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KENAI: Rain or Shine, Refuge Summer Camps Connect Kids to Nature
Alaska Region, November 29, 2012
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Mercedes, Jackson, and Brian participated in Get Out and Get Dirty Camp back in 2008 and returned as Jr. Camp Counselors this past summer.
Mercedes, Jackson, and Brian participated in Get Out and Get Dirty Camp back in 2008 and returned as Jr. Camp Counselors this past summer. - Photo Credit: Kenai NWR staff
Ranger Michelle teaches Critter Campers about the Wild Rose through an interpretive solo drama.
Ranger Michelle teaches Critter Campers about the Wild Rose through an interpretive solo drama. - Photo Credit: Kenai NWR staff
Critter Campers show off just one of the crafts that they made during camp.
Critter Campers show off just one of the crafts that they made during camp. "Ladybug bowls" made on insect day double as their daily snack bowls. - Photo Credit: Kenai NWR staff
Critter Campers Lily and Alicia learn the differences between an antler and a horn.
Critter Campers Lily and Alicia learn the differences between an antler and a horn. - Photo Credit: Kenai NWR staff
In Get Out and Get Dirty Payton isn't afraid of a little fish blood on her hands during salmon dissection.
In Get Out and Get Dirty Payton isn't afraid of a little fish blood on her hands during salmon dissection. - Photo Credit: Kenai NWR staff
Connor, George, and Aiden learn map orienteering skills during a point location race during Get Out and Get Dirty Camp.
Connor, George, and Aiden learn map orienteering skills during a point location race during Get Out and Get Dirty Camp. - Photo Credit: Kenai NWR staff

Despite a cooler and rainier summer than usual, the Kenai Refuge still managed to get 63 kids (from grades 2-5) "Connected to Nature" during four weeklong sessions of summer camps. The popularity of these camps has grown since their start in 2008 and there is often a wait-list. Due to budget cuts, Kenai Refuge Education Specialist was creative with staffing this summer. Thanks to USFWS Science Camp monies a very valuable STEP student was brought on to co-lead camps, but going from four camp staff in 2011 down to two was going to be challenging. It was time to pilot Jr. Camp counselors. Three thirteen year old youths were chosen to volunteer and assist with overseeing campers, take pictures, facilitate a few activities, set an example for new campers, and help wherever needed during camp. Success. It is our goal at the Kenai Refuge to be able to offer Summer Camps in order to introduce kids to the wonder of the Refuge and Alaska through outdoor activities, skills and crafts; allow them to return as Jr. Camp Counselors to give back and gain some job experience; and hopefully have them return as Youth Conservation Corp (YCC) employees to continue their connection with the Kenai Refuge, the Refuge System, and help ensure future conservation. A lot of fun and outdoor experiences were packed in to this years summer camps and the rain didn't hold us back one bit!


Contact Info: Michelle Ostrowski, 907-260-2839, michelle_ostrowski@fws.gov



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