Programs and Registration

Programs and Registration

Programming Update: 

I was unable to get the registration system to an acceptable state where parents can successfully register their children and make payments without confusion and frustration. I need to get extensive help from the registration company support staff.

As such, Taproot registration will remain closed for the time being. We will aim to re-open on Saturday, December 10.

I’ll post periodic updates on the website, but we will not open before that day.

If you already registered and paid for camps, those camp spots are secure. You can email me with questions and I’ll answer them as best I can, but I won’t be able to take camp requests.

I’m sorry for this. My intent is to come out of this pain with a smooth, straightforward registration process that actually works.


About Our Programs

Taproot offers school year and summer programs for children ages 3 to 17. Age guidelines for each camp are flexible; we would be happy to discuss your child’s individual needs and abilities to find the right program for them. Contact us at or call 319.325.0695.

Activities in all of the programs vary from day to day and are highly dependent on the season, weather, group size, and children’s interests, but have included: hiking, sledding, shelter building, atl-atl throwing, yoga and mindfulness practice, bow making, fishing, found nature object art, creek wading, fire making, gold panning, mushroom hunting, cloud watching and quiet observation, vegetable and tree planting, creek exploration, fairy house building, pond canoeing and swimming with life-vests, owl pellet dissection, animal tracking, sand engineering, treasure hunting, native species identification, maple tapping, snow building, campfire tending and cooking, outdoor games, and much more. Read more about our educational philosophy here.

We go outside in all but the harshest weather–An important goal of the program is to help kids learn how to feel comfortable and safe in nature. We encourage parents to send their children with appropriate clothing, and we help kids learn how to wear it.

If dangerous weather prevents us from spending the day outdoors, we may go to the Natural History Museum, the Johnson County Historical Society Museum, the Office of the State Archaeologist, rec center gyms, the Iowa City Public Library, or the Water Treatment Facility, among other indoor locations.

Learn about financial aid and donations here.

School-Year Programs

Taproot offers programming during the school year for children ages 3 to 12 years.

After-School Program for Ages 5-12

Hours: School dismissal to 6:00 p.m.
Days and Dates: Monday-Thursday, March 20-June 1
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $315-495, depending on the day and pickup arrangements
Group Size: Up to 18 children with three teachers

The 2023 Spring After-School Program happens Monday through Thursday, from March 20 to June 1. Kids sign up for one or more days for the entire session...

Home-School Program for Ages 5-12

Hours: 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Days and Dates: Mondays and Wednesdays, March 20 to May 31
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $945
Group Size: Six children with teacher Zac Wedemeyer

Taproot gives home-schooled kids a chance to romp and play outside with other children, engage in lively conversations, and explore and learn about nature...

Sprouts Mornings for Ages 3-5

Days and Hours: Monday through Thursday, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $550/session for one day per week, with a $100 discount for each additional day per week.
Group Size: Eight children with two adult teachers

The Spring 2023 session runs from March 20 to June 1, and children can participate in as many days per week as desired. Laura Max, Alena Green, and Zac Wedemeyer are the main Sprouts...

All-Day Programs for Ages 5-12

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Days and Dates: Friday, April 21 and Monday, April 24
Meeting Place: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Tuition: $85/day
Group Size: 18 children and three teachers

Kids can spend the day outside with Taproot friends. Destinations and activities will depend on the weather and who signs up,but you can be sure the day will be filled with nature and friendship...

Week-Long Summer Programs

We will open registration for Summer 2023 on Wednesday, November 23 at 6 p.m. CST.

Sprouts Camp: Ages 3–5

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Weeks: June 12-16, July 5-7 (short week), August 7-11, August 14-18
Meeting Place: This summer, parents or caregivers will deliver and pick up Sprouts at each day's destination, TBD
Group size: Eight children with two adult Taproot teachers and a teenage Junior Leader
Tuition: $240

Sprouts is designed to give young children quality time outdoors in natural settings, with gentle, knowledgeable guidance from experienced Taproot Teachers...

Saplings: All-Day Camp for Ages 8–12

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from June 19 to August 18, 2023
Meeting Location: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Group size: Eighteen children with three adult Taproot teachers and a teenage Junior Leader
Tuition: $395

Sapling Camp is a rich, nature-filled experience for children, guided by excellent teachers and surrounded by friendly kids in an atmosphere of Unconditional Positive Regard...

Cambium: All-Day Camp for Ages 5–8

Days and Times: Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. from June 19 to August 18, 2023
Meeting Location: Upper City Park, Iowa City
Group size: Twelve children with two adult Taproot teachers and a teenage Junior Leader
Tuition: $395

To meet increased demand, we will run two sections of Cambium Camp each week during Summer 2023. The different sections of Cambium will be determined mainly by when kids sign up, but if your child wants to be together with a friend please...

Taproot Leadership Camp: Ages 12–18

When: Evening of Friday, June 9 to noon Saturday, June 17
Meeting Location: Harvest Preserve Main Entrance
Group size: Eighteen kids and two adult Taproot teachers
Tuition: $1400 ($250 deposit required at registration)

Leadership Camp is an 8-day sleep away camp. Participants bring a tent and we camp at Harvest Preserve and go on daily field trips to various activities and events. Because it takes place in Iowa City, it is possible to make some custom arrangements if kids have scheduling conflicts or if they have difficulty staying away from home...

Payment and Refund Policies

Taproot requires a deposit of $100 per camp week ($250 for TLC). This amount is included in the total tuition cost. Full payment for the session is due by June 1. Parents can manage that payment themselves, or enroll in an auto-billing plan at the time of registration. Parents can also pay in full at the time of registration.

Before May 1 all payments, including deposits, are fully refundable for any reason. After May 1, refunds will be limited. There will be no refunds for severe weather cancellations or if families choose to miss a day or need to miss days because of mild illness. If a large portion of a camp is cancelled because of serious illness, COVID-19, family emergency, or some other calamity, Zac will address refunds depending on the situation.

If you have extenuating circumstances that cause your child to miss camp, contact Zac at or call 319.325.0695 to discuss your situation.

Financial Aid

We believe that every child deserves a chance to explore and learn from nature. If finances are a barrier for your child’s participation in Taproot, reach out to Zac to talk about financial assistance. We will work with you to come up with an affordable payment option. We will not turn a child away if their family cannot pay the tuition.

We are honored to receive donations that allow us to offer these scholarships. If you would like to make a donation to support Taproot’s mission, you can do so here. Donations are tax deductible. In addition, all proceeds from the sale of Taproot merchandise support financial aid for Taproot kids.