In the summer between 4th and 5th grade, the summer of 1992 to be exact, I went to the week-long Stony Brook Nature Day Camp at Mass Audubon’s Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Norfolk, MA.
I don’t remember too much about the camp other than that we hiked on Stony Brook’s nature trails, constructed wooden bat houses, messed around in the marshes looking for various organisms, made a solar-powered “oven” out of aluminum foil and there was also an overnight campout, not at Stony Brook for some odd reason (not big enough, maybe?), but in the nearby Foxboro State Forest.
At the campout, I was first introduced to the phenomenon of how “Wint O Green”-flavored Life Savers would spark in your mouth when you chewed on them. Everyone in the camp chomped on a mouthful of Life Savers and watched them spark in each other’s mouths.
I also have memories of us playing “Manhunt” in the woods or some game that was similar.
Furthermore, I remember grunge music was big during this time, so when I think about going to camp at Stony Brook, songs like Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow,” Alice in Chains’ “Would,” and Nirvana’s “In Bloom” come to mind.
I don’t remember any of my actual counselors except maybe in an extremely vague way, but I do vividly remember the “CITs” (i.e. counselors in training) because they were of high school age, seemed soooooooo cool, and two of the girls were extremely attractive blondes that I had a major crush on.
More than anything else, what stands out in my memory was Stony Brook’s “enormous” waterfall and I put “enormous” in quotes because it felt much more enormous as a child looking at it. This waterfall was one of the last things you would see on the Stony Brook hiking trail. It was like the big climax to the mile-long hike.
I would say more about Stony Brook’s nature camp, but I don’t think there’s much more to say about it except that it left me with fun memories that still pop into my head today at random times, like when I’m washing my hair in the shower or folding my laundry.
Recently, I revisited Stony Brook and shot some video footage there. I hadn’t been to the wildlife sanctuary since I was at the nature camp, so since around 1992, I suppose. That makes it, what, more than 30 years?
Anyway, here is some of the footage I shot that I thought I would share:
MATT BURNS is the author of several novels, including Weird Monster, Supermarket Zombies!and Johnny Cruise. He’s also written numerous memoirs, including GARAGE MOVIE: My Adventures Making Weird Films, MY RAGING CASE OF BEASTIE FEVER, JUNGLE F’NG FEVER: MY 30-YEAR LOVE AFFAIR W/ GUNS N’ ROSES and I TURNED INTO A MISFIT! Check out these books (and many more) on his Amazon author page HERE.
Other trending articles by Matt Burns that may be of interest to you:
A Love Letter to the Emerald Square Mall (about the death of the shopping mall age)
NEVER FORGET the Fun-O-Rama (a traveling carnival memoir)
I Dream of Dream Machine (a memoir of the local video arcade)