EATON — More than 100 area youth experienced fun and excitement at Preble County Conservation Day Camp last week.
It was the second year of the program sponsored by the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District.
Elementary students from around the county gathered at the Preble County Historical Society farm, June 27-29, to experience interactive outdoor activities related to water quality, recreation, wildlife, agriculture, and pioneer life.
Each day, campers took part in five different activities.
In one session, they learned about the importance of habitat for pollinator species such as bees and butterflies. The following day, campers had the chance to scatter wildflower and native grass seeds to create a new pollinator habitat at the Historical Society.
The woods and fencerows provided a great setting for finding and sampling edible wild plants such as wild carrot and black raspberries. Campers spent time in Aukerman Creek with nets and plastic pans in search of fish and macroinvertebrates. They learned what candles are made from, as staff from the Historical Society led them in an old-fashioned candle-dipping.
The sound of hammers rang out as campers constructed bluebird houses with a bit of help from the adults. Everyone enjoyed petting a Holstein calf, and it led to many questions about life on the farm. Other activities at Day Camp included geocaching, a nature hike, and a hands-on demonstration of how wetlands work. Lunch time each day included summer camp songs.
Looking back on her camp experience, eleven-year-old Jolene Bendel of Camden reflected, “I learned how to properly hold a bow and arrow. I liked creeking and finding fish and bugs.”
What fact did Colton Shroeder, 9, of Eaton remember? “There are many kinds of soil.”
Yet another camper noted he learned, “How to tell the difference between poisonous and good plants.”
When asked about their favorite activities at Day Camp, many campers cited going to the creek, learning the basics of archery, and dipping candles.
The program was sponsored by the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District with funding and support from Cargill, Miley Construction, and Flaig Lumber. Thanks to the generous support from these sponsors, campers were only required to pay a $20 registration fee to participate. Junior high and high school students from around county volunteered their time to serve as camp counselors.
Conservation Camp was made possible thanks to the many presenters, counselors, and other volunteers who brought the program to life, and especially the Preble County Historical Society for providing the ideal location to host the event.