Camp at Homosassa Springs turns kids into ‘Wildlife Rangers’

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Does your child love animals and learning about the outdoors?

If so, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is offering a “Wildlife Ranger” summer camp program for children ages 10–12, from July 14 -19.

Camp at Homosassa Springs
The head springs at Homosassa Springs State Park. JOE DUBE
Participants will learn about various mammals, birds, reptiles, manatees, sea turtles, the ocean and ways to save energy by using alternative sources.

“It is real fun for the kids,” said Susan Strawbridge, park services specialist at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

Many indoor and outdoor scientific activities are planned for the campers, from nature hunts to visiting the wildlife areas within the park.

“They’ll learn all kinds of things about nature and will be learning to use microscopes,” Strawbridge said. “They will have pottery class to learn how Native Americans made pottery. They are taken around the park and do all kinds of activities to learn about the animals.”

The park is home to four resident manatees, a hippopotamus named Lu, alligators, whooping cranes, various wading birds and birds of prey, Florida Key deer, three red wolves, a black bear named Brutis and his sister Biddy, bobcats, and entertaining river otters.

In April, an 11-week old Florida panther kitten was welcomed to his new home at the park, where he will reside for the rest of his life. The kitten had been abandoned by its mother when it was one-week old. He was found by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists near Naples.

His name is “Yuma,” which means “Son of Chief” in the Seminole Indian language.

Pre-registration for the wildlife ranger summer camp is required by July 1. Cost is $75 per child. Each participant will receive a T-shirt and supplies. The wildlife ranger summer camp runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a cookout on Friday and graduation on July 20 at 11 a.m.

Children should bring a packed lunch and bottled water each day, wear comfortable walking shoes, and be able to traverse grassy uneven terrain. No sandals or flip flops.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is located at 4150 S. Suncoast Blvd. (U.S. 19) in Homosassa. Parents should drop off and pick up their child from Gate 3 at the park, located off Fishbowl Dr.

For more information, contact Tricia Fowler at (352) 628-5343 or visit

Hernando Today correspondent Heather Francis can be reached at