DARKE COUNTY — On June 8 and 9, 240 Darke County students attended Darke County Conservation Day Camp at Chenoweth Trails hosted by the Darke Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). The camp was designed to get kids outdoors and provide a hands-on approach to learning about their environment.
“Our goal was to get kids to unplug for a couple days and experience the environment we live in,” said Jared Coppess, District Administrator for Darke SWCD. “And try to sneak in a couple lessons while they are having fun.”
Thanks to generous donations from the Darke Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc., Light Foundation and the Darke County Chapter of Pheasants Forever, each camper received a nature journal with reference material to take what they learned at camp and apply it at home.
Camp attendees experienced archery, fishing, crafts, bird feeder building, pollinators, soils, trees and water quality. The kids left camp with a greater respect for the outdoors and a new perspective about how their actions affect the world around them. A grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), ODNR-Division of Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Fund provided each camper with a brand-new fishing rod and reel to take home.
“Watching these kids fish and shoot a bow and arrow for the first time was worth all the time spent organizing this event,” said Elizabeth Farver, Nutrient Management Technician at Darke SWCD. “Once you see them smiling and excitedly moving from activity to activity, you realize it was worth all the effort.”
Darke SWCD would like to thank the following sponsors for making this event possible: Darke Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc., Light Foundation, Cargill, Darke County Chapter of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever, DMF Bait Co., Greenville Ace Hardware, Ansonia Lumber Company, The Andersons Marathon, Aultman Farm and Livestock, Cooper Farms, Cy Schwieterman Inc., Darke County Farm Bureau, Darke County Park District, Edison State Community College: Department of Agriculture, Farm Credit Mid-America, Flaig Lumber Co. Inc., Harrod & Harrod Farms LLC, High Point Hills, Hollinger Excavating, Jordan Agency, McGlinch Family Farms, Nancy’s Blankets, Oakley Outdoors, Park National Bank, and Greenville Rural King.
“We want to thank the nearly 70 instructors and counselors who volunteered at camp, as well as Arcanum-MVCTC FFA, Franklin Monroe FFA, Greenville FFA, Mississinawa Valley FFA and Versailles FFA for their time and labor in precutting the lumber for our bird feeders. Also, thank you to Karri Sherman and Greenville FFA and John Siegrist and Tri-Village Archery for volunteering their time to lead activities. Without our sponsors and volunteers, this event wouldn’t be possible,” said Coppess.
“We are fortunate to have the support from our community and a facility like Chenoweth Trails available to us here in Darke County,” added Farver. “This event continues to get better each year and we are excited to see what next year brings.”
To view pictures of the event, please visit www.darkeswcd.com.