Conservation camp teaches survival techniques
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Franklin Klock, naturalist at Carbon County Environmental Center, teaches campers at Carbon County Conservation Camp how to survive in the wilderness and how to recognize poison ivy and other poisonous plants.
A lot of outdoor fun is happening for children at Carbon County Conservation Camp this week. CCCC opened at Camp Shehaqua at Hickory Run State Park.
Approximately 25 children ages 8 to 13 from throughout Carbon County are at the camp this week.
This annual rite of summer event is coordinated by Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center. Gallagher said the goal of camp is to help children learn to appreciate the natural environment while having fun.
Conservation camp offers children lots of close up personal time with the great outdoors.
"It's funny how the kids come to camp with cell phones and games, and by the next day, they seem to have forgotten all about them," said Gallagher. "They learn to tune into nature."
After settling in on Monday, the youngsters did some crafts, went swimming and took a hike.
"Hikes are a staple at camp," said Gallagher. "
The week included a visit by the Lehigh Valley Mad Scientists, a program by Air Products about liquid nitrogen, learning about bomberangs, going white water rafting, making a tie dyed t shirt, tree climbing, a program on falcons, story telling, performing in a talent show and eating s'mores and telling ghost stories around a bon fire.
One of the programs included learned to survive in the great outdoors by Franklin Klock, naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Center.
"If your life depends on it, anything goes," said Klock. Klock explained that while the youngsters at camp should step over things and not step on plants, it was OK to break branches off trees if they needed to survive.
Klock demonstrated how to build a small shelter that would help preserve body heat and provide shelter from the elements should they become lost in the great outdoors.
"Think. Sit. Observe. Plan," explained Klock. "You have to think about your surroundings and how to bring attention to you for help." He said that a person who is lost should have a plan.
Gallagher chimed in, "If you get hungry and do find berries in the wilderness and are not sure if they are safe to eat, only eat a small amount to start. You can eat a little bit more if you don't get sick after 15 or 20 minutes." She added that unless they had extensive knowledge about mushrooms, they should not eat any because many are poisonous.
Klock explained, "If you have a plan and begin executing it, it will give you something to do to keep your mind off being lost. Building a shelter is something you can do to help yourself."
"If you carry a garbage bag in your pack, it could save your life." he said. "A plastic bag would protect you from rain and keep you warm in 20 degree weather."
As part of this program, the youngsters found fallen tree limbs and stacked them up to form a crude shelter that would protect a person from inclement weather.
Camp will begin winding down Thursday night with a talent show and bon fire and conclude on Friday.