For Kids & Families

SummerQuest Weekly Themes

At the Crane Estate, Ipswich


Periwinkle, Plover, and Quester Themes (Ages 4-12)

Week 1: Nature’s Superheroes

Get out your capes, superheroes! This week Captain Crane needs YOU to assemble a team of heroes to protect the estate from danger. Work together to discover the superpowers of Crane critters from cryptic camouflage to salty seaside survival. Explore the environment like never before and discover your own natural superpower of being uniquely you!

Week 2: Coastal Detectives

Calling all beach combers and budding coastal naturalists! This is a week of investigation and discovery as we get hands-on with coastal ecology. Use your powers of observation and imagination to see the beach as never before while you work with your group to solve daily coastal mysteries and learn something cool about our coastal environments.

Week 3: Forest Frenzy

The forest is a magical place full of light, shadow, bugs, and birds…and maybe even a mystical creature or two? This week we are spending quality time among the trees, learning what makes forests so special while using our knowledge and individual abilities to complete forest frenzy challenges to unlock the secrets of the trees!

Week 4: The Great Crane Expedition

Are you ready, explorers? The land of the Crane Estate is vast and uncharted and calling for exploration. Where in this uninhabited expanse is there land to build on, resources to use, food to eat? You will need all the skills of your exploration party to press on to the far reaches of the Estate, identify plants and animals, and map this new land. Adventure is out there!

Week 5: Create at the Estate

Get inspired by the natural beauty of the Crane Estate this week as we open our eyes to see the art all around us and challenge ourselves to create something new every day. Admire the design of a spider web, see how many colors you can find in one hike, mimic a bird’s song, and try new arts and crafts inspired by nature. We are all artists here!

Week 6: Marine Mania

Have you ever wondered what lives in the sand or what kinds of fish and animals call the Crane Estate home? This week we make full use of our perfect position on the Great Marsh, Crane Beach, and Crane Wildlife Refuge to dive into the study of ecology – how animals and plants live in their environments. Take a walk in a hermit crab’s shell and see what it takes to survive in these rugged and beautiful places.

Week 7: Wizardry for Muggles

Be transported to the world of Harry Potter for a week of imagination, investigation, and creativity! Once the sorting hat has placed you in a Cranesmeade House, you will work together with your housemates to earn points while completing challenges in the magical disciplines of transfiguration, charms, herbology, and fantastic beasts. Will your house have what it takes to win the coveted Cranesmeade Cup?

Week 8: Seaside Survivors

This week we find ourselves lost far from civilization in a wild coastal landscape. We will need to work together to find fresh water, build a shelter, and find food to eat. Will we have what it takes to survive? We’ll explore the untamed coast to learn the secrets of survival, blaze a trail through the uncharted forests to test our tracking and mapping skills, and use games and crafts to unlock the art of camouflage. Can you help your team make it out alive?

Week 9: Marsh Madness

It’s Grrrrrreat! The Great Marsh, that is. This week you will learn about the largest salt marsh in New England as you dive into hands-on exploration to understand how the marshes at Crane got here, who lives there, how they survive this salty wetland, and how marshes help humans. Be ready to get hands wet and feet muddy with plenty of time exploring the estuary. And don’t worry, the greenheads are sure to be long gone by the final week of camp!

Stewards Themes (Ages 12-15)

We are excited to bring back the Stewards program this year for older campers who are ready for a deep dive into topics like nature, coast, history, art, and culture. Stewards teens should come ready for a fun and intellectually stimulating program that will challenge them via projects involving scientific data collection, outdoor skill building, creativity and more.

Week 1 and 2:

No Stewards

Week 3: Time Travelers

Ipswich has a long history of human inhabitation dating back thousands of years, much of which can still be observed via close observation of the landscape. Guided by experts, stewards this week will learn about the resources that have brought people to this special place throughout history, and rediscover the past by exploring timeless cultural sites such as Wigwam Hill, the Choate House, and the Ada K Damon shipwreck. We will also explore the history and culture of Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark, with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Great House and exploration of the art of historical restoration-in-action.

Week 4: Ready for Resilience

We are resilient! We can survive obstacles and disturbances in our lives by changing, adapting, and using our problem-solving skills. This week we will use those skills to help make our coastal habitats more resilient. Learn about challenges facing our ever-changing coast, what The Trustees are doing, and what you can do to help! From invasive species control to wildlife tracking to habitat restoration, take on the important issues and make lasting impacts on your favorite sites.

Week 5: Trekkers and Trackers

Lace up those hiking boots – it’s time to hit the trail! Did you know the Trustees protects over 120 special places throughout Massachusetts, many of which are located on the North Shore? This week, we will visit some of these nearby properties, allowing you to discover new Trustees destinations to explore on your own after camp. We will hike, yes, but we will also learn navigation and mapmaking, plant ID, bird watching, and more. There is so much to discover and explore!

Week 6: Inspired by Nature

Let your creativity run free this week as we explore art in nature. We will take inspiration from the designs of nature, use natural materials to create, and make art with traditional materials surrounded by the beauty of nature. This is your week to let your imagination run wild and try new projects, methods, and crafts while you learn about nature, art, and the landscape.

Week 7: Stewards at Sea

We will spend this week on the water each day, kayaking, boating, swimming, and exploring the coast as we investigate all things coastal at Crane. Learn what it takes to survive at sea with coastal survival challenges. Contribute to our community science efforts by documenting water quality, the shape of the beach, native and invasive species, remains of a 100-year-old shipwreck, and more. Learn how and why our barrier beach, dunes, and marsh formed and are constantly changing to create the diverse landscapes we see today.

Week 8 & 9: Crane Coastal Scientists

This in-depth two-week program is perfect for budding marine enthusiasts. Learn how scientists study the coast by using scientific equipment to collect data in the marsh, dunes, beach, and waters of the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Develop scientific skills of observation, asking good questions, and collecting data to answer those questions. In Week 1, we will visit each coastal habitat at Crane to make observations and develop our scientific questions. In Week 2, we will collect data to answer those questions and compile our project results to share on the last day of the session.

SummerQuest Camp Information
SummerQuest Parent Testimonials

The camp is a one of a kind experience on a majestic property like no other.

– Camp Parent

My daughter loved camp! Given the restrictions and the closure of the camp she normally attends, we had to scramble to find another open and safe option. We are Trustees members and I was so happy when I got word that some of your camps would be outside and still running. I don’t usually consider SummerQuest because we are in Salem and Ipswich feels like a trek. Realistically, the drive isn’t bad and it was always a nice relaxing way to start the morning/afternoon. My daughter, an only child, has been stuck with us since March (since the school closure) and it was starting to show how much she missed being around other kids. When we picked her up on that very first day, she couldn’t stop talking! It was as if she was lit up! As the days progressed, her enthusiasm for camp only continued. She was definitely sad to say goodbye on her final day. Thank you so much for providing a camp option this year that had safety protocols that helped us feel comfortable sending her to camp at all this year. We have seen a significant benefit to her being out of the house and with other children in such a beautiful and enriching setting. Thank you! Thank you!

– Camp Parent

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