• Ambassador: May 21-22, 2015
  • Durham Ferry Campout and Stewardship
  • Durham Ferry State Recreation Area: Manteca, CA

Venture Academy students gathered together for a night of camping and companionship at Durham Ferry State Recreation Area, part of their school's campus, right on the San Joaquin River. They took part in trail clearing and restoration so that future students would be able to use the site more in the future.

Students from Venture Academy's WildLink expedition organized Venture Academy's first-ever camping trip on their school land at Durham Ferry! Working with their chaperones to organize the trip, the students spread the word to their friends and fellow classmates about the importance and fun of spending time in wild places. Twenty-one students showed up eager to spend some quality time in a beautiful natural area. First on the docket were introductions, then a delicious meal of Frito boats and salad. All fueled up, the group headed out for an evening hike along the trails by the river. They were really able to connect with the sights and sounds of a twilight world away from the cars and lights. After arriving at an open beach, the group jumped right in to an exciting game of "Capture the Flag." Feeling sandy and exhausted and full of smiles, the group headed back to camp for a late-night campfire....and s'mores! The group felt full and content and ready for a great night's sleep, either in their tents or under the stars.

Camp Setup

Getting camp set up for the night. Many in the group chose to sleep outside under the stars!

Tent excitement

The guys getting settled in to their tents.

In the morning, everyone woke up as the sun rose and they swapped stories of strange night sounds - mainly snoring from somewhere on the boys' side and distant coyotes calling to each other in the night. A tasty breakfast of granola and fruit prepared us for our morning of stewardship at the Durham Ferry site. Jillian, Jeremy, and Nic gathered the group together and explained the stewardship projects available for the day. The goal was to help clear some trail systems and excavate an old campfire ring that had become overgrown with shrubbery and grass.

The students and chaperones settled in to their projects, and with everyone working together, they were able to accomplish so much! The trails looked great and were ready for student groups to explore the following week, and the students could not wait to come back next time and use the newly re-discovered campfire ring. It was an amazing trip, the first camping trip of many more to come for the students of Venture Academy.

group clear

There's a great fire pit somewhere underneath all that brush. The students chose to clear it out so future groups could use it.

fire ring done

Proudly checking out the product of a morning's work. Nice job!

yokut trail

Josue clearing out the Yokut Trail.

WildLink is a proud partner of the National Park Service, National Forest Service, and Nature Bridge.