The Facebook and website link will go live at midnight.

Children ranging in age from toddlers to teenagers will participate in annual summer camps in a couple of months, and they need only keep one fact in mind.

"When you come to one of our camps, you can expect to come home dirty," said Des Moines County naturalist Frances Owen. "We want the kids to bring the earth back with them."

Online registration for the Des Moines County Conservation camps start at midnight April 24, and those who want to reserve their child a spot better be sitting at their computers with a free hand on the mouse. The camps are extremely popular and fill up fast.

Those who aren't fast enough on the registration button likely will end up on a waiting list.

"It's the same registration we used last year. The (registration) link will go live on Facebook and our website," Owen said.

Right now, Owen and her fellow conservation workers are scouting new sites for some of the summer camps, such as Big Hollow Recreation Area. That's due to ongoing construction of the Flint River Trail, which will disrupt some former sites.

"We're usually planning for camps right after the last camp season gets over with. We're coming up with new ideas, things we want to do differently or better."

Last year, she introduced two new camps for older children — an explorer's camp and survival camp. The explorer's camp took kids outside the county, introducing them to activities like the climbing wall in Iowa City. The survival camp is an overnight jaunt, which teaches kids basic survival skills in the woods.

Both of those camps will come back this year, and another one — the trailblazers camp — is being added this year for older kids. It's like a more extreme version of the survival camp. That means at least a few days of camping in the wilderness.

"That's going to be a backpacking trip. We will probably go up to Yellow River. But I don't know if we've decided that," Owen said.

There is no strict ban on cell phones, but Owen encourages the kids to leave them at home. If they get caught using them, the phones are gone for the duration of the trip. Camp leaders carry cell phones for safety purposes, but otherwise, they want to recreate that isolated feeling of being alone in the woods.

"It (the trailblazer camp) will be really fun. It will really stretch the comfort zone of some kids," she said.

Many of the kids return to the camps year after year, entering new ones as they get older. The newer camps designed for older children gives them a way to keep participating until they hit their teenage years. Some like it so much they come back to volunteer.

"We got really good responses from the new camps last year."

While the summer camps for older kids are more adventurous, Owen promises even the youngest will get their hands dirty. And their shoes. Probably their pants, too.

"We're outside, unless it's thundering and lightning outside. We're outside rain or shine."