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MAY. 10, 2019

5 Benefits of Spending time in the Wilderness: Parent Orientation Series

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This past month, western North Carolina has been bustling with blooming trees, warm days, blue skies (for the most part), and nature beckoning us to come and play. Eagle’s Nest Camp is surrounded by green spaces and we can’t wait to get out and explore with campers this summer. Ever wondered why people love being outside at summer camp? Here are 5 benefits:

  1. Being in nature simply makes you happier. According to a study (highlighted here on the New York Times), walking in green spaces has shown to immediately improve a person’s mood.
  2. Trying new things (I see you eyeing a Hante trip), challenging ourselves, and overcoming obstacles develops resiliency and self-confidence; giving campers a sense of pride and the tools to tackle some of life’s challenging moments during the year.
  3. Wilderness is FUN! Fun (n) : what provides amusement or enjoyment. Whether swimming in the lake, hiking to the top of the mountain, or canoeing down a rapid, we love to have FUN!
  4. Plugging into wilderness. In a distracting digital world, wilderness offers the perfect space for campers to slow down, connect with each other, and focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around them.
  5. Anyone can participate. Being outside is not limited to a certain person, anyone can go! At Eagle’s Nest Camp, we offer a variety of programs for campers of different skill and comfort levels.

Interested in getting outside? We still have one or two spaces on an Added Adventure and Hante Adventure trip this summer.

Added Adventures:  Sea Islands – Head to the Sea Islands; a chain of tidal and barrier islands off the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia for a week of camping and exploring coastal ecosystems!

Hante Adventures: AT Trek – On this Hante you will have the wonderful opportunity to travel simply through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with a close community of friends and peers on a 100 mile section of the Appalachian Trail!

APR. 18, 2019

Alumni Spotlight: Jonathan Gibson

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Jonathan Gibson was an Eagle’s Nest Camp and Hante Adventures leader for 5 summers in 2003 – 2007 while he was a student at Duke University. During his summers at camp, Jonathan taught wilderness classes and was a cabin counselor for the Cabin 7 boys. He led several Hantes (including the first and only Huck Finn Hante) and also served as the Assistant Program Manager. Since leaving Eagle’s Nest Jonathan has continued to work as an experiential educator. These days Jonathan is living in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter, and is a faculty member at Wayfinding Academy, a  two year college that helps students discover who they are and what they are passionate about.

How did your time at Eagle’s Nest shape what you are doing today?

At Eagle’s Nest I learned the importance of intentional living. I also gained a love and respect for myself and others, and an understanding of how a community can really support people. These have become core values of mine. At Wayfinding Academy my role is to intentionally create a community for new students and to teach “Wayfinding 101” – a 12-week course during which we focus on who we are and what we want to be – many of the things that I learned at Eagle’s Nest.

What are some of your most memorable experiences from your time at Eagle’s Nest?

There are so many! My first summer at Eagle’s Nest I led a Hante. When I arrived for the Hante training clinic I didn’t know anyone. That night, three of the people I met took me on a night hike on campus and we went through the small underground tunnel near Three Falls. It was magical! Over the years at Eagle’s Nest there were many other magical moments.

What are some of your favorite things to do?

I love hiking, being outdoors and connecting with friends. I have a 4-year-old and I love taking her into nature.

To learn more about Jonathan’s work, check out this TedTalk of Wayfinding Academy’s president and founder Michelle Jones.

Are you an Eagle’s Nest Camp or Hante Adventures alum? Did your time at Eagle’s Nest have an influence on what you’re doing today? Do you want to share your story? Contact Paige at paige@enf.org or by calling the office at 336-761-1040. I’d love to catch up and hear what you’re doing!

By Paige Lester-Niles

MAR. 22, 2019

Welcome Spring

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I’m sure that many of you know that this past Wednesday was the Vernal Equinox marking the official start of spring. In parts of North Carolina, including on the Eagle’s Nest campus, daffodils are popping out of the ground, trees are blooming and bees are beginning to buzz from flower to flower in search of pollen and nectar. I find that this time of year when the days begin to get longer and the sun is warmer is met with joy, hope and excitement – especially for those of us who love the summer and the adventures (at camp and on Hante) that it promises.

But what is the Vernal Equinox anyway? Is it the day that brooms can stand on their own or that eggs can balance? While that may happen (did anyone try it?) in the Northern Hemisphere the Vernal Equinox is the period of year when the sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north. This event usually occurs on March 20th or 21st. On the Equinox the Southern and Northern Hemispheres receive equal amounts of sun light and day and night are about equal in length. The days that started growing longer at the Winter Solstice will continue to grow longer until the Summer Solstice in June. We’ll have more hours of daylight to enjoy watching nature come alive after the dormant winter.

Did you also know that this year the Vernal Equinox coincided with the Super Worm Moon, known by astronomers as a Perigean full moon? This is the first times since 2000 and the last time before 2030 that these two events occurred simultaneously. A Perigean Moon occurs when a full moon reaches its closest point to the earth in its elliptical orbit making it appear larger and brighter. If you were out around 9:30 on Wednesday night and spied the moon I can imagine that you experienced a bit of awe, just as I did. According to folklore, the March moon is dubbed the “Worm Moon” because occurs in during the time of year when the earth begins to thaw and the earthworms begin to emerge.

So what does all of this mean and how does it affect us? I imagine that some people might question if it was a lucky day to buy a lottery ticket or if some other great opportunity might present itself on such a celestial event. For me, it offered another opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of nature and to appreciate science. At Eagle’s Nest Camp we are fortunate to live on a campus that encompasses nearly 200 acres of land – most of which is in a conservation easement. We explore the woods, creeks and surrounding mountains and rivers daily. We hear that sounds of nature as we drift into sleep and before the sun rises the next morning. It’s easy to connect to the natural world all around us. That’s not as easy to do in other areas like cities whose lights can drown out the stars or have few trees. But I have found that we can always look to the sun and the moon to reconnect to the grandeur of nature. I hope that wherever you are you’ve had a chance to appreciate the coming of spring and the Super Moon that accompanied it.

By Paige Lester-Niles, Photo Credit Julee Nunley

MAY. 18, 2018

Wilderness Programming: Parent Orientation Series

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Programming at Eagle’s Nest promotes learning and growth. Campers can begin their journey at Eagle’s Nest as young as first grade and remain here through their senior year of high school.  Our goal as a program is to provide meaningful opportunities to embrace a sense of independence, discover the joy of meaningful community, and strengthen leadership skills.  In our latest video of our Parent Orientation series, Assistant Camp Director, Marlin Sill speaks about growth through Eagle’s Nest’s wilderness programming.

Learn more about wilderness programming in our Added Adventures and Hante Adventures.

MAY. 11, 2018

The Benefits of Camp: Parent Orientation Series

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Talk to anyone who went to camp as a child and they will tell you about the lifelong friends and memories they made.  In addition to the friendships, camp is a powerful place for young children to grow and develop.  Our Camp Director, Paige Lester-Niles is here to talk with you about just some of the many benefits of camp.

MAY. 11, 2017

Mothers Everywhere

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This pretty planet spinning through space,
You’re a garden, you’re a harbor, 
You’re a holy place,

Golden sun going down,
Gentle blue giant spin us around.

All through the night, safe ’til the morning light.

(Tom Chapin)

As we head into Mother’s Day this weekend I have been thinking about all the mothers there are in this world.  In my backyard there is a Barred Owl mom helping to raise her three young ones.  In my flower box on the patio is a Carolina Wren mom darting in and out carrying insects to her brood.  In the hanging gourd on the front porch is a Black Capped Chickadee flitting about with morsels of food to deliver to her nestlings swinging gently in their home.  On cool clear nights I can hear the coyote mom down the road with a new litter of pups all yipping and howling as the hunt takes off.

All over this pretty planet are mothers of every species, going about their lives, raising young ones and tending to work that needs to be done.  It is amazing to think of the diversity that is spread from one end of this “gentle blue giant” to the other. This weekend, as we honor our own mothers, take some time to think about honoring our bigger mother, our planet, our Mother Earth.  Without her being in good health, we would not be who we are or get to enjoy co-existing with the moms of thousands and thousands of other species all living in this garden, this harbor.

If you’re wondering about the lyrics above, they were written by Tom Chapin and we used to sing this song at camp – might be time to bring it back this summer.  You can start practicing now and be ready!

Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director