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Fish and Explore

Fish and Explore

Six one-week sessions 
Options available for rising 3rd through rising 9th graders

Each day, campers will meet at Landon, travel together on a Fish and Explore van to their locations, and then return to campus. The van will leave campus each day at 8:30 a.m. so your prompt arrival is very important. Locations are kept flexible depending on weather and water levels, but the following may include Lake Clopper, Lake Seneca, Gunners Lake, Big Water Lake, Antietam Creek, Catoctin Creek, Beaver Creek. 

Fish and Explore Waiver is required for all campers to attend.


Native Animal Explorers 
June 10–14  
July 15–19 
8:30 a.m.– 4 p.m.  
Rising 3rd through rising 6th graders 
$610 per session

What to bring: Sneakers or river shoes (no Crocs or flip-flops), snacks, lunch with drink, hat, water bottle, towel, change of clothes, hand sanitizer sunscreen (labeled with name). A detailed list of what to bring will be emailed prior to each week. 

Nothing gets children more interested in the outdoors than encountering the animals that call it home. Explorers will embark on a journey to a different trail, park or body of water each day. We will hike trails, wade streams, and walk ponds and lakeshores to find native wildlife. Campers will observe, catch, photograph and release frogs, toads, tadpoles, salamanders, lizards, turtles, crayfish, minnows, and many more small critters. Fish and Explore makes it easy for kids to understand safe handling techniques that result in a better understanding and appreciation of small animals. We incorporate principles of appreciation and understanding so that campers learn to enjoy the wild animals as part of our ecosystem, not as pets. 

Please note: Native Animal Explorers is designed for campers to explore wildlife at a variety of outdoor locations. Campers do not go fishing during this program. Check out Young Anglers or Big Fish for a fishing experience.

Rain Policy: Campers will participate in outdoor activities even while it’s raining, unless the weather is deemed unsafe by Fish and Explore. In case of lightning or thunder, we will seek shelter either indoors or in our vehicle. The campers will remain sheltered for the duration of the inclement weather and for fifteen minutes after the last visual lightning or audible thunder. 


Young Anglers 
June 17–21 (No camp June 19) Full- Waitlist Available
August 12–16 Full- Waitlist Available
8:30 a.m.– 4 p.m.  
Rising 3rd through rising 5th graders
$610 per session ($545 for June 17-21)

Big Fish 
June 10–14 
June 24–28 Full- Waitlist Available
8:30 a.m.– 4 p.m.  
Rising 6th through rising 9th graders 
$610 per session

What to bring: Sneakers or river shoes (no Crocs or flip-flops), snacks, lunch with drink, hat, water bottle, towel, change of clothes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen (labeled with name). A detailed list of what to bring will be emailed prior to each week.  

Fishing is about enjoying the outdoors, having fun and catching fish! We will start out the week by learning the basics about fishing gear and tackle. As the week progresses, we will learn about water safety, nature awareness, and how to understand different types of water to increase awareness of how to play safely in and around all bodies of water. An introduction to river navigation and moving water safety helps prepare campers to fish independently. Each day, campers will explore new fishing environments such as ponds, lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams, creeks, and Chesapeake Bay. Our highly trained fishing instructors will provide an extensive amount of individualized attention to each camper as they learn about casting, rigging, knot tying, how to select tackle and lures and identifying fish. More experienced campers will learn to target specific species of fish, read the water to locate fish and identify fish species they catch. Campers wear life jackets when in the water or on a boat. Ultimately, campers will use all the above training to locate and catch fish! We practice Wildlife CPR (Catch, Photograph, and Release).

Rain Policy: Campers will participate in outdoor activities even while it’s raining, unless the weather is deemed unsafe by Fish and Explore. In case of lightning or thunder, we will seek shelter either indoors or in our vehicle. The campers will remain sheltered for the duration of the inclement weather and for fifteen minutes after the last visual lightning or audible thunder.    


Paddle and Explore 
August 5– 9 Full- Waitlist Available
8:30 a.m.– 4 p.m. 
Rising 4th through rising 7th graders 
$610 per session

What to bring: Sneakers or river shoes (no Crocs or flip-flops), snacks, lunch with drink, hat, water bottle, towel, change of clothes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen (labeled with name). A detailed list of what to bring will be emailed prior to each week. 

Campers learn kayaking skills while getting up close to native wildlife. Beach stops allow campers to wade and observe, catch, photograph and release frogs, toads, tadpoles, salamanders, lizards, turtles and many more small critters. Campers will receive individual attention from our two kayaking instructors in order to perfect their technique and become comfortable with different kayaking maneuvers. Life jackets are provided and required while kayaking.

Rain Policy: Campers will participate in outdoor activities even while it’s raining, unless the weather is deemed unsafe by Fish and Explore. In case of lightning or thunder, we will seek shelter either indoors or in our vehicle. The campers will remain sheltered for the duration of the inclement weather and for fifteen minutes after the last visual lightning or audible thunder.    


Fish and Explore logo

Fish and Explore just completed its 10th summer as a premier summer camp and fishing and nature guide service. Our mission is to advance appreciation, stewardship, exploration and investigation of nature. We are dedicated to developing programs that are structured around elements that naturally excite children – animals, water, and a little dirt! We practice Wildlife CPR (Catch, Photograph, and Release) with all our outdoor encounters. Our programs are designed to excite children about nature while teaching them self-confidence, respect for others, and how to sustain the great outdoors for their future appreciation. Visit fishandexplore.com for more information. 

 

Meet our Staff:

Matt Helfinstein

Matt is the camp director of Fish and Explore. He has been interested in nature and animals his entire life, especially insects, spiders and snakes. He grew up in Austin, Texas and moved to Virginia to attend George Mason University. While there he earned B.S. in biology and had the opportunity to collect data on streams and lakes all over Northern Virginia. When Matt is not teaching and guiding at FAE, he is teaching Fairfax County students about aquatic bugs and the ways humans affect the environment. He loves to spend his free time outdoors hiking, swimming and exploring.

John Lipetz

John is the founder of Fish and Explore. He has been an ambassador for the great outdoors his entire life and playing in the outdoors has always been a passion for him. Fish and Explore has been in the making for years, as a gleam in his eye as a child and then a reality as he introduced his son and daughter to what he enjoys most – fishing and exploring. His life has been dedicated to teaching others how to safely appreciate animals, nature, and the environment.

Billy Wilken

William “Billy” Wilken is the kayak and paddle sports leader at Fish and Explore. He has over 30 years of experience as a trip leader, environmental educator, soccer coach and mentor. He is currently certified as a Wilderness First Responder and has a Red Cross Bundle 5 Waterfront certification. He was born and raised in Northern Virginia, exploring many of the tributaries feeding the Potomac River. He spent 10 years as a Whitewater Kayak instructor in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Billy is passionate about teaching people how to be outdoors safely.

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