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Summer Camp Provides Lifelong Environmental Learning for Utah High Schoolers

U.S. Forest Service Entomologist Danielle Reboletti uncovers forest insects for Nature High Summer Camp participants during an in-field resource learning session with agency resource professionals. Photo by Stacey Smith, BOR. Photo used with permission.

U.S. Forest Service Entomologist Danielle Reboletti uncovers forest insects for Nature High Summer Camp participants during an in-field resource learning session with agency resource professionals. Photo by Stacey Smith, BOR. Photo used with permission.

Nature High Summer Camp, an annual high-energy environmental learning experience for high school students in Utah, was held in July at the historic Great Basin Environmental Education Center in central Utah’s Ephraim Canyon.

For more than 20 years, several federal natural resource agencies and state partners have sponsored the event to help students of all walks of life learn the importance of science-based natural resource conservation and consider related careers at organizations like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

This year, 28 students from across the state came together to learn about natural resources, meet natural resource professionals, learn the value of teamwork and have fun making new friends.

For hands-on learning, the students were divided into resource interest groups, under the direction of a camp counselor. They were presented with a scenario that required the development of a resource management plan to balance competing interests on both public and private lands in Ephraim Canyon.

Ivan Torres (left) and Trevor Demille learn soil texture by feel and appearance from Soil Scientist Ray Grow with NRCS. Photo by Ron Francis, NRCS. Photo used with permission.

Ivan Torres (left) and Trevor Demille learn soil texture by feel and appearance from Soil Scientist Ray Grow with NRCS. Photo by Ron Francis, NRCS. Photo used with permission.

The five resource interest groups—representing livestock producers, environmentalists, hikers, all-terrain riders and sportsmen—met together at the conclusion of the camp, in a lively town hall-like setting, to come up with an agreed-upon  resource management plan as a solution to the scenario.

During the camp each group spent time with resource professionals to learn about relevant subjects like aquatic ecology, hydrology, entomology, soil science and forest ecology. Other time was spent learning about career options related to natural resources and visiting nearby Snow College.

Camp attendees also accomplished a service project, clearing weeds and brush around an education center building. This firewise barrier will help protect the 100-year-old historic structure, originally used as a sheep range experiment station, from wildfire.

The sponsors are the NRCS, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, Snow College and the Utah Association of Conservation Districts.

Tiffany Prieto and Luis Rosas work together to collect aquatic macro invertebrate samples during the week-long Nature High Summer Camp on the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah. Photo by Stacey Smith, BOR. Photo used with permission.

Tiffany Prieto and Luis Rosas work together to collect aquatic macro invertebrate samples during the week-long Nature High Summer Camp on the Manti-La Sal National Forest in Utah. Photo by Stacey Smith, BOR. Photo used with permission.

One Response to “Summer Camp Provides Lifelong Environmental Learning for Utah High Schoolers”

  1. Sarah says:

    Summer camp is a place where kids have fun and everyone is open to new ideas and experiences.

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