It's been almost like business as usual at Aldo Leopold Nature Center (ALNC) this week.
Despite record-breaking heat and continued dry conditions, ALNC summer camps continued Friday, though staff is making sure the kids take plenty of water breaks and stay cool while still spending time outside.
"We don't want to take the kids out of nature," says Nathan Zabel, on of the ALNC naturalists working with the campers. "We want them to enjoy being outside. We're just making sure they have plenty of access to water."
Our weather this week has also given the naturalists at the center a chance to talk with older campers about weather and climate, and its impact on our lives and environment.
"It's never constant on a daily basis, whether it's weather or climate," Zabel says. "Things are definitely in flux, and it's important to know and to understand that. It's good to get kids out here. It's good to teach them about the importance of climate. Why it affects them."
Kids at the camps are also learning about how recent hot and dry conditions affect native plants. For instance, many of the prairie flowers at the ALNC campus, with their deep roots, are still green and blooming, in contrast to the brown and dead grass surrounding them.
"We talk to kids about, 'Is this normal?' Just comparing this to what they're used to," said Zabel.
And the campers are noticing the impact of the weather, too. Seven-year-old Denali Kraemer was exploring fungi at the nature center on Friday.
"I have been looking at mushrooms and how they explode their seeds," Denali told us. "It (the heat) is kind of stopping the mushrooms."