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Growing Leaders

What’s not for lunch, goes to compost — and the orange shells can double as baking dishes for dessert when filled with cobbler or spice cake!

Camp Shiwaka: an Urban Forest in the Making

First five trees planted in 2006- look how much they've grown!

Since November 2006 an ambitious “reforesting” plan has been implemented in Camp Shiwaka’s five acres. Twenty box-sized coastal redwoods have been planted with micro-irrigation systems installed during the five years required for them to be fully established. Their rapid growth and hardy natures make them ideal for providing visual separation from the city life all around Camp Shiwaka. This project has been underwritten by Camp Fire teen members from money raised by them. They have also invested the sweat equity required for planting with the help of parents and advisors.

Camp Fire members and groups have contributed other trees including both blue and black oaks!

CompostingCamp Fire’s Camp Ethic: Responsible Resource Use, Recycling and Composting !

Have you heard of “ditty” bags? They are Camp Fire’s response to a disposable fast food culture of over-packaging and waste! Campers bring their own ditty bags with plate, cup, bowl and utensils, and dishes are washed following meal prep and eating. No paper plates, no straw wrappers, no throwaway utensils.

The “slow food” movement has nothing on Camp Fire — where food preparation is done at the camper level. Even kindergartners can slice bananas with a table knife...Dessert treats and fast breads include cupcakes baked in a half orange shell or left-over tomato sauce can… Discarded onion peels and apple cores go right in the compost bucket at each fire ring and are added to the camp compost piles after meal cleanup is complete.

Campers are encouraged to bring their own water bottles from home, eliminating single use water bottles and encouraging use of high quality city water.

Throughout the year, the used plastic and aluminum can packaging required for big community and public events are deposited in specially marked recycling containers which are returned to recycling centers by Camp Fire teen members as part of the responsibility of the Green Chairs.

Mulching is the name of the game in this parched environment where water is always at a premium. As turf is eliminated, new beds of native plants are mulched heavily to help maintain the needed moisture and to return needed nutrients to the soil. Newly planted trees are being mulched as well.

Camp Fire's Front Yard

California PoppiesHummingbird SageThe front garden landscaping project has been on-going since fall of 2007 with grants from the Long Beach Water Department and with the help of many of our club families. Our gardens are in full bloom with California poppies, hummingbird sage, California wild rose, Santa Barbara daisies, and lilac verbena, among others. The rest of the yard will be planted with these and other native and water-wise plants as well as boulders, bird bath fountains, benches and other non-plant materials. The garden areas will be irrigated with drip irrigation or soaker hoses to minimize water use and loss due to evaporation. The plants were chosen not just for their beauty and drought-tolerant qualities. With the garden itself providing food, shelter, and water for birds, butterflies, and other insects, the Council could apply for a National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Habitat” designation. For more information on California native plants and water conservation, go to

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