Nature High Summer Camp is a high-adventure, event-filled week for high school students across the state of Utah. The camp is sponsored by several government agencies, including the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation. The goal of the camp is to expose students to the activities of natural resource agencies in hopes of encouraging them to study and choose careers in science, natural resource management, and agriculture.
Set in the beautiful Manti-LaSal National Forest, the Great Basin Environmental Education Center provides an idyllic setting to learn about natural resources management. Federal professionals share their expertise by providing actual field experiences in Hydrology, Forest Health and Entomology, Wildlife Biology, Soils and Forestry. They help the participants see the fun (and frustrations) of a federal career.
Students apply their learning by tackling some local real world management issues. At the first of the week, they are divided into teams that represent real user groups, such as OHV riders, hunters, grazers, environmentalists and hikers. Throughout the week their assignment is to find a collaborative solution on how to manage the land in which all user groups can utilize it. Through this scenario, the students begin to get a feel for what Land Management agencies do, and the difficulties of trying to appease all user groups.
One of the greatest tools utilized by the camp staff is the Tread Lightly! program. New to all the students this year, Camp Director Cindy Ledbetter (BLM) and Sierra Hellstrom (FS), who are both Tread Lightly! Master Trainers, taught the students the basics of the Tread Lightly! program. The students then participated in many of the Tread Lightly! activities including Web of Life, Jeopardy, and Burying Cat Holes. The kids were very interested in the program, and all 5 of the groups used Tread Lightly! in their presentations on the last day.
Tread Lightly! has been a very useful tool in teaching the students about land management and the ethics that we try to get the public to abide by.
Written by Sierra Hellstrom, US Forest Service