Morganton, NC – Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (FCNC) has decided to hold its annual summer camp, Our Big Backyard, virtually in 2020.

The summer camp, open to 6 to 10-year-olds and scheduled for July, will include activities that focus on the camp’s four areas of concentration: environmental awareness, art and creativity, healthy food choices and outdoor activities. To accommodate campers outside of the traditional day-camp setting, FCNC and its partners will send out weekly activity kits every Monday in July. The kits will include supplies and materials to complete activities throughout the week. Children will still interact with camp leaders, albeit in a virtual setting.

“For many children, the end of this school year revolved around technology and deadlines,” said FCNC Associate Director Beth Willard-Patton. “We don’t want caregivers to feel pressure to complete daily activities during one week of camp, so we are hosting the camp for the entire month of July to give everyone — children and adults — plenty of time to enjoy the activities in their own time.”

Conservancy staff is working with N.C. Cooperative Extension Office, Burke County Center, and TOSS to develop educational and art activities.

“The camp kit idea was inspired by TOSS, which has delivered over 300 art kits for students at Forest Hill Elementary,” said FCNC Development Coordinator Sophie Shelton. “The kits will include all of the materials the campers need to complete a variety of activities that encourage environmental exploration.”

The contents of the kits are funded by grants, private gifts and in-kind donations from local businesses. To date, the conservancy has received generous support from The Conservation Fund’s Resourceful Communities program (a collaboration with Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust) and the Burke Women’s Fund.

Unlike the in-person day-camp initially planned for this summer, the re-imagined virtual camp will be free for all campers. To request a space for your 6 to 10-year-old at Our Big Backyard, visit and complete the online application by June 1. This camp is first-come-first-serve and spots are limited. For more information, call Beth Willard-Patton or Sophie Shelton at 828-437-9930.

Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina is a nationally accredited regional land trust that inspires conservation in Western North Carolina by permanently protecting land and water for the benefit of people and all living things. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Foothills Conservancy serves eight counties: Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, McDowell, and Rutherford, in three major river basins: the Broad, Catawba, and Yadkin. Information about Foothills Conservancy, including ways to support its work, can be found online at or by calling 828-437-9930.