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Explore our latest coverage of environmental issues, climate change and more.

Green Mountain Conservation Camps Celebrate 50 Years

Tom Rogers
VT Fish & Wildlife
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law on May 28 protecting critical habitat for state threatened and endangered species and improving other fish and wildlife laws at the new education center at Buck Lake in Woodbury.

For at least half a century, the Green Mountain Conservation Camphas offered middle school-aged kids the opportunity to learn about hunting, fishing, outdoor safety, camping and canoeing.The camps, on Lake Bomoseen in Castleton and on Buck Lake in Woodbury, are celebrating a big anniversary this summer, which includes the completion of a new dining hall at Buck Lake.

"The camp program technically started in 1966 and was administered by the wardens and hunter education staff," said Alison Thomas, education manager for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. "There are two warden training officers who are primarily responsible for the camp operations and from then the camp program is just really developed into a a larger and and more vibrant program."

The camps start this week. Anyone between the ages of 12 and 14 years old is eligible to attend the basic week camp at either Edward F. Kehoe camp in Castleton or Buck Lake in Woodbury. After attending a basic week camp, kids are eligible the following summer for advanced week if they're still under the age of 16.

"We often will do courses like forestry or botany, orienteering, hunter education, archery, swimming, canoeing, hiking, camping," Thomas explained. "So we start the day off right away with the class. By no means are these kids sitting and listening for hours and hours — we're off in the woods if we're teaching forestry, they have a forester showing them exactly what it's like to be a forester, and they're actually doing hands-on activities to learn what that entails."

The camps are affordable: only $250 for a week, which includes hunter safety certification.

"We also have incredibly generous sponsors throughout the week who support about 40 percent of the campers who go. So 40 percent of the campers in our program do not need to pay, because they're sponsored, whether it's a private organization or an actual legislative scholarship that we receive every year," Thomas said.

Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.
A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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