CARROLLTON, Ohio — From kayaking and archery to identifying fossils and learning how to monitor stream quality, an Ohio summer camp is teaching kids about exploring the outdoors.

Camp Canopy is open to incoming high school freshmen through seniors and attracts students from across Ohio and the Midwest. It’s the perfect mix of forestry, wildlife and adventure. 

The week-long camp combines educational sessions with instructors from Ohio’s top natural resource organizations. 

“If you come to Camp Canopy, you care about the outside. So these kids come to me with questions that your normal field trip child probably wouldn’t say because they are already super interested in the outdoors," said Marissa Lautzenheiser, the program director with Rural Action and a class instructor at Camp Canopy. 

Lautzenheiser teaches a session on monitoring steam quality. 

“You could take a 2-year-old or you could take a 100-year-old, everyone is going to enjoy putting on a pair of boots and stomping around in the creek," she said.

Marne Titchenell is a wildlife program specialist with the OSU Extension and a Camp Canopy co-director. She’s been involved in the camp for 10 years.

Titchenell said she enjoys seeing the kids blossom.

“It’s funny, at the beginning of the week, they’re very quiet, and at the end of the week, you start to see that interaction where they’re more comfortable with one another," Titchenell said.

Titchenell said Camp Canopy is the place where nurture and nature find the perfect balance.

“We had actually two students that were at camp for multiple years," Titchenell said. "They actually won one of the scholarships that we give out at the end of camp and they attended The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources which I am also a part of, and I got to see them in the halls, attending classes and doing their thing. And now, they’re off in the natural resources field, starting their careers out. So it's been really great to see, they started here and they just kept going. It was awesome.”

Lautzenheiser said she hopes the kids leave camp with a foundation for a future career supporting the outdoors.

“They can see that people like me and all my peers, we get paid to do work that we love and you can go to school here, you can learn about the fish and the ecosystems right here in Ohio, and then you can kinda perpetually do that as a career," Lautzenheiser said.

Camp Canopy is held mid-summer. There is a fee but sponsorships are available. For more information, you can visit​