EATON — Over 70 area youth experienced fun and excitement at last week’s Preble County Conservation Day Camp, a new program sponsored by the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District. Elementary students from around the county gathered at the Preble County Historical Society June 21-23 to experience interactive outdoor activities related to forestry, water quality, soils, wildlife, and agriculture.
In one rotation, campers explored a soil pit and investigated the soil before making edible soil profiles out of pudding and cookies. In another, they waded in the creek with buckets and a net, collecting macrovintebrate organisms such as snails and worms. There were some exciting finds, including pollution-sensitive organisms such as caddisfly larvae, whose presence means that the water quality in Aukerman Creek is good. Campers took aim while practicing archery, and were very excited when they hit the target and popped a balloon. Other activities taught campers about beekeeping, wildlife predator-prey relationships, historical living in a log house, various aspects of forestry, the importance of practicing conservation habits in daily living, advancements in agriculture, and living how to leave no trace when exploring the outdoors.
Reflecting on her camp experience, eleven-year-old Hailey Henderson of Eaton said, “I learned a lot about soils, bees, archery and many other things. I learned the layers of soil. I had a great time, and I wish I can do this again.” MaKaylee Phelps, 9, of Lewisburg said, “I really liked creeking, soils, archery and the wild animal activities the best. I hope we can do it next year. If so I will totally do it again.” Daniel Chappel, age seven from Eaton, loved his camp experience, and said that next year it should be extended to ten days rather than three. Overall, campers seemed to greatly enjoy the learning experience.
The program was sponsored by the Preble Soil and Water Conservation District with funding and support from Preble County Farm Bureau, Cargill, and the Preble County Pork Festival Committee. Thanks to the generous support from these sponsors, campers were only required to pay a $20 registration fee to participate.
In addition to the sponsors, Conservation Camp would not have been possible without the many presenters, counselors and other volunteers who brought the program to life. Organizers especially thank the Preble County Historical Society for providing the perfect location to host the event.