Youth have hands-on science fun and explore careers at 4-H Great Lakes & Natural Resources Camp

4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp increases science interest, career exploration and environmental stewardship among Michigan young people.

Youth at 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp had a fun and education time. | MSU Extension
Youth at 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp had a fun and education time. | MSU Extension

Teens ages 13 to 15 from 37 Michigan counties learned science and had fun at the 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp. Held on the northern shores of Lake Huron at Camp Chickagami in Presque Isle, Michigan, the event ran July 27-August 2, 2014.

Youth at the camp gained hands-on environmental science experience, developed important life skills, explored career possibilities and became better stewards of our environment. The inquiry-based Great Lakes ecology exploration sessions offered education about watersheds, wildlife, fisheries and woodlands. Campers also experienced the outdoors and all that Michigan’s natural resources have to offer by charter fishing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, fossil hunting and archery. The many camp activities gave the youth a chance to mingle and meet new people from different places and form lasting friendships.

''This Michigan State University (MSU) pre-college program can be a life-changing experience for campers as they increase their understanding and develop strong attitudinal attachment to Michigan’s unique natural resources and bioregional features. Sample testimonials that reflect similar views expressed by many include:

  • “I learned tons of information about wildlife, invasive species, etc., and also gained important people skills and confidence”. – Joy, Montcalm County
  • “4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp has made me want to become a fisheries biologist. My favorite part was catching fish in the large seining nets.” – Michael, Genesee County
  • “I have learned so much that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else. I made a bunch of great new friends and had a blast!” – Brooke, Mecosta County
  • “It was a great week at camp, with lots of fun. But most importantly, we all learned a lot more about how to help and support our amazing world.” – Noah, Sanilac County

''In addition to expressing their excitement, campers reported the following through their program evaluation:

  • 96 percent developed life skills such as socializing and making new friends, accepting people who are different from them, problem solving and the ability to seek out resources that can help them succeed.
  • 93 percent said they plan to take part in more outdoor natural environment activities in the future.
  • 91 percent increased their interest in science.
  • 90 percent increased their knowledge of environmental science.
  • 89 percent reported they learned how to collect, record and analyze scientific data.
  • 87 percent increased their knowledge about career opportunities in environmental science-related fields.
  • 72 percent increased their desire to have a job related to science.
  • 67 percent increased their interest in a career in natural resources or the environment.

''The camp has received national recognition three times in recent years for youth development and science education excellence. A wide variety of content experts ensured that campers gained important hands-on science literacy skills and learned about postsecondary education options and diverse science fields and careers. Camp staff were from the MSU Fisheries and Wildlife Department, Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development , U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary; Michigan Department of Natural Resources and more.

Next year, the camp will be held August 2-8, 2015. Visit the 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources Camp page for more information.

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