Campers learn about fish, snakes, wetlands and more

PHOTO PROVIDED Camp Director Scott Koser taught campers about macroinvertebrates; their importance in the food chain and how they can be used to determine the health of a stream.

LAMAR — “Exploring Our Wild Environment” was the theme of this year’s Clinton County Conservation Summer Day Camp, which is made possible by grants and donations from many local businesses and individuals.

This year, 28 campers that have completed 4th-6th grade learned about the environment through professional talks and lots of hands-on experience.

Campers learned about local wetlands, soil classifications, a history of Pennsylvania wildfires, and biodiversity. They had to solve a crime using their soil identification skills. They observed an electrofishing demonstration and collected macroinvertebrates to determine the health of a stream. They got up close and personal with a variety of bird specimens and learned about adaptations that help birds survive.

They met many native and non-native animals in a presentation by Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland. They built bluebird boxes, tied flies, made a terrarium to take home, and gained navigation skills through an orienteering activity. Campers also made lasting friendships and learned to work together in the many team-building activities that took place throughout the week.

Campers also participated in several field trips this year.

PHOTO PROVIDED Camper Brock Lavallee shows off his big catch at the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish Hatchery in Lamar.

They visited the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish Hatchery in Lamar, where almost every camper got to experience the thrill of the catch.

They explored the Red Hill Museum in North Bend to learn about fossils from the Paleozoic Era and searched for their own at a nearby site that has been visited by paleontologists from all over the world.

They learned about native snakes and snake safety during a picnic at Hyner Run State Park.

They fed fish at a trout nursery in Sproul State Forest and visited a local family farm that uses state-of-the-art technology for their dairy operations.

Finally, the camp concluded with an overnight stay at the Sieg Conference Center along Fishing Creek where campers shared ghost stories and s’mores by the campfire.

PHOTO PROVIDED Campers participated in team-building activities throughout the week. In this picture, campers had to move a bucket full of “toxic waste” without touching it or getting near it. Pictured from left are Garrett Andrews, Emma Bowman, Heidi Miller, and Claire Bowman.

The camp was conducted by a team of educators and instructors led by camp director Scott Koser.

If this sounds like an unforgettable experience that you or someone you know would like to participate in, stay tuned. Informational pamphlets and applications for next year’s Conservation Summer Day Camp will be distributed to local schools in the Spring of 2019 and will become available at that time on the Clinton County Conservation District website and at our office.