The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Junior Conservation Camp is now full and has begun a waiting list, but for young people who are between the ages of 14 and 18, the West Virginia State Conservation Camp is still accepting applications.
The WVDEP is one of several sponsors of the annual State Conservation Camp and will provide staff instructors, as well as scholarships to the camp through Save Our Streams and the Youth Environmental Program.
Named one of “55 Good Things About West Virginia” by The State Journal, the State Conservation Camp takes place June 14-19 at Camp Caesar near Cowen, W.Va. It has had more than 16,000 young people attend since it first began in 1941, and according to Mike Hall, WVU Extension Agent and camp director, it is believed to be the oldest camp of its kind in the United States.
Last year marked 68 years of conservation education and the West Virginia State Conservation Camp received one of only four national “Honor Roll Awards” presented by the Izaak Walton League of America.
The focus of the camp is to teach young people about West Virginia’s natural resources and how to be responsible stewards of the environment.
Participants spend the week learning about West Virginia’s natural resources in a block-schedule format that provides a total of 12 hours of instruction by the week’s end. Subject areas include: forestry, soil conservation, water resources, fish management, game and non-game wildlife management, natural resource and environmental law enforcement, parks and recreation, and youth environmental initiatives. Through hands-on experience as well as discussion, campers learn the techniques and fundamentals applied by professionals in the field. The staff instructors represent natural resource and environmental agencies from all over West Virginia and are trained and experienced in both their professional fields and youth residential camps.
Campers have their choice of experiencing a wide variety of activities including trap shooting, archery, boating, outdoor cooking, rifle marksmanship, rappelling and fishing. They also get to witness a mock forest fire suppression and investigation, a trout stocking event, a turkey trapping exhibition and a firearm safety demonstration.
Of course, traditional camping experiences such as team sports and a campfire are included. Special awards to campers will be presented during the closing ceremony on Friday night.
Various agencies, businesses, clubs and individuals have provided scholarships for young people to attend the camp over the years. This year, the camp registration fee is $150. However, nearly all first-time attendees receive a scholarship. Previous campers are also welcome to attend if age requirements are met. Campers must be at least 14 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2010 but no older than 18 years of age on the first day of camp.
For more information and to register for the 69th West Virginia Conservation Camp, contact Alan Miller, camp secretary/treasurer (phone: 304-358-3298; mail: HC 32 Box 33, Upper Tract, WV 26866) or visit the West Virginia State Conservation Camp Web site at: http://wvconservationcamp.com