Middle Level & High School (5-12)

Note: Each class is usually 1-2 hours in length.

Core Classes

Marine Biology - Get a crash course in marine biology with topics covering some popular myths, cool animals and what we can do here in Minnesota to help our world's oceans.

Critters - Observation, combined with a hands-on experience will help you gain a better understanding of misunderstood creatures. Various snakes and turtles will be available for you and your classmates to observe as you learn about the important characteristics and differences of this unique group of animals – the reptiles.

Wildlife Viewing - Using binoculars, sit quietly or hike to view bald eagles nesting in a tree, turtles on a log and other wildlife.

Fish Survival - After being assigned a fish, figure out if your fish can survive in the lake. Using chemicals and charts, you will figure this out. You will also learn basic information about oxygenation, pollutants and run-off.

Solos - Spend 35 to 40 minutes in the woods drawing, journaling or just experiencing nature. Each student is assigned an area to sit and enjoy nature. After the activity, the group will share their experiences.

Blind Hike - Take away your vision, walk blindfolded and discover a tree.

Micros - Explore microscopic organisms with a microscope, and draw what you see! Can you find a Cyclops or a Paramecium?

Aquatics - Explore a pond in a canoe. Will you and your classmates see some of the numerous Painted Turtles or a Great Blue Heron? Lots of wildlife has been spotted in this hidden pond including fox, muskrat, beaver, Bald Eagles and more.

Climbing/Team Games - Challenge yourself on our 38-foot climbing wall. Decked out in helmets and harnesses, you and your classmates will learn specific belaying techniques to safely climb the wall. When you’re not climbing, participate in group team-building games!

Acclimatization - Spend time in the woods using senses other than sight. Feel, smell, taste and listen to every aspect of our natural world. Learn a little about how other animal species use their senses to survive in their sometimes harsh natural surroundings.

Woodskills - Learn a little about the skills of the Voyageurs, Pioneers and Lumberjacks while starting fires with flint and steel, throwing tomahawks, using sling shots, peeling logs and learning basic survival skills.

Muck Adventure - Roll up your pant legs, take off your socks and shoes and head off to explore the muck. To get there, you will take a beautiful hike through the woods with plenty of opportunities for wildlife sightings.

Geocaching - Using Garmin handheld GPS units, you and your classmates will learn the basics of electronic orienteering and geocaching. Follow specific preset courses, look for hidden "treasure" in the woods and pace your steps. Find out why many are calling this the "next great outdoor sport!"

Slingshots - Try your hand at the Foley Slingshot Range. Using taconite (a small rock) pellets, you can take aim at some specially designed targets. Will you knock over the Camp Foley sign or ring the bell? Creative games can be different every time you come!

Other Classes Available

We've offered several other specialty classes in the past that can be added upon request:

Raptors - You will learn about various raptors’ habits, distinguishing their physical characteristics, and discussing their importance in the food chain. By dissecting owl pellets, you will discover for yourself what an owl’s diet consists of. See and feel a stuffed Great Horned Owl and Red-Tailed Hawk

Wolves - Learn about the Minnesota Timber Wolf through an interactive class. See skulls, bones, feces, pelts and a stuffed wolf firsthand. Learn about diet, range, pack behavior and how to tell the difference between wolves, coyotes and dogs.

Native American Studies - As you gather in a rustic campsite, learn about the Sioux or Dakota Native Americans. Listen to the story of the dream catcher and make a dream catcher to take home with you.

Enviro Crafts - Several crafts projects, both individual and group, are available that use a variety of recycled products (old T-shirts, CDs, etc).

Mini Topics

Many of these are added in to the 3 or 5 day program before or after meals or by request.

Weather - On arrival day at the center, students learn the basics of reading both digital and analog weather equipment (thermometers, barometers, wind indicators, etc.) and the basics of cloud identification.  Every morning before breakfast and every evening before dinner, students take readings and, using a scientific formula, predict the weather for the upcoming day.

Dr. Earth - A famous figure at Foley! - Dr. Earth is our Watcher of the Environment. Dr. Earth is always making sure we eat all of our food, turn off lights and stay on the walking paths.  This Mini-Topic includes contests and games!

Bats - Using skeletons, drawings, games and models, we will discuss the two types of Minnesota bats (the Big Brown Bat and the Little Brown Bat) as well as the benefits of having them around!

Ticks - Since these insects are a part of our Northern Minnesota wilderness, we take time to discuss prevention (students will learn what it means to "tick up") and the identification of the different species of ticks.

Invasive Species - Presentation and discussion of Minnesota's invasive aquatic species including Zebra Mussels, Asian Carp, Eurasian Watermilfoil and more.  See pictures, learn about their biology, and learn ways to prevent or slow down the advancement of these creatures.

Wildlife Sightings - Foley core staff help kids to identify all the animals they see throughout their stay, share stories and show pictures of all of the wildlife around camp.

Character Development - Although not specifically an environmental focus, Foley spends time discussing the Six Pillars of Character - Respect, Responsibility, Trustworthiness, Citizenship, Caring and Fairness.  Evening "Chapel Talks" (for the Christian schools) or "Character Discussions" (for non-religious schools) allow students to reflect on the new things they learned/tried and to reflect on the character trait we focused on that day.  Each character trait has a color assigned that the staff and students wear as a reminder to practice that trait throughout the day. For Catholic schools, Mass can also be said in our camp chapel.

Evening Adventure

After dinner our program and learning continue with special events planned for dusk.

Twilight Canoeing - The name sort of says it all!  Weather permitting, you will be given the opportunity to head off to Hidden Lake, a small lake near camp, to silent canoe.  Deer, beaver, turtles, birds and other wildlife are often seen.  There is always the possibility of seeing a fox or bear!

Frog/Toad/Salamander Hunts - If we have a particularly wet week, the frogs are out in large numbers.  Search for Wood Frogs, Leopard Frogs and Spring Peepers.  We often see tadpoles and American Toads too.

Fort Building - Out in our woods are four forts that were started by our staff and continue to be added on to by our students!  Spend some time adding rooms or features to the already existing structures.

Group Games - Playtime in the great outdoors!  Large group games of Capture the Flag, 3-Goal Soccer, Quidditch, Bashball or Ultimate Frisbee are organized as well as smaller tag games or relays.

Campfires - Sit around the campfire and learn great camp songs while listening to stories and hearing the sounds of nature!

Lakeshore Exploration - Roll up your pants, grab a bucket and net and head out along the shores of Whitefish Lake in search of Dragonfly larva, Crayfish, Minnows and anything else you can find.  If you catch smaller fish or bugs, feed them to one of our Camp Foley turtles!

100 Inch Hunt - Measure out a 100-inch square on the ground, kneel down and see what you can find!  Bugs, worms, plants, whatever!  If you catch bugs or worms, feed them to one of the turtles!

Team Hotdog - Enjoy a hotdog meal outside at one of our campfire sites.  We throw some twists at you too!

Primary School (K-4)

Many of the Middle Level activities can be modified for Primary kids, but below are classes specific to this age group.

Archery - Try your skill in shooting a bow and arrow!

Animal Habitat - Learn what is important for an animal habitat, discovers some habitats in the area and play some interactive games.

Detective Hike - While hiking along a trail, discover the hidden "creatures" and find all of the items for mysterious soup.

Campfires - Join your classmates around the campfire to sing songs and play interactive games! Be prepared to be a little silly, and bring a big smile!

Whitefish Lake Adventure - Weather permitting, this adventure will take your group out on a pontoon boat ride on beautiful Whitefish Lake. Look for Bald Eagles, find fox dens, and sneak up on the Minnesota State Bird – the Loon.

Tracking - Make your very own animal-tracking book. Learn to identify some different animal tracks and where you might find those tracks. Information about the individual animals is also included in the lesson.

Bats - Become batty about bats! Our bat adventure begins with a story, followed by a discovery of real bats. We look at a bat skeleton, a bat house, and play a game that teaches us how bats find their food.

Rocks - Go on a rock hunt and draft your findings. After learning about the minerals in granite, you get to “make” your own piece of granite.

Magnificent Mammals - Details of the animal’s skull will be investigated to determine its place in the food chain. The importance and relevance of teeth will also be discussed. We have interactive games to play to help you and your classmates understand specific concepts!

Sensational Senses - Explore the natural world with your senses – taste a wild edible, put your hand in a "feely" box, smell to connect a "mom" with her "baby,” wiggle your toes in mud and more!

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