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Eco-Discovery Camp

Looking to engage your child in nature and the outdoors this summer? Your camper will fit right in at our week-long day camp sessions. All Cary camps are held on our campus in Millbrook, New York.

Soil Sleuths

Let’s dig into the world that exists beneath our feet! With magnifying glasses in hand, we’ll traverse forests and fields to uncover clues of what soil is made of, what creatures call it home, and how it can be used for art and mindfulness. Together we will explore the wonders of soil and the ways it supports and nourishes our ecosystems and our lives.

New This Year! Eco-Discovery camp now extends to include students entering 8th grade.

Eco-Discovery Camp...

  • uses children's natural curiosity and enthusiasm for the outdoors to help them understand important ecological concepts,
  • creates an open space where campers can ask and answer their own scientific questions,
  • exposes campers to the field of Ecology, and
  • supports children as they develop confidence in their ability to use science to understand and positively impact the world.
Camp Schedule 2023

We are offering two different rates aligning with income as a way to offer more equity to our camp families. For households with an income of <$75K/yr, [B] fees apply.

In addition to fee options, we are proud to offer a limited number of scholarships to families who qualify. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, as outlined by federal income eligibility guidelines, are eligible.

Session DatesGradesTimesFee[B] Fee
1June 26-305-79am–4pm$395$295
2July 10-142–49am–4pm$395$295
3July 17-212–49am–4pm$395$295
4July 24-285-79am–4pm$395$295
5July 31-August 42-49am–4pm$395$295
6August 7-116-89am–4pm$395$295
7August 14-182-49am–4pm$395$295
8August 21-255-79am–4pm$395$295
9August 28-September 16-89am–4pm$395$295

Note: Each week of camp follows the same curriculum, so campers may participate for one session only.

camp 2022

How do campers spend their week?

At Cary Institute's Ecology Camp, children have a unique opportunity to experience ecological science with our skilled ecology educators and research scientists. During Eco-Discovery Camp, children entering grades 2-8 explore the hills, valleys, ponds, and streams of our 2,000-acre Dutchess County campus. Throughout each 1-week session campers conduct scientific investigations, learn about the natural history of the area, and participate in games and art activities.

Each year the camp has a different theme, allowing our many returning campers to have unique experiences year after year. Past camp themes have included: Stream Pollution (2015), Nature’s Structures (2016), Bugs, Bacteria and Beyond (2017), “What’s In Our Water?” (2018), The Secret Life of Forests (2019),and Spectacular Streams (2022).

Lunch is not provided, but we do provide light snacks. Campers must bring their own sack lunch, snacks, and water bottle.

Visit the camp Flickr photo gallery to see just how much fun our campers have!

How old are campers?

Each week of camp will have approximately 12 campers and will be dedicated to either younger campers (entering grades 2-4) or older campers (entering grades 5-7 or 6-8).

camp 2022

Who teaches camp?

Two educators with extensive experience in ecology and education will teach each week. We're also fortunate to have two high school-aged Eco-Leader volunteers helping with camp each week.

How long are the sessions?

Eco-Discovery Camp for runs from 9am to 4pm, Monday through Friday, with a late pick up (5pm) option available.

Can campers attend multiple sessions in one summer?

Unfortunately, demand is so high that we are only able to invite each camper to attend for one session per summer. In addition, each week of camp follows the same curriculum, and therefore campers may participate for one session only. We typically fill each session to capacity, so be sure to reserve your preferred week early.

How much does it cost?

We are offering two different rates aligning with income as a way to offer more equity to our camp families. You will be able to self-select on the registration form.

Household income <$75,000
Tuition: $295
Late pick-up: $40/wk

Household income >$75,000
Tuition: $395
Late pick-up: $50/wk

Refund Policy

Withdrawal from camp prior to June 2, 2023 refunded total fee less $25.00 for administrative costs.

Camp Scholarships

Through the generosity of community members and grant funding from the Dyson Foundation, we are able to offer a limited number of scholarships to families who qualify.

To be eligible for a scholarship students must qualify for free or reduced lunch, as outlined by federal income eligibility guidelines. Scholarships are awarded on a first come, first served basis. Typically all scholarships are awarded by the end of April, so please apply early.

Scholarship application (english)
Scholarship application (spanish)

Please return the application form to us via email ( or mail (2801 Sharon Turnpike, PO Box AB, Millbrook, NY 12545).

For more information about scholarships, contact us at

What about older campers?

Eco–Leaders Program

Our Eco-Leaders Program is for students entering grades 9-12. Each Eco-Leader assists educators during one Eco-Discovery camp session while also leading their own activity and assisting in data collection. This is similar to a junior counselor program, and includes a required training session prior to camp.

Eco-Leaders must apply to the program by March 31. Applicants will be notified of their status approximately April 14.

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Art + Science Program

Students entering grades 8-12  are invited to participate in our weeklong Art + Science program. Students will spend one to two weeks exploring Cary's field, forests, and streams through the art of scientific observation and will create a beautiful field book of ecological discoveries.

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For more information about the Cary Institute's Ecology Camp, contact Ashley Alred