MONTGOMERY — The West Virginia State Conservation Camp is looking for state teens interested in a week-long experience next month focused on the natural environment.

The camp takes place June 10-15 at Camp Caesar in Webster County. This year marks the 78th year of the annual gathering that combines conservation and environmental education with activities introducing the youths to the state’s outdoor recreational opportunities.

At least one Montgomery teen who volunteers at the Morris Creek Watershed has already signed up to attend, said Beach Vickers, watershed resource specialist. Vickers expects to participate with other experts such as naturalists, forestry agents and law enforcement officers as one of the adult counselors and instructors leading the camp.

The camp aims to introduce teens to West Virginia’s natural resources and to the social and economic benefits associated with wisely using and managing the state’s resources, according to Ben Spong, West Virginia University Extension Specialist and camp chairman.

“While the rich and varied natural resources in our state can often be taken for granted, the long term sustainability of these resources depend on our next generations knowing what they are, how they are managed and by who, and finally what they can do to have a positive impact,” Spong said.

Campers from across the state will participate in interactive workshops, assemblies, outdoor recreation, evening campfires and social events, he said.

Morning class sessions cover topics such as wildlife management, fish management, forest protection, forest products, conservation law enforcement, nature awareness, watershed management, and parks and recreation.

During the afternoons, campers will choose from among several classes in outdoor recreation activities, such as trap shooting, archery, rowing, outdoor cooking, fishing, rifle marksmanship and rappelling, he added.

Spong noted camp instructors are natural resource professionals who, in addition to covering their subject matter, also introduce participants to career opportunities, educational requirements and suggestions for selecting appropriate post-secondary educational institutions for campers’ respective natural resource fields of interest.

Each year, many of the campers attending receive a scholarship that covers all or part of the $200 camp fee. Scholarships are provided by garden clubs, conservation districts, hunting or fishing clubs, civic and youth organizations, and similar groups.

Registration may still be open for the 2019 camp for campers at least 14 and under 19 at the start of camp, said Vickers.

An application to attend is accessible online at https://wvconservationcamp.com/index.php/signup-form.

Those interested can also directly contact Alan Miller, camp secretary and treasurer, for more information and help with the application by phone at 304-358-3298 or via email at tmfchair@frontier.com.

The camp is supported by the West Virginia University Extension Service and other local, state, and federal agencies with natural resources management responsibilities.

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