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It may be winter in Evanston, but it is already time to think about registering for the 2013 summer camps offered by the Evanston Ecology Center.

Early registration, for Evanston residents only, will run from Feb. 5 to Feb. 22 and will use a new computerized lottery system to assign camp slots. The process will be easier and faster for parents while it fairly allocates slots in camps that have high demand. 

Open registration will start at 9 a.m. on Feb. 26 and will be first-come, first-served. Both early and open registration can be accomplished online, by phone, or in person. People can also complete open registration by using regular mail. More information can be found at www.evanstonenvironment.org/summer_camps.html or by calling Claire Alden or Beth Cullen, 847-448-8256.

This summer’s Ecology Center camps, billed as the “natural choice” for area parents, are expected to give more than 800 children an environmentally focused camp experience that combines fun, outdoor adventure, and an introduction to environmental science and nature topics.

“Our summer camp program provides an experience that is both fun and educational,” said Claire Alden, environmental educator at the Ecology Center. “Campers learn to love the outdoors through hands-on science and nature-related activities.  It’s a unique camp experience that brings many families and their children back summer after summer.”

“The Evanston Environmental Association (EEA) is pleased to help promote and support the Ecology Center summer camps because they do such an outstanding job of building an appreciation of nature and the outdoors in the children of our community,” added Rick Nelson, vice president
of the EEA, the nonprofit partner of the Ecology Center. “We consistently receive very positive feedback on the summer camp experience from both the campers and their parents.”

The camps are designed for grades K – 8 and run from June 17 through Aug. 23. Camp sessions are both two and four weeks in length and are led by Ecology Center staff members with backgrounds in education, natural history and recreation.