  • towels
  • flashlight or headlamp
  • sweatshirt or jacket
  • poncho or rain jacket
  • bathing suit(s)
  • at least 2 pairs of jeans or long pants
  • one set of dress clothing for Closing Ceremony and chapel services.
  • at least 3 pairs of footwear: everyday shoes, boots or sturdy shoes for hiking, and water shoes

Please note that all footwear (including water shoes) must be completely closed at the toes and heel.  

No laundry facilities are available for campers.

A water bottle and daypack are recommended for Sunday hikes.

Sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 is required for all campers at the swimming pool.

Campers may also wish to bring

  • camera
  • binoculars
  • field guides
  • insect repellent
  • a folding lawn chair or “Crazy Creek” chair (to facilitate physical distancing during class and free time)
  • musical instruments or other items for talent night
  • notebook and pens or pencils for class projects and reports
  • stationery and stamps

Toiletry items, insect repellent, disposable cameras, notebooks, paper, and writing utensils are available for purchase in the canteen.

Campers should not bring

  • knives or any other weapons
  • personal electronic devices, including cell phones, iPods, CD/DVD/mp3/tape players, radios, video games, laptop computers
  • any tobacco and nicotine products (including e-cigarettes and vaping devices)
  • and any substances which Virginia or federal laws prohibit those under the age of 21 from possessing

Digital cameras are permitted.

Please note that storage space is limited; a large footlocker or trunk is usually the most convenient way to organize your belongings.

Although Nature Camp staff will make every effort to assist campers in maintaining their belongings, they are not responsible for personal items left or lost at camp.  Do not bring expensive or irreplaceable items, and be certain that all items are clearly marked with the camper’s name.

Each application should be accompanied by a $150 deposit. This deposit is not refundable once an applicant is accepted. The balance of payment is due by June 1 to secure a camper’s place in his or her enrolled session. If payment is not received in full by this date, a camper’s place may be given to an applicant on the waiting list. Please note that if you have received a scholarship from a garden club or other sponsoring organization, it is your responsibility to notify the sponsor of your acceptance and to ensure that payment is made on time.

Health History Form
Nature Camp uses a system of electronic health records to collect essential health history information for campers, including medications to be taken at camp; drug, food, and environmental allergies; past and chronic health concerns; and baseline health information. This form is critically important in helping us care for each camper and in providing Nature Camp permission to treat a campers should a medical need arise.

Accepted applicants will be registered in CampDoc, which will then prompt parents/caregivers to create an account and provide health history information. Each camper’s health history form must be completed before a camper’s session begins.

We also use CampDoc to collect emergency contact information for participants and permission to use a camper’s photograph or other media for display on the Nature Camp website or inclusion in Camp publications. (Nature Camp respects the wishes of anyone who prefers not to grant such permission.)

Following the guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nature Camp recommends that all campers receive the tetravalent meningococcal conjugated vaccine (MCV4).

If for any reason you are unable to attend your session, please notify director Philip Coulling (director [“at” symbol] as soon as possible so that your space may be offered to someone on the waiting list.  All fees are not refundable after June 1.

Head Lice Policy
Nature Camp strives to provide a safe, clean, and healthy environment for all participants, but even we are not immune to the possibility of an infestation of head lice. Campers sleep in close quarters, with up to 16 campers in each section of each bunkhouse. If a camper arrives at Nature Camp with a case of head lice, it can easily be transmitted to other campers, and subsequent infestations may not be detected until after a session has ended. Therefore, it is critically important that you check your camper before s/he comes to Nature Camp to ensure that s/he is free of head lice. In order to protect the health of other campers and staff, Nature Camp reserves the right to dismiss any camper who presents a case of head lice; any such camper will not be permitted to return until the infestation has been properly and effectively treated.

Nature Camp lacks the means, personnel, and time to inspect every camper upon arrival for the presence of head lice. We do, however, take several steps to minimize the likelihood that head lice could spread from camper to camper.

  •  Sleeping arrangements in each bunkhouse alternate between head-to-toe and toe-to-head orientation, so that the head of one camper is adjacent to the feet of his or her neighbors (though there are 2-3 feet between bunks). This practice also helps to reduce the likelihood of transmission of airborne pathogens between campers.
  • Staff emphasize to campers the importance of avoiding head-to-head contact and encourage them not to share brushes, combs, or other hair items, as well as clothing that may come in contact with one’s head.
  • Between sessions all mattresses are vacuumed, sprayed with disinfectant, and inspected for damage.

Nature Camp does not provide bedding for campers. In addition to bringing a sleeping bag or sheets and blankets, you may wish to consider furnishing your camper with her or his own mattress cover or pad. We also encourage you to wash all bedding in hot water at the end of your camper’s session.

If Nature Camp receives a verified report of head lice in a camper from an earlier session, all parents of campers in that and any other earlier sessions will immediately be notified and encouraged to check their campers for infestation.

Please note that head lice are not known to transmit disease.

More information about head lice is available from the Centers for Disease Control:

Information About Ticks
Ticks are known to spread a number of bacteriological and other diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, as well as the so-called “Alpha-Gal” allergy, a delayed allergic reaction to red meat. Although ticks are not as commonly encountered in and around Nature Camp as they are in some other parts of Virginia, we strongly recommend that you prepare your camper for the possibility of finding a tick and teach her or him how to identify ticks common to Virginia, including blacklegged (deer) ticks, Lone Star ticks, and American dog ticks.

Campers are reminded daily to check themselves for ticks, and we encourage you to emphasize to your camper the critical importance of taking these reminders seriously. It is not possible for the staff to check every camper daily for the presence of ticks, but campers are encouraged to check themselves at least once a day, especially after returning from hikes. A “tick check buddy” is helpful for examining those areas that one cannot easily see oneself, such as the back or head.

Campers are also informed that if any of them finds a tick on his or her person, whether embedded or not, s/he should proceed immediately to the infirmary to have the tick removed (and receive treatment if a bite has already occurred). Nature Camp maintains a tick log to record all tick bites and removals. Any tick removed from a camper is stored in a plastic bag for the remainder of the session and then returned upon check-out so that it may subsequently be checked for the presence of pathogens.

The following information is provided by the American Camping Association (

DEET-containing products were thought to be a good option for preventing tick bites. However, recent tests have shown that although DEET is an excellent repellent for mosquitoes, black flies and gnats, it’s only effective at repelling ticks for brief time periods after being applied and then must be re-applied. A better option for repelling ticks are “Clothing Only Repellents” such as those containing Permethrin (found in Permanone® Products, Sawyer Clothing-Only Repellent® and Repel®). These products contain about 0.5% Permethin, much less than the amount used to treat head lice on children or Scabies mite infestations of the skin. In the case of tick repellents, using more of the active ingredient than this is unnecessary, and can even lead to chemical overexposure.

You can purchase tick repellent clothes containing permethrin (easiest and most cost-effective) or use sprays and soaking kits to treat your own clothes with permethrin tick repellent. Commercially treated clothing remains tick repellent through 70 wash cycles while treat-at-home sprays and kits provide effective repellency for up to 6 washings. Whichever method you choose, wearing tick repellent clothing makes tick bite protection and disease prevention as easy as getting dressed in the morning!

More information about ticks, tick-borne illnesses, and tick prevention, is available from the American Camping Association: and the Centers for Disease Control:

Checking in
Each session begins on a Sunday afternoon, with check-in between 2:00 and 4:00 PM. We use staggered, scheduled drop-off times to better manage traffic flow and to reduce waiting times, with a limited number of spaces available for check-in and pick-up within each 30-minute block of time. Approximately one week before each session begins, parents/caregivers will receive an e-mail with instructions for signing up for time slots using SignUpGenius (for which you do not need an account).

Nature Camp maintains a small store (canteen) where campers may purchase some personal items, Nature Camp T-shirts and other clothing, stationery and notebook supplies, ice cream, snacks and drinks.  Money (cash or check) brought to camp will be deposited with the Canteen Operator, and items purchased are charged against each camper’s account.  At the end of the session, any remaining funds will be returned; overdrafts are not permitted.

Each session ends on Saturday, 13 days after it begins. Campers should be picked up between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM. The final event of each session is a brief chapel service beginning at approximately 9:00 AM. We have no provisions for supervising campers beyond 11:30 AM that morning.

Please also come to the Office to check your campers out on the last day of the session. We will make sure that each camper has gathered all of his or her belongings, recovered any medication from the health center, settled up his or her account in the canteen, and obtained his or her notebook.

Please let us know in advance if a camper has to leave early or will be departing with someone other than a parent or guardian.

If you bring a dog or other pet on check-in/departure days, please keep it on a leash at all times.

To protect the health of campers and staff, no visitors will be allowed during sessions in the summer of 2021, including evening program speakers.  If a camper needs to leave camp for any reason during her session, including family emergencies, please notify us as far in advance as possible.

Nature Camp maintains a single voice telephone line (540-377-2491) for general business use. Except in the event of an emergency, campers may neither receive nor make calls. We ask that you respect this policy.

Campers do welcome mail during the session, and we encourage campers to write home throughout their stay. Mail should have the camper’s name clearly written above the address:

Nature Camp
316 Nature Camp Trail
Vesuvius, VA  24483

While care packages are always popular, please note that campers may not store food with their personal belongings. Food items brought or received by campers are stored by the staff in a central location and cannot be kept longer than three days. This policy is necessary because of our limited storage space and to avoid attracting mice and ants. Although campers  have access to care packages throughout the day, we do restrict access immediately before meals. In accord with our conservation focus, we strongly discourage the use of packaging which cannot be reused or recycled and request that packages and packaging materials be kept to a minimum.