A student at this year’s bass camp smiles as she tries her hand at fishing.
The Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education has for several years run four week-long camps aimed at creating “conservation ambassadors.”
This season it added a fifth.
The organization offered a camp centered around black bass in Lancaster County. Like the other four – focusing on white-tailed deer, black bears, ruffed grouse and brook trout – it was open to high school-aged kids. Students at each “wildlife leadership academy” learn not so much to fish or hunt, but about the need for healthy forests, healthy fish and wildlife and clean water.
They’re then tasked with going back to their home communities and sharing what they learned.
Joseph Reibman, chairman of the Institute board, said they’re intense camps, with students working 12 to 16 hours a day on various projects, all taught by leaders in various fish and wildlife fields. To point out just how well regarded their training is, he noted that Cedar Crest College is offering graduates three college credits.
More impressive is how the students grow, he said.
“When you see the impact on these kids, it’s really amazing to me,” Richardson said.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission sponsored this year’s bass camp.
Pete Duncan, a former executive director of the Game Commission and vice president of the Institute, said where it succeeded in particular was in reaching a lot of youngsters who wouldn’t otherwise hear much about conservation.
“We need to get to the urban and suburban kids. It’s been a weakness,” Duncan said.
Fish and wildlife agencies – who need “to better reflect society” — have struggled to reach that audience, he said.
Commission president Glade Squires of Chester County visited bass camp and came away impressed.
“I met some amazing young people who will be tomorrow’s leaders,” he said.
Information about the camps can be found here. A really good video of bass camp highlights in particular – put together by a student – can be seen by clicking here.
A local waterways conservation officer is the state’s “top gun” for 2015.
The award is presented by the Fish and Boat Commission to the officer who leads the state in making boating under the influence arrests. Last year, that was Mike Walsh, whose district is in eastern Allegheny County. He did 50 on-the-water boat patrol days and made nine BUI arrests.
Drunk boaters “are a serious threat to public safety on commonwealth waterways,” reads a commission press release.
“For this reason, enforcing boating-under-the-influence laws is one of the most important responsibilities of our waterways conservation officers,” it added.
Hunters who shoot a special coyote in South Carolina can get a free lifetime hunting license.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources plans to trap 16 coyotes, tag them and then release them. Hunters who kill one and turn it in will get a lifetime license.
The goal, agency officials say, is to encourage hunters to kill a few more coyotes, which are being blamed for impacting deer populations.
Following up on something they’d suggested they would do earlier, Pennsylvania Game Commissioners adopted a resolution calling on Congress to approve the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources.
The panel suggested lawmakers annually dedicate to the states and territories $1.3 billion in existing revenue from development of energy and mineral resources. It would be used for funding non-game management.
Hunting is conservation
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s #HuntingIsConservation social media campaign has reached more than 7.4 million people since its launch in January. The campaign is now entering a second phase, focused on the economic benefit provided by hunters and anglers within their home states.