Nature & Design Summer Camp

Manitoga's Summer Nature and Design Camp 2017

July 10-21, 2017



MANITOGA Summer Nature & Design Camp
One 2-Week Program  

Monday through Friday, 9am - 3pm
Children Ages 5 to 12

Since 1988, Manitoga has offered a summer day camp program to cultivate an awareness and love of nature and design in children. Join us as we explore designer Russel Wright's modernist house and garden where the inside is like the outside, and the outside feels like home. This dynamic 2-week program offers the very best of Manitoga, continuing the tradition of inspiring creativity and design through a deeper appreciation of the natural world. Magical adventures await!

Follow Manitoga's Summer Camp Facebook Page to see what the campers have been learning, experiencing, and creating:


Camp has ended for 2017. We hope you will join us next year.


The camp is open to children 5 to 12 years of age who will be divided into groups according to age and grade level. Some activities involve the whole camp, while others are tailored to the abilities and interests of specific age groups. Each day begins at 9am and ends at 2:45pm for 5 and 6 year olds and at 3pm for those 7 and older. Throughout the day, campers rotate through a variety of activities built around specific themes in nature. 

New for 2017 - The Pavilion Project

The Pavilion Project comes to Manitoga Summer Nature & Design Camp. A large-scale pavilion designed by University of Pennsylvania Architecture students will come to Manitoga just in time for camp! Inspired by Russel Wright’s modern designs, the Pavilion will introduce campers, through fun hands-on projects, to architecture, design, and engineering – in a magical setting. We are thrilled to offer our campers this unique experience.

talented & certified staff

Camp will be led once again by long-time educator and artist Melinda Franzese, an art teacher at the progressive Soundview Preparatory School in Yorktown Heights and founder/director of their Summer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) program. She will be joined by Conor Austin as Assistant Camp Director, an Education Studies graduate from Juniata College who has recently returned from teaching children in the Dominican Republic and has participated in Manitoga's camp for 15 years. Also on board are bright, enthusiastic Counselors to supervise and conduct a compelling array of activities with campers on Manitoga's magical and inspiring property. 

4 special guest educators in just 10 days

Bill Robinson conducts a presentation of live birds where campers feel the wind from their wings and learn (by watching!) what they eat and how they survive in the wild. For more information, visit:  

Tomoko Abe, artist and educator, teaches campers how to make art out of nature and in nature in her creative Cyanotype Workshop. To learn more about her artwork and process, please visit:

Nicole Tantillo, a teacher from Soundview Preparatory School, who puts the fun in art and science through exciting activities such as making clouds from dry ice, capturing the wind with handmade pinwheels, and exploring the power of the sun. Her science-themed Instagram page is designed to spark interest and initiate conversation about STEAM - @mstantillo.

Eric Stone from the Rewilding School leads programs ranging from Critter Hunts and Land Navigation to Friction Fire and Shelter Basics that are sure to inspire your child's connection with the natural world. To learn more about this exciting programming, visit:

central themes

Nature activities and art & design projects bring these central themes to life in multi-faceted ways:


Design is everywhere at Manitoga! Campers explore designer Russel Wright's modernist House, Studio and garden where the inside is like the outside, and the outside feels like home. They see first-hand how nature inspires creativity and design.


Before Manitoga was the place we love today, it was covered by ice, home to Native Americans, and a granite quarry.  Campers learn about the plants and animals native to the area and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the processes and patterns found in nature.


How do you "see" the woods when your eyes are closed? With your ears, hands and even your feet, of course. Orienteering, mapping, foraging, and "sneaker creaking" are just some of the activities planned as part of the adventures in the woods.


Manitoga is a magical place for children to cultivate a deep love of nature and a profound respect for the environment.  Using all of their senses, the campers and staff are fully immersed in the scents, sounds, textures, and visible beauty that the site has to offer. Russel Wright's principles of Know Nature and Feel Nature infuse all aspects of the camp program.


Taking inspiration from the distinct design elements of Russel Wright and the artistry of the natural world, campers participate in a variety of art activities that encourage their individual creativity. 

Safe and sound

Manitoga Summer Nature & Design Camp operates in strict compliance with Putnam County Department of Health regulations. The camp is inspected before the season begins and once the program is in session. All camp staff are certified in CPR/First Aid and Responding to Emergencies and/or Wilderness Training. 

Per the Putnam County Health Department, please review the following with regard to Summer Camps in New York State:



Refund policy

Manitoga Summer Nature & Design Camp Refund Policy

More information about this year’s staff, Guest Educators, and dynamic programming to come!

Hawk T-shirt Design: Joe Pimentel
Photos: Emma Orland and Melinda Franzese