Youths can learn to protect and preserve West Virginia’s natural resources at the West Virginia State Conservation Camp held Monday, June 13 through Saturday June 18, hosted by the West Virginia University Extension Service.
High-school-aged youths ages 14-18 interested in exploring natural resource-based careers or expanding their knowledge of the environment, outdoor recreation and conservation are encouraged to apply. In addition to hands-on learning in areas of forestry, wildlife management, nature awareness and more, the camp will offer traditional camping activities such as nightly campfires, recreational sports and other group activities.
“It’s important that we help the next generation establish a connection with and long-term responsibility for our natural resources in West Virginia,” said Ben Spong, WVU Extension Service forest operations specialist. “Camp activities are designed to establish this connection and demonstrate responsible management and interactions to youths who participate.”
Since 1941, more than 16,000 youths have attended the award-winning camp, which is the longest-running youth conservation camp in the nation.
A special reception held during camp will commemorate the camp’s 75th anniversary. In celebration, campers will receive commemorative t-shirts and former campers and supporters from all years will be invited back for refreshments and opportunities to relive some of their camp experiences.
Each morning during the week, campers will participate in natural-resource-focused science, technology, engineering and math programming designed to provide them with a better understanding of the natural world. Campers may find themselves ankle-deep in streams learning about fish shocking – one of many tools biologists use to study fish populations – or pushing through the forest to learn about the diverse flora and fauna in the surrounding environment.
In the afternoon, educational sessions will give way to recreation periods for campers to explore activities such as rappelling, boating, fishing, outdoor cooking, shooting sports and more.
Spong added that it’s especially important for youths to develop an awareness and appreciation of natural resource management, particularly in West Virginia.
“West Virginia is a state that is very rich in natural resources, with many families having contact with the natural environment on a daily basis through work and recreation,” said Spong. “These close ties with our land mean it’s vital for youths to harness a sense of responsibility for our natural resources and ensure they continue to support our needs far into the future.”
Interested campers can register now at www.wvconservationcamp.com. Full and partial scholarship opportunities are available from many local community organizations and agencies. 4-H members should contact their local Extension office to be matched with a 4-H specific Conservation Camp scholarship.
The camp is supported and staffed by professionals that are responsible for the management of West Virginia’s natural resources, such as local, state and federal organizations and agencies, and the WVU Extension Service.
To learn more about WVU Extension Service and how it works to bring 4-H and other youth development activities to young people throughout West Virginia’s 55 counties, visit www.ext.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Brittany Dick, WVU Extension Service
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.