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a camper blowing on a tinder bundle bursting into flames

Our Mission:

To create a physically and emotionally safe learning environment where individuals can find harmony and empowerment through self understanding, self confidence, simple living, friendships and fun.

Our Method:

Our philosophy is based on Confucius' observation: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”  Buffalo Cove's programs are experiential by design. We learn by doing, and we know others do too. We get dirty, we get wet, we get scratches, we get frustrated, we get excited, and we gain so much wisdom in the process.

Our Pillars:

At camp, participants become part of a community where respect is always emphasized. Respect is tied into every lesson and part of our daily life:

Respect ourselves.

Respect our community.

Respect the land.


A rock painted with a flower, sun, and the words, "welcome home."
A sign titled, "Hector Hollow," thanking the donors of a grant with helped found BCOEC
View of a tree canopy from below

In 1995, Berta Blecke and Nathan Roark put their heads together to create an
opportunity for inner-city, foster children to travel to the mountains of North
Carolina and experience the power of being immersed in the natural
world. In 2000, Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center (BCOEC) was created to secure this experience for children in years to come. In the beginning, Buffalo Cove provided a full summer of camp sessions for inner city foster youth.


Over the years, Buffalo Cove has grown to offer a wide variety
of youth and adult classes and camps in outdoor education and adventure, but the mission still remains the same.


We are dedicated to a providing a quality experience, furthering individual growth, promoting positive community participation,  and fostering connection with family and the natural world.


Over the last 19 years we have regularly worked with youth from Atlanta,
Miami, Baltimore, Washington DC, and western North Carolina. We have developed close, working relationships with schools from the Boone and Brevard, NC areas that fill our spring and fall program season. We have had summers full of public sign-up camps--providing experiences for youth, adults and families from all walks of life. We have had campers from all over the southeastern United States and as far away as Costa Rica and Thailand.


We believe that quality, outdoor education is more important now than ever. Our children are inheriting an Earth that is in far worse shape than the planet our parents were born into. Getting kids outside, learning and playing in community, and away from their screens, is imperative in making a well-rounded person. Study after study has shown how our children’s interpersonal and human relationship skills are suffering due to a lack of
prolonged, positive,  personal human interaction. Buffalo Cove puts a tremendous amount of energy towards developing these “people” skills and building community while developing outdoor skills and appreciation for nature.

Buffalo Cove is a 200-acre valley located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina at the headwaters of the Yadkin River and just 12 miles south of Blowing Rock.

A map of North Carolina and Tennessee with a pin on BCOEC

Buffalo Cove has always been a place of friendship, learning, and growth. There is really no better place for the nature lover, the thrill seeker, or someone wanting to be a part of a strong and loving community. 
- Galen, Buffalo Cove Camper

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