SIDNEY — It’s true … just ask anyone who attended the 2019 Conservation Day Camp … tickling your senses in nature is fun! Conservation Day Camp was held at the Shelby County Fish and Game, June 25-27. Campers had a lot of fun from day one, learning a food science lesson from the Sidney High School Agriculture Department, going on a nature sensory scavenger hunt, tie-dying their camp T-shirts, learning the basics in archery. Along with learning about wild Ohio animals with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and touching animal pelts. This fun filled day kept 125 young conservationists actively engaged.
Day two provided an opportunity for the children to explore what plants need to survive. Campers also got feel their way through a sensory lesson and make slime with Ella Aufderhaar. Archery was continued on day two, along with making rain sticks with the Solid Waste District. The loudest part of the day was making their own drums from recycled products, then watching the Mississinawa Valley High School Taiko drummers perform.
Day three was a whirlwind of activities including; all the campers favorite activity fishing. The children made their own bug catchers with OSU Extension intern Summer McLain, the Shelby County chapter of Pheasants Forever provided fun activities for the campers, along with the Bruckner Nature Center taught the children about animal adaptations. Another fun activity was with the Anna High School FFA conducting a very competitive water obstacle course.
Conservation Day Camp is sponsored jointly by the Shelby County Farm Bureau and Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District. The camp is directed by Jill Smith, organization director for the Shelby County Farm Bureau and Sophie Hurley, education coordinator for the Soil and Water Conservation District. Joy Aufderhaar from Farm Bureau also assisted with conducting the camp.
A big “thank you” for our presenters for making the “Sensory Overload” great which were; Joy Aufderhaar, Rhonda Farley, Susan Helterbran, Master Gardener’s: Becky Francis, Dave Slagle, and Teresa Freisthler, Caleb Sheilds – ODNR, Mike Ward – Sidney Ag, Audrey Hathaway – MV Taiko Drums, Summer McLain – OSU Extension, Ella Aufderhaar, Anna FFA, Dan Francis – Pheasants Forever, and Brukner Nature Center. Additional assistance was provided by: Chris Chandler, Linda Ratterman – Miami SWCD, and Helen Umstead.
Twenty-two counselors and counselors in training; Ethan Aufderhaar, Sophie Flood, Darcy Maxson, Anika Arcikauskas, Emma Michael, Landon Howell, Malina Chappie, Ella Aufderhaar, Derek Wolters, Abbigail Haller, Emma Keykens, Chloe Pax, Katie Chandler, Emma Pax, Ian Watterson, Badin Brewer, Jordan Manuel , Zane Michael, Katelyn Kinsella, Douglas Ellison, Elizabeth Low, and Riley Longmire were the backbone of making Conservation Day Camp a positive experience for the children. These volunteers ensured the camp was a fun, educational, happy and safe event.
We are often asked how we are able to offer this amazing experience with warm lunches each day, a camp T-shirt and numerous craft activities for the nominal fee of just thirty dollars per camper. The answer is simple. There are many generous hearts in Shelby County and Conservation Day Camp is offered to the children at this amazing bargain price through the generosity of the following groups; The North Central Ohio Solid Waste District, Shelby County 4-H Foundation, Shelby County Pork Producers, Shelby County Cattlemen’s Association, Shelby County Farm Bureau P & E Committee, Modern Minds Farm Bureau Council, Tactical Solutions Firearms and Accessories and the Botkins FFA.
Stay tuned for details of Conservation Day Camp 2020. Camp will be open to children who have finished grades two through five at the end of the 2019-20 school year. We will also be seeking enthusiastic counselors. Watch the Shelby County Farm Bureau and Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District’s Facebook pages and websites or feel free to call Jill at 877-775-7642 or Sophie at 937-492-6520, ext. 2589.
The writer is the education and outreach coordinator for the Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District.