Getting outside with the Youth Conservation Camp

SOUTH FORK— It’s always a great day to get kids outside and learning, and that’s just what 56 kids, 10 teen counselors, and numerous adult staff and presenters did for three days in early June at the Beaver Creek camp retreat area in South Fork.
The 2018 Youth Conservation Camp ran from June 12-14 and included activities ranging from LNT principles, Wildlife tracks, Hunters’ safety certification class, Rio Grande Compact water balloon toss, insect hunting, and many more. Kids ages 8-13 from all around the Valley were able to participate in outdoor groups focusing on natural resource topics such as forestry management, rangeland science, soil & water conservation, and wildlife. Along the way, kids enjoyed learning and engaging with professionals from different Valley agencies.
One camper commented, “I really like getting to meet new people when I’m at camp.”
This year, the camp said goodbye to longtime Forestry group leader Mike Blakeman, US Forest Service- Rio Grande National Forest, who spent over 25 years teaching SLV kids, not just at the camp, for an estimated over 1,000 interactions! Mike will be missed, but everyone wishes him the best on his next adventures.
Special thanks are due to all the presenters and volunteers who made camp such a success: Kim Schaefer, Charmer Catering, Tom Sanderson, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, US Forest Service Rio Grande National Forest, Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI), Rio Grande Noxious Weed District, Sol Mountain Farm, Natural Resources Conservation Service, SLV GO, Trout Unlimited, Judith Jolley, Robert Mathis, Kim & Cody Burns, Headwaters Alliance, Colorado Division of Water Resources, Alpine Achievers Initiative, Adams State University, Mosca Hooper Conservation District, Rio Grande Conservation District, Center Conservation District, Conejos Conservation District, and Costilla Conservation District.   2018 corporate sponsors included Southern Colorado Farms, Neufeld Farms, Ltd., Mountain Valley Agribusiness, Monte Vista Co-op, SLV Garden Center, Jack’s Market, as well as special grant funding from GOCO’s Generation Wild initiative.
Registration for next summer’s camp will open in March 2019. Contact Executive Director Bethany Howell at [email protected]


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