Tanglewood Nature Center to reopen, summer camps will return

Local News

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Tanglewood Nature Center will reopen its doors on Tuesday, June 30.

The Nature Center will be open to the public Tuesdays-Fridays 9am-4pm and hiking remains open from dawn to dusk. The Nature Center will be closed on Saturdays-Mondays through Labor Day. 

Summer camps will begin on Monday, June 29 and be held mostly outdoors.

Dear camp families and prospective camp families: 

Yes, we have received the day camp guidelines from New York State. Here is a brief overview, and here are the more thorough guidelines. No, we have not received any updates from Chemung County Health Department, and we cannot run our camp without their inspection and approval. We are working with them closely. (As of 6/25, we HAVE received this approval and will run camp!)

So, we continue to plan how to run a safe and fun summer camp program to provide needed childcare and enriched summer learning for our community. We hope to receive approval from Chemung County Health Department ASAP.

At this point, we want to share what we know so that any family who does not feel that summer camp is the right fit for them can cancel (and receive a complete refund). 

Parents and guardians need to know: 

camp will be almost entirely spent outdoors: when it’s hot, when it’s drizzling, etc. 

– camp will have a private, restricted space solely for campers and camp staff, so in the event of a thunderstorm they have a space to retreat to (the Lodge). The Lodge will be cleaned and sanitized daily. 

– children will only be allowed to participate if they are from our local region, the Southern Tier of NY.

extended care hours have been reduced. There will NOT be care available before 9am or after 4pm. (If you need care before 9am, or past 4pm, you will need to make other plans; we cannot accommodate earlier arrivals or later pickups.) 

– camp participants will be limited to 10 children. Some of our camp registrations currently exceed ten; we will cancel registrations in order of their date of registration. (Last in, first out.) 

Children WILL NEED to bring a mask from home to carry with them throughout the day; they will need a clean mask each day. The kids will not need to wear the mask unless they must gather closer than 6′ from each other. When they cannot be distant from each other (ie, they are passing other children in the hallway to go to the restroom) then they will need to wear their mask for that brief period.

– staff will wear masks throughout the day, at any point that they are closer than 6′ to any camper.

– if there is a confirmed COVID19 case among a) our staff, b) a camp child, or c) a camp child’s family, then camp will be closed for two weeks for quarantine and cleaning. Refunds will be processed for impacted families. 

Special changes and considerations: 

– pick up and drop off will be from within the car. Staff will walk over to do a daily health check including a temperature check of the child; adult will remain in the car; child will exit and proceed to the Lodge to wash their hands and begin their day.

– children will need to bring some of their own art supplies from home in a pencil case or baggie to reduce the amount of shared surfaces (we will send another email with exact packing list, but expect to send your child with their own crayons, a pair of scissors, a glue stick). Children will also need to bring a large beach towel which will be used as their “spot” so that kids can be socially distanced from each other sitting on the grass. 

– parents will need to provide a list of at least three approved adults who can pick up their child at the end of the day. If a parent/guardian has been exposed to COVID19 and must quarantine, OR if a parent/guardian has symptoms that are in line with COVID19, OR if a parent/guardian has a confirmed case of COVID19, that parent/guardian and other adults from that household ARE NOT ALLOWED to come pick up their child from camp. Please make sure you have other emergency pick up names that are available to pick up your child in the event that you are not allowed to. 

– children will need to bring a sun hat, several complete changes of clothing including socks and underwear, rain boots, rain coat, LARGE refillable water bottle to keep them hydrated over several hours of hiking, sunscreen and bug spray that they can apply to themselves. Children will be hiking and playing outside on wet grass, in the rain, and in the heat. Staff will ensure that they are safe and prevent heat stroke, dehydration, and chills/hypothermia as we do every year. But this year, camp will be more outdoors than ever, so your child will need to be prepared for and happy about hiking and playing in the rain or the heat. 

– if your child does not cope well or enjoy playing during sensory experiences like wearing wet socks, sweating, or being unable to hold hands or sit closely by an adult, then please carefully consider if this camp season will be appropriate for them

The nature center’s exhibit will be a one-way hall and the library will be limited to one family at a time, or up to three from one household. The gift shop will be ring for service and only one shopper will be permitted inside at a time.

The picnic pavilion will not be open to the public, as it will be used for the summer camp.

We appreciate your understanding as we adapt staff schedules to ensure rigorous cleaning and maintain the health and safety of our guests, summer campers, staff, and volunteers. 

Tanglewood Nature Center

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