New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that online registration for DEC’s 2019 Summer Camps program will open Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at 10 am. Applications should be submitted through the online registration program available through the Summer Camps website. Parents and guardians are encouraged to register early since some of the weeks fill up quickly.
Now in its 72nd year, the Summer Camps program offers week-long adventures in conservation education for children ages 11-17. DEC operates four residential camps for children: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake (Franklin County); Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor (Sullivan County); Camp Rushford in Caneadea (Allegany County), and Pack Forest in Warrensburg (Warren County).
Introduced in 2017, camps Colby and DeBruce are offering two weeks of programing for children aged 14-17, and five weeks of programming for ages 11-13. Camp Pack Forest will continue to host children aged 14-17 for six weeks and ages 11-13 for two weeks. Camp Rushford will continue to offer two weeks of programming for children aged 14-17 and five weeks of programming for ages 11-13. The complete schedule of camp weeks and ages is available on the Summer Camps website.
Campers will have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of outdoor adventures and are encouraged to try new things. Activities may include fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering, and hunter safety education.
One hunter education program for either gun, bow, or trapping is offered at each camp each week. Class size is limited for hunter education programs and campers must sign up for it during registration and complete the homework in advance.
Along with adventure experiences, DEC campers engage in fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration focused on field, forest, stream, and pond ecological principles. Campers might collect insects in a field, use nets in a stream, investigate soil composition, measure tree sizes, or practice taking field notes and writing in journals. Trips to nearby state lands might include kettle bogs, state parks, fish hatcheries, or nature museums.
Camp Pack Forest will once again offer “Outdoor Adventure Week 2.0” during Week 5 (July 21-26). DEC encourages teens aged 14 to 17 who love being outdoors to sign up for this popular program that will help deepen their enjoyment and widen their horizons while exploring environmental careers at Camp Pack Forest. During this week, campers will develop hands-on outdoor skills that go above and beyond the traditional camp week. Alongside canoeing, fishing, and games, campers will engage in forestry, citizen science, conservation science, and more. Guest DEC, higher education, and natural resource professionals will provide opportunities for campers to consider career paths.
All four camps will operate for seven one-week sessions (Sunday to Friday) beginning June 30, 2019; Pack Forest operates for eight weeks. Drop-off time is 3 pm on Sunday, and the closing ceremony and pick-up time is Friday at 4:30 pm. One week of camp remains $350 per child for the 2019 year, and includes meals, trips, and a camp t-shirt.
In addition to inviting parents to register their children to participate in the DEC environmental education Summer Camps program, sporting clubs, civic groups, and environmental organizations are encouraged to sponsor one or more children for a week at camp. Groups that deposit funds to sponsor six (6) paid campers in one transaction will receive a scholarship to send a seventh child to camp for free. The seventh camper will use a sponsorship code generated by the Albany Camps administration. Information about becoming a sponsor and managing sponsor accounts is available on DEC’s website.
For more information, visit DEC’s website, call (518) 402-8014, or write to DEC Camps, 3rd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany.
Photo of campers explore a stream during a lesson group courtesy DEC.