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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Youth explore the great outdoors at Forestry Wildlife Conservation Camp

Campers learning about animal skins and skulls from an expert at the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Ohio 4-H Forestry Wildlife Conservation Camp welcomed 4-H members to Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp in April for an exciting weekend of natural resource exploration and education. The result of an exciting partnership between Ohio 4-H, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry and Division of Wildlife, and Hocking College, Ohio 4-H Forestry Wildlife Conservation Camp offers opportunities for youth to grow and discover new interests by learning about the world around them.

Throughout the three-day camp, youth rotated through education sessions that taught them A camper practicing tree climbing with the help of an expert.about forestry and wildlife. Campers also participated in traditional camp activities like line dancing, campfire skits, and nature hikes. With more than 15 sessions available for campers, there were plenty of opportunities for youth to learn from experts and connect with one another.

4-H youth practiced harnessed tree climbing and learned about dendrochronology, the scientific method of dating tree rings to the year they were formed, during the forestry sessions. Wildlife sessions taught campers how to read a map, put their wilderness survival skills into practice, and understand how radio telemetry is used to track 4-H members experimenting with the portable fish lab.the movement and behavior of animals.

Thanks to professionals from ODNR, Hocking College, the USDA Forest Service, and OSU Extension, campers were able to learn about potential careers in the fields of forestry and wildlife during the sessions.

“The camp was designed to promote careers in natural resources to teens interested in forestry and wildlife,” said Tracy Winters, 4-H Extension educator for shooting sports and natural resources. “We had 53 campers and 21 counselors in attendance, and they all left camp with an increased knowledge of the careers available to them after graduation.”

With the help of certified instructors and professionals, campers had the opportunity to Campers and staff celebrating the 75th anniversary of Canter's Cave 4-H Camp.try their hand at archery, insect studies, and fishing. Evening activities included outdoor cooking over a campfire, stargazing, and night hunts for insects indigenous to the area, as well as an examination of tropical species from the ATI Entomology lab.

Campers, counselors, and staff celebrated the 75th anniversaries of Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp and ODNR by planting trees in honor of both organizations. Campers were invited to participate in the tree planting ceremony, as several youth helped dig holes for the trees and plant them.

During the ceremony, Dave Samples, retired ag and natural resources Extension educator in Jackson County, shared some words about the history of Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp with the youth and spoke about the importance of partnerships with organizations like ODNR. “Over 75 years we (OSU Extension) have been able to grow and develop many things through the philanthropy of many people,” he said.

“We are thankful to all of our partner agencies who come back year after year to help us provide this amazing opportunity for 4-H members around the state.” Winters said.