Natural Resources Careers Camp application period now open

High schoolers, recent grads with interest in career outdoors encouraged to apply
College credit possible through partnership with ACM

* Maryland Forestry Foundation
* Link to online application
* Link to application instructions
* Video explaining the camp
* Camp curriculum and itinerary (2021 details)
* AlleganyPlayground Facebook page

By Kevin Spradlin

It’s not quite in line with a typical sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but the Maryland Forestry Foundation opened up the online application to the Summer 2022 Natural Resources Careers Camp a little early this year.

A Maryland Forestry Board photo
Students determine what kind of life is in the Casselman River, and draw conclusions about the health of the waterway.

The application period normally does not open until Dec. 1, but the foundation indicated the site is “fully ready” now.

There is no cost to apply for the camp, which runs seven days and six nights, from July 24 through July 30, during which natural resource professionals aim to show interested high school students from across the state how they can chart a path to a career in natural resources. The camp is held annually at the Hickory Environmental Education Center in Accident.

The camp offers:

  • Hands-on classroom and field activities in forestry, ecology, fisheries, watershed management and natural resources management and conservation;
  • Networking with natural resource professionals;
  • Use of GIS, GPS, computer simulation and other field tools;
  • Lodging in rustic cabins at Hickory, located behind Northern Garrett High School;
  • A College Night, where students learn about college programs in the region that meet their interests;
  • Potential to earn two college credits with exam (optional).

A Maryland Forestry Board photo
Sometimes, proper forest management and conservation can require a “feet off the ground” approach.

Interested students, including homeschooled applicants, can apply online at the Maryland Forestry Foundation website. Each application is forwarded to the student’s home forestry board for consideration. Along with obtaining two letters of recommendation — from sources such as a teacher, club advisor or counselor — each student who passes the initial vetting process is scheduled for an interview with the local forestry board.

In Allegany County, that means Ken Roberts, local board chair, and Dan Hedderick, board secretary, is involved. Hedderick said the goal is to get every qualified student to the first day of camp. Sometimes, though, the interview process determines camp is not a good fit for the student. Hedderick said one time a student was denied acceptance into the camp because the student’s parents thought it was something other than what it is: a camp targeting potential natural resource career students and future professionals.

There are two costs to the camp. First is the $450 tuition fee, which Hedderick said the local forestry boards tend to pay on behalf of each student. Each student is required to pay the $125 activity fee.

Hedderick said the goal of each county board is to sponsor two students each year, so the interview process is intended to ensure students are “serious” about a possible career in natural resources. Hedderick said students are asked about their background in science.

“Are they ready,” is the primary question Hedderick said the interview is set to answer.

If a county finds itself with more than two qualified applicants, Hedderick said it would be a good problem to have.

A Maryland Forestry Board photo
To be a natural resource professional, one might need to know about wildlife.

“We’ll find the money,” he said.

Hedderick said students in grades 9 through 12 are eligible to apply, although freshmen might have a difficult time showing an academic in the sciences.

In years the Allegany County Forestry Board does not have two student campers, the board makes a donation to another county to help fill the 42 slots available each summer.


Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors

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