Virtual Natural Resources Camp Offered In July

High school students interested in natural resources are invited to attend the Virginia Academy of Natural Resources, a new virtual camp sponsored by Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts (VASWCD).

The academy will take place July 12-16. Each morning will feature live virtual presentations from natural resource professionals, with daily themes of aquatics, forestry, soils or wildlife. Each afternoon, participants will complete field explorations on their own, as well as further exploring topics through videos and reading material.

“Since both Camp Woods and Wildlife and Youth Conservation Camp were canceled due to COVID-19, we wanted to offer an alternative way for teens to explore natural resource topics and careers,” said Bonnie Mahl of VASWCD.

“This camp has several unique twists you won’t find in most virtual camps,” added Ellen Powell of VDOF. The daily self-directed field studies – complete with instructions and materials for campers to use and keep – will connect campers with nature in their own backyards, local parks, or woods. In addition, small groups of campers will work together to showcase the natural resources of their region of the state, culminating in group presentations on Friday. The week will culminate with a natural resources competition modeled after the Virginia Dominion Energy Envirothon program.

Current ninth-through 12 th - graders may apply for the Virginia Academy of Natural Resources at https://forms. gle/9mRUtyoaPRvFQY2N9. Applications will be accepted through April 30. Once notified of acceptance, campers will receive a schedule, Zoom link, and materials for completing their daily field studies.

The only cost for the week-long academy is $25 to cover materials; however, financial aid is available. Contact Ellen Powell at ellen.powell@dof.virginia.gov to discuss options.

The News-Gazette

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