Discovery Camp

Discovery Camp 2017
Discovery Camp continues to expand and offer more experiences for the fourth graders of Christoval Elementary School. This year, the fourth graders from Ambleside School in San Angelo were invited. Bird banding activities were conducted by Charles and Nancy Floyd with their banding team of Carla Hallman, Barry Cummings, Carol Strum and Don Connell of Austin. Charles was the presenter for a new program about insects. His demonstration with tarantulas was a big hit with the kids. Programs this year included art, Texas Camel Corp, kayaking, rocks and gems, Native American History and team building in addition to insects and bird banding.

 Discovery Camp 2016
Hummer House Discovery Camp continues to be a great adventure for the fourth graders of Christoval Elementary School. New adventures added this year brought a day of enjoyment for both kids and sponsors. The presentation of the Texas Camel Corp kept the kids enthralled as they listened to a Texas History lesson from the speaker dressed in costume and watched the camels. Another added attraction was the kayaking in the Concho River. Charles Floyd and banding team banded and taught students about song birds. Nancy Floyd banded hummingbirds and explained about the life of the small creatures. Banders were assisted by Don Connell, Barry Cummings, Carol Sturm, Mr. and Mrs. Knovak, and Sue Oliver. Students were able to release a hummingbird after it was banded. Perky Pet supplied each student camper a small hummingbird feeder. A video of the camp day can be view on the Hummer House website.

Discovery Camp 2015
Students were once again honored with Discovery Camp hosted by Dan and Cathy Brown at the Hummer House in Christoval. This camp is specifically designed to be a one day outdoor education event. Many learning opportunities are offered to the fourth graders of Christoval Elementary School. The teachers group the students and sponsors into small groups and they rotate throughout the day to various stations. Each student is provided with a tee shirt and goody bag with various things from the presentations. Bird Banding demonstrations and education of songbirds and hummingbirds were presented by Charles and Nancy Floyd, Kelly and Donna Bryan along with their banding team volunteers.

Discovery Camp 2014
The Hummer House hosted the 2014 Discovery Camp for the fourth grade students of Christoval Elementary School on Monday, May 5, 2014. Students were scheduled through ten different stations with many activities. They were able to learn about songbirds, hummingbirds, snakes, water conservation, plants, rocks and minerals, Texas history, team building, and Native American history.

Kelly and Donna Bryan of Ft. Davis banded and demonstrated hummingbirds of the Concho Valley in the hummingbird presentation. They were assisted by Landa Arthur who was the official retriever of the hummers. The Concho Valley Banding team of Charles Floyd, Nancy Floyd, Sue Oliver, Rhonda Turk and Carla Hallman were joined by Don Connell of Austin. A special assistant for the banding was Fred Bassett of Alabama who just happened to be passing through on his journey to Idaho to band hummingbirds.

Discovery Camp 2013
The Hummer House hosted the second annual Discovery Camp for the fourth grade students of Christoval Elementary School on Monday, May 6, 2013. Each year, expert naturalists, historians and environmentalists gather at the Hummer House to share their knowledge and passion with these fourth grade students. This year, students were treated to ten separate presentations from these noted individuals throughout the day.
The Concho Valley Banding team banded and discussed the special songbirds of the ranch.  Kelly and Donna Bryan of Ft. Davis banded and demonstrated hummingbirds of the Concho Valley in the Hummingbird presentation. The Concho Valley Banding team of Charles Floyd, Nancy Floyd, Landa Arthur, Mae Pierce and Carla Hallman was joined by Don Connell of Austin and Robert Wray of Puyallup, Washington who assisted in the songbird presentation. Our part of the program could not have been more enjoyable for us as we were able to band 28 species of birds during our presentations that morning. We banded three species of buntings, and ten species of migrant warblers that were present at the ranch that day along with many of the resident breeding birds that were arriving at the ranch for the summer season.
 More than 80 birds wearing every color of the rainbow were banded that day. Some of the notable species represented that day were Lazuli and Indigo Buntings, Swainson's Thrush, Northern Waterthrush and a late departing Red-breasted Nuthatch. The most unusual bird of the day was a Tennessee Warbler. Two species of hummingbirds were banded at the hummingbird presentation.  We enjoyed the interested students parents and guests who were part of the Discovery Camp.

Camp Discovery 2012
For those of us who have been involved with outdoor education activities for younger students, the concepts and activities developed over several years at the HEB Foundation Camp by Bronte and Robert Lee Schools have been accepted as the ideal model for schools in this area. These concepts continue in the Ballinger/Bronte Camp at the same location. Cathy Brown of the Hummer House was involved with the Robert Lee/Bronte Camp from the first year and has long been an advocate of outdoor learning. When Cathy began talking about an HEB style camp for Christoval 4th grade students to be held as a day camp, it didn't take long before many HEB presenters, noted naturalists and historians signed on for the first edition of Discovery Camp at the Hummer House.

Camp presentations were conducted in song bird banding, hummingbird banding, reptiles, native plants, water conservation, local history, rocks and minerals and water conservation for the forty students that make up the fourth grade at Christoval. Kelly Bryan and Charles Floyd along with Donna Bryan, Mae Simmons, and Nancy Floyd from West Texas Avian Research, Inc. conducted the presentations on Hummingbirds and songbirds. They were joined in the presentations by Fred Bassett, Dan Brown, Don Connell, Henry Dusek, Tony Gallucci, Kay Thompson and Christy Youkers.
Dan Brown ( Rock and Minerals) needs no introduction as a geologist. While working in the oil business for 23 years, he traveled in Mexico and collected rock and mineral specimens that he sold in the Dallas Market. He and his family own the patent for the Texas Star Gemstone cut which is the official gemstone cut for the state of Texas.

Tony Gallucci (Reptiles) is a widely known naturalist. He is known for his scientific contributions to our knowledge of Birds, Reptiles, Snails and Insect Groups. He currently is a counselor, teacher and media specialist for the Hill Country Youth Ranch System. He is also a very talented musician/entertainer and has his own documentary film company, Milk River films.

Henry Dusek, (Local History) is the owner of Old Friends Taxidermy. He is a history enthusiast and member of the Concho Valley Archeological Association. He is a regular presenter of archeological programs at Fort Concho, Fort Chadborne and other historical sites.

Fred Bassett and Don Connell are also Master Bird Banders and are well known for their research work both in Texas and across the nation. They both volunteered to help with the birding programs and be a part of the field day.

Kay Thompson (Native Plants) is a master gardener and works with junior master garden clubs. She is an expert on the use of native plants to attract wildlife.

Christy Youkers, PHD (Water Conservation) is the educational director for the Upper Colorado River Authority. She partners with local schools and other organizations on projects related to local environmental issues. She has worked with a number of noted museums across the state and nation to develop science education programs.

With the wide range of experience and expertise offered by these presenters, the 4th Grade students of Christoval were presented a field based educational program that rival any such program currently offered within the state. Based on evaluations of the field day by presenters, organizers, teachers, administrators, parents and students, we believe the first Discovery Camp was an outstanding effort and success and plans have already started to make next year's camp even better.