FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (August 4, 2011)--A week-long summer camp was not just about fun and camp fires, although 25 preteen children experienced both during their stay at Fort Campbell’s Camp Hinsch.

The environmentally-conscious Green Camp turned the children into eco-friendly Earth Keepers. Not only did the camp teach children about conservation, recycling and other “green” topics, it provided instruction about all facets of nature.

“I learned that reptiles have scales,” said Alec Kegler, 10. “They’re cold-blooded. [Bees] collect water, and when it’s winter, they switch off and some bees go outside and shiver and it makes heat.”

In between presentations and nature walks on post, the children also traveled to destinations such as Kentucky Down Under, the Adventure Science Center and Tie Breaker Park.

“The best thing this week was when we went to Kentucky Down Under,” explained 10-year-old Felix Dequ. “We saw kangaroos and so many things I can’t even name them. And we went under the cave, and it was so fun.”

The fun and adventurous camp is just one of the many coordinated every summer by Fort Campbell’s Armed Services YMCA.

“This camp is for kids whose parents are either deployed or just returned from deployment,” ASYMCA Director Shirley West said. “But our focus for this camp is our environment " keeping it green.”

Activities throughout the week ranged from animal demonstrations, to recycling challenges, to a stream stroll and more.

“Every day this week we’ve done some type of activity or some type of something so they can learn a little bit about the earth,” West said. “We had the bee keeper to come out and talk to them about how even though they see a bee, maybe it’s not the good thing to kill it.”

Traditionally, the campers complete a craft to display somewhere on post. This year, those attending Camp Green worked together to make an American flag using their own handprints.

The creation will be antiqued before display.

Not only did the children learn and create, they put their new knowledge into practice by competing as teams.

“They’re doing a recycling event among the teams,” West said. “They’re doing recycling and trying to see who can collect the most [plastic] water bottles.”

The children also retained practical tips to conserve in everyday life.

“They have been very good about reminding each other, ‘Lights out,’ and making sure we don’t waste a lot of water, that kind of stuff,” West explained.

West organized many of the activities this year, one of the main differences from camps in years past.

“The only difference with our camp is that we in past had a biologist that directed it and led it,” she said. “She did a lot more hands-on with the kids.”

Like many other Fort Campbell camps, Soldiers served as counselors. Specialist Vernon Gehrke, 2nd Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, enjoyed the camp as much as the children, and he was not afraid to ask questions throughout the week.

“It’s been a blast,” he said. “I learned just as much as the kids did.”