4-H Great Lakes Natural Resources Camp helps teens build interest
posted on August 17, 2012 1:44pm
517-432-1555, ext. 182
EAST LANSING, Mich. – If drawing positive comments from teenagers was an Olympic sport, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s 4-H Great Lakes Natural Resources (GLNR) Camp might be considered a gold medal winner.
“It will be the best outdoors experience you will ever have,” Daniel Lavra, 15, of St. Johns, Mich., said about the event, which took place July 29 to Aug. 4 at Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, Mich.
The annual pre-college program drew 70 campers between ages 13 and 15. The camp, taught by MSU Extension educators, is designed to help the teens increase their science literacy through hands-on learning activities. They also explore Lake Huron and discuss environmental concerns affecting the Great Lakes.
During the week the participants launched a research study investigating impacts of aquatic invasive species on fish biodiversity in Lake Esu and monitored amphibians in Lake Huron with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials.
In addition to getting their feet wet, the campers also had to reverse roles and become teachers instead of learners for one activity. Campers worked in small groups to pick a natural resource topic of their choice and present brief educational lectures to their peers.
Following each presentation the speakers received feedback on their efforts.
“The debriefing helps campers identify what went well and how their teaching could be better,” said Judy Ratkos, MSU Extension senior program leader and the GLNR Camp coordinator.
One participant noted how an aquatic activity made him also think about history and forestry.
“My favorite part was snorkeling on the shipwreck Albany in Lake Huron and saw how big the trees had to be to build a ship with timbers that size,” said Tyler Baldwin, a 10-grader from Cheboygan County. “It was a good experience with a lot of fun learning about the Great Lakes and natural resources.”
The teens also understood that the program’s aim was to balance learning with fun.
“GLNR Camp allows people to enjoy the outdoors and also gives them a great opportunity to learn about the natural resources in the Great Lakes area,” Daniel said. “It’s not just meant for learning though, it’s also meant for having a good time and meeting new people and making friends.”
The 2013 GLNR Camp is scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 3. For more information about GLNR Camp or MSU Extension 4-H Youth Development, visit http://4h.msue.msu.edu/4h/glnrc.
Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp is a Michigan State University (MSU) Extension 4‑H Youth Development pre-college program held each summer on the northern shores of Lake Huron in Presque Isle, Mich.