Tucson area children are spending part of their summer learning about the life and culture of the ancient Hohokam communities that once flourished in the Tucson basin.

The "Dig it! Prehistoric People Archaeology Camp" shows children how the early inhabitants of the area adapted to the desert environment by farming along water sources and hunting and gathering in the desert and mountains, the camp director says.

Steve Russell, an environmental educator with Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation, says the summer camp at Agua Caliente Park is for children ages 8 to 12.

“The Hohokam lived in this area between 1240 and 1250 AD,” Russell says. “We put the kids into the role of being a Hohokam Native American.”

Children experience the ways prehistoric people used natural resources to make a living in the desert. Activities include a visit to the Whiptail Ruin, a Hohokam site near the Agua Caliente water source.

Campers learn that life was quite different for early inhabitants of the region.

Russell says the Hohokam had a close relationship with the environment, and the campers learn this through various activities.

“A lot of children are disconnected from nature and may not know that nature can provide us with everything we need to survive,” Russell says. “Our number one goal is to get the children outdoors.”