SILVERSTREET — It might have been hot outside this week but that didn’t stop a group of kids from participating in Camp Conservation, a Newberry Soil and Water Conservation District program designed to get children outdoors and excited about conservation efforts.
Youths ages 6 to 14 have spent the week outdoors, learning about wildlife, nutrition and recycling while also competing against one another in tournaments and obstacle courses, going kayaking, shooting air rifles and visiting some area farms.
Danielle Rowe, district coordinator with NSWCD, said representatives from different agencies share their knowledge with the campers but they also get to have fun.
“Anytime you can get these young kids out from inside the house watching TV, and allow them to meet new friends, have a good time and get some exercise, that is always a good thing,” said Jason Bishop, commissioner with NSWCD.
Commissioner Wayne Satterwhite added that the youths appeared to be having a good time, noting some even started playing a game of football during their break.
“It’s just good to have this many kids out and have them in a good place,” he said.
Alana West with Newberry County 4-H taught activities that relate to 4-H such as wildlife, recycling and nutrition.
“With nutrition, we basically cover the basics, like the different food groups and which food items go into different food groups,” West said. “Basically, just a brief way to cover some of our 4-H clubs and school programs we do. We do a 30-minute lesson that introduces them to other things they could be doing in 4-H.”
West said the first lesson she did was on wildlife, a topic that resulted in a lot of attentive kids.
“Of course, all of our 4-H stuff is hands on, like with recycling we will actually make something with a recycled product,” she said.
Staci Henry, district conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, has taken the week to teach about soil health and erosion, as well as the importance of earthworms.
“I taught them how earthworms aerate the soil and allow water to move through. Their favorite part was playing with the earthworms I had for them,” she said.
Henry also talked about wetlands and the difference between wetlands and ponds, and did a craft with a Minute To Win It twist: Campers used frog plate faces and worked to snatch up a piece of felt with a party blower.
Ginny Holt with Midlands Master Naturalist Association helped campers identify trees by their leaves as part of her nature presentation but added that they also spent time in the woods, discussing things that interested them.
“They have been great. They are very interested, ask a lot of question and know a lot of answers. Some of them are city kids so this is new to them, being out to a place like this,” she said.
Scott Ray, natural resources staff officer for Francis Marion Sumter National Forest, came out Tuesday to talk about adaptations using a variety of different animal parts such as a turtle shell, animal skulls, feathers, and a turkey tail fan.
“We were talking about how those adaptations help animals in the wild,” Ray said. “It was very interactive, the kids were giving a lot of great answers, the kids were giving a lot of really smart answers and they were really well behaved and we had a great time.”
During his presentation, Ray discussed what his job entails as well as what other Forest Services around the country do. He said they talked about the wildfires out west and how personnel from this area will often help fight those fires.
“The kids were really excited and we had some that wanted to be a wildlife biologist when they grow up,” Ray said.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.