Location: 1901 New Jersey Ave., North Wildwood
Owner: David W. Matagiese, of North Wildwood
Employees: 5 seasonal
EcoVentures' main area is kids' adventure programs. During the summer months, we offer a kids' adventure day camp - a full day of outdoor activities for boys and girls ages 5 to 13 years.
We partner with hotels and resorts, so we have a location in Cape May, at the Grand Hotel on Beach Avenue, and we have a location in Wildwood Crest at the El Coronado Resort on Atlantic Avenue.
They run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and each day is a new theme, such as body-boarding lessons, skim-boarding lessons, marine biology days, snorkeling lessons, and deep-sea fishing.
The idea is to get kids actively involved with the outdoors, and while doing so we tie everything in with the local ecology.
For example, our deep-sea fishing trips use charter boats out of Wildwood Crest and Cape May. Both captains turn the boats into floating classrooms for us. The kids not only learn how to fish, but learn about the fish that they catch.
While the kids are in camp, we do things like seine netting and incorporate oceanography lessons into the body-boarding, skim-boarding and snorkeling instructions.
We draw a lot from vacationing families. We've also picked up a lot of local families as well.
The parents enjoy the programs because they get a full day off. We also provide lunch, so it's a worry-free day for the parents.
We run specials constantly. We offer multiday, multichild discounts, and people can call or visit our website, EcoVenturesUS.com, for the latest specials.
Entry: I'm a marine biologist, and I've worked in Hawaii and Florida for the past 10 years. I grew up here in Cape May and recently moved back to create the program. I worked very closely with the school districts as a biologist in Florida and ran similar programs, fishing camps, in Florida.
All of our instructors are biologists as well. I went to the colleges and the professors to spread the word to their students, and I was able to get a great staff.
The future: When summer is done, we'll offer school field trips, birthday parties and boy and girl scouting programs.