Natural Resources Career Camp 2018

For the past 42 years, the State Association of Forestry Boards, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and other partners, has held an innovative program designed to familiarize high school age students with careers in the Natural Resources. This week-long camp is held at Camp Hickory near Accident, Maryland, in Garrett County. The purpose of the camp is to provide hands on experience for students interested in a wide variety of Natural Resource careers including Forestry, Wildlife Management, Fisheries, Forest Ecology, Parks and Recreation, Soil and Water Conservation, Tree Care and Urban Forestry. Throughout the week, students training in a wide assortment of these disciplines while they prepare a Forestry Report for a given tract of land. At the end of the week, the students provide an overview of their plans at an open forum. There is also a College Night during the week, where recruiters from College of Natural resource representatives meet with students to showcase their institutions. All in all, this is a very good learning experience for high school students who are considering a career in the Natural Resources. The Natural Resources Careers Conference is held every year at the end of July.

This year, five students from Frederick County attended Camp Hickory. The following narratives details some of their experiences at camp:

“I had an amazing time during my week long stay. One of my favorite presentations was when a professor from Garrett College came and produced a “show” for us on nocturnal creatures and the sounds they made. I thought it was amazing and a bit funny. My favorite activity was on Thursday when we got to climb trees. We also were able to use a two-person saw and made a challenge of it for who had the fastest time. We also visited a sawmill and got to watch all the machines and what they do. I met many new people and learned how to identify trees along with many other helpful tips. I am forever thankful for this experience and thank you for the information and help.” Abigail, Frederick, MD

There were many things that I enjoyed about NRCC. The speeches that were given to the students were informative and entertaining, as well as giving insight into multiple careers that many of us didn’t think of or know about. Some of these include a wildlife biologist, urban forester, and wetland ecologist. We also went into the field and experienced activities all for ourselves, which included climbing trees with professional equipment, shocking fish, studying soil samples, and visiting a sawmill. My favorite experiences of the trip had to be the interactive hands-on parts of NRCC including fish shocking, soil sampling, climbing trees, and using a two-man saw. The instructors got us in the field and we were taught how to use the equipment and what to do in specific situations, safely. I really enjoyed that because that gave all the students an idea of what they will be doing and how they will be doing these things if that is the career that they choose. With the help of multiple speakers and amazing experiences that came with the trip to NRCC, I was able to find different options when it comes to the many career choices out there. Especially with College Night where we got to explore the different options each college had to offer and find future career paths in our preferred area of work. This experience helped to give me a broad idea of natural resource careers that would provide a good life for me while still allowing me to do something I love. This experience has helped me get one step closer to finding out my future career, and I am very thankful to have had this opportunity. Overall, I am so grateful to the Frederick County Forestry Board for sponsoring me and accepting me into NRCC, which gave me an incredible educational experience. “ Eridani, Walkersville, MD

“I wanted to go to NRCC to find direction for my future and hopefully determine if my love for the outdoors was more of a hobby or something I could see myself doing as a career. The camp experience exceeded my expectations! It was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. I can’t stop talking about it. The staff had each person’s best interest at heart. The food was awesome and had me excited for every meal. Each day that went by would draw me closer to natural resources. All of the activities were fun and grabbed my attention. I was actually having so much fun I completely forgot to take pictures the whole week. (Sorry about that.) I made relationships with like-minded people who were there for the same reasons as me. Thanks to this camp I was able to realize that being outdoors and natural resources are not just a hobby for me, but what I plan to make a career. I can’t thank you all enough for giving me this opportunity! It’s funny how one week can seem to shape your life.” Carson, Smithsburg MD

If you, or someone who know, is interested in careers in Natural Resources and will be in high school in 2019, consider attending Natural Resources Careers Conference in July, 2019. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in high school or a graduating senior in 2019. Students must submit an application, and participate with an interview with the Frederick County Forestry Board. The Frederick County Forestry Board will pay the tuition for successful applicants. Online applications are available now on the Frederick County Forestry Board website.

Article written by Mike Kay, MD DNR Forester for Frederick County MD

Nature Note for October 7, 2018