SCWA’s “Camp Leopold” receives grant from Dominion Energy

SCWA’s “Camp Leopold” receives grant from Dominion Energy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2018

Contact: Ed Paul
803.600.8977
epaul@scwa.org

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s “Camp Leopold” receives grant from Dominion Energy

Funding will provide an experiential learning field trip opportunity for students in Camp Leopold’s widely diverse ecosystem.

 

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s environmental education school-year program, “Camp Leopold,” has received a $10,000 Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the non-profit arm of Dominion Energy.

The Camp Leopold environmental education camp program will host an additional 250 South Carolina students as they experience the environmental education field trip of a lifetime, thanks to Dominion Energy. The camp, managed by the South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA), sits adjacent to beautiful Lake Marion near Pinewood, S.C. and consists of diverse wetlands and woodlots that combine to form a 568-acre outdoor classroom.

The grant from the Dominion Energy Foundation will provide 250 Camp Leopold scholarships to South Carolina public school students in grades 3-7 within Dominion Energy’s natural gas service areas. Starting in Fall 2018, the schools awarded scholarships will attend a 1-day session at Camp Leopold, where students will be introduced to a hands-on outdoor curriculum focused on South Carolina’s ecosystems, conservation, sustainability, and STEM education. The Camp Leopold program reconnects youth to the land, while helping to educate the future generations in conservation.

“Dominion Energy is thrilled to be able to support organizations like South Carolina Waterfowl Association in the important work they do for students and schools,” said Kristen Beckham, external affairs representative for Dominion Energy. “It’s especially meaningful to provide funding for transformational field trips, so more students can benefit from environmental education and hands-on science activities. These experiences, we believe, will help them learn the importance of protecting our state’s environment and natural resources.”

The Dominion/Camp Leopold Scholarship Fund will provide a 1-day field trip for up to 50 students. These scholarships are on a first come/first served basis. If a school is too far from the Camp Leopold facility for a 1-day session, a multiple day program will be available with partial funding through the partnership.

For more information on Camp Leopold or to book a field trip through the Dominion/Camp Leopold Scholarship Fund, contact Joe Gonzalez, Camp Leopold Director, via email at joe@scwa.org, or visit the program’s website at www.wildlifeedcenter.org.

About the South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s – Camp Leopold School-year program

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA) exists to enhance and perpetuate South Carolina’s wildlife heritage through education and waterfowl habitat conservation. SCWA was founded in 1986 by Executive Director and waterfowl biologist, David Wielicki. SCWA is a nonprofit organization recognized under section 501-C3 of the internal revenue service code.

The SCWA Wildlife Education Center is a project of SCWA established in 1994. The Wildlife Education Center (WEC) operates three main programs. These include Camp Leopold, Camp Woodie and the WEC Wildlife Heritage Events. The mission of Camp Leopold is “To create an ecologically literate citizenry by heightening student awareness of the natural world, fine-tuning the skills necessary to read the landscape, and instilling a love, respect, and admiration for the land so that each individual might develop a personal land ethic.” Camp Leopold is named after Aldo Leopold, who is recognized as the father of wildlife conservation and management. Camp activities are designed to provide a creative outdoor classroom focusing on wildlife, wetland and upland ecology. The Camp Leopold curriculum is uniquely designed to help students and teachers achieve academic standards in science, reading and math through hands on outdoor education. The curriculum draws on aspects of the Leopold Education Project, Project Wet and Project Wild.

About Dominion Energy

Nearly 6 million customers in 19 states heat and cool their homes and power their businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D). The company’s record of reliable, safe and clean energy regularly places it among American’s most-admired utilities. One of the nation’s leading operators of solar energy, Dominion Energy is one of just three companies to have reduced carbon intensity by more than 40 percent since 2000.

Dominion Energy’s Environmental Education and Stewardship grants support a variety of initiatives that benefit schools, organizations and communities across the country. In 2018, Dominion Energy is awarding $1 million in grants to 129 organizations in 12 states working to improve natural spaces or encourage environmental stewardship. Since 2003, Dominion has donated nearly $32 million to a wide variety of environmental projects across its footprint. To learn more, please visit www.dominionenergy.com, Facebook or Twitter. To learn more about Dominion Energy’s growing presence in S.C., visit www.brighterenergyfuture.com.

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SCWA celebrates Boeing Corporation’s 5 years of Camp Leopold scholarship support

SCWA celebrates Boeing Corporation’s 5 years of Camp Leopold scholarship support

Since the year 2013, Boeing South Carolina has been a vital part of the success of SCWA’s Camp Leopold. The school year natural resource education program began in 2012 with the mission “to create an ecologically literate citizenry by heightening student awareness of the natural world, fine-tuning the skills necessary to read the landscape, and instilling a love, respect, and admiration for the land so that each individual might develop a personal land ethic.” Corporations like Boeing are generous enough to provide the thousands of scholarships each school year that give South Carolina students the opportunity to attend Camp Leopold. Without corporate sponsors like Boeing, the large majority of Camp Leopold attendees would not be able to participate in the program.

From 2013-2017, Boeing has given Camp Leopold $150,000 to be distributed as scholarships to 3rd-7th grade students from Title One schools along the SC I-95 corridor. Adding in their contribution for 2018, Boeing has gifted $180,000 to Camp Leopold over the course of the last five years, a total of 4,500 scholarships. Camp Leopold is proud to be a partner of an innovative corporation that is dedicated to not only building a better tomorrow for the environment, but the next generation as well.

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Alice Drive Elementary

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Walker Gamble Elementary

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R.E. Davis Elementary

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Manning Primary

Camp Leopold 2017-2018: A school year in review

Camp Leopold 2017-2018: A school year in review

We’re so thankful for the amazing season we had at Camp Leopold this school year! Students from all over the state came to visit us and learn from our awesome instructors through a variety of different activities. None of this would have been possible without our generous corporate sponsors and South Carolina Waterfowl Association chapters throughout the state.

3,218 students from 58 different schools were touched by the Camp Leopold program from August 2017 through May of 2018. Thanks to corporate sponsors and SCWA chapters, $109,180 was distributed throughout the state as scholarships for students to attend Camp Leopold.

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Camp Leopold added some new activities to the list this school year, including “Plaster Track Casting,” “Water Quality Testing” and “Birding.” In the works for next year is a new class called “Forest Ecology,” where students will learn to assess the age of existing timber stands. Trekking through new and old growth forests, students will also learn about the key management techniques that allow Camp Leopold to efficiently manage their forests to provide habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals.

To fulfill SCWA’s vision to “provide opportunities for all South Carolina youth to participate in hands-on natural resources conservation experiences,” construction on a new lodging building at the SCWA Wildlife Education Center will begin in July. This new lodging building will expand Camp Leopold’s daily capacity from 100 campers to 150 campers. Along with new lodging, Camp Leopold will also be able to utilize a newly purchased 127-acre tract of land that has been added to the Wildlife Education Center that will include a boardwalk nature trail.

Camp Leopold Director, Joe Gonzalez, is eager to continue improvements and expand the Camp Leopold program. Gonzalez relayed, “Many key developments to both our infrastructure and curriculum have made Camp Leopold an invaluable experience for students over the past school year. As we continue to better our facilities and our program, it’s exciting to envision the opportunities that our campers will have as we continue to grow.”

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You can learn more about the camp program under the “Camp Leopold” tab of wildlifeedcenter.org. If you are interested in booking a field trip to Camp Leopold, please reach out to Camp Leopold Director, Joe Gonzalez at joe@scwa.org. If you or your company would like to provide scholarships for students to attend Camp Leopold, please contact Director of Education Programs Sales and Marketing, Ed Paul at epaul@scwa.org. We hope to see you next year!

 

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SCWA Boyd Camp to open in September

SCWA Boyd Camp to open in September

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association has received a grant from the Boyd Foundation to purchase 127 acres adjacent to the SCWA Wildlife Education Center. The Boyd Foundation grant also provided funding to develop 60 acres of waterfowl habitat, nature trails and to enhance wildlife habitat on the balance of the 127-acre property. The grant also provided funding for a new parent/child primitive camping area that will be used throughout the year and will be called “SCWA Boyd Camp.” The primitive camp site will feature a cook shed, 5 rustic 4-person cabins, fire pits and game cleaning stations.

The addition of the SCWA Boyd Camp brings the total acreage of the SCWA Wildlife Education Center to 568 acres. In addition to natural resource conservation education programs that operate through the year, the SCWA Boyd Camp presents the unique opportunity for a parent to hunt alongside his/her senior camper. A hunt at Boyd Camp will count as the Camp Woodie senior camper’s chosen youth hunt that is offered with their senior Camp Woodie registration. Camp Woodie will offer 8 duck hunts at Boyd Camp with 12 parents and 12 children per hunt, as well as 5 deer hunts at Boyd Camp with 6 parents and 6 children per hunt. Each type of hunt will cost $125 per parent/child group (1 parent, 1 child). Hunters will be responsible for bringing their own food for the duration of their stay, as well as sleeping bags and pillows for the night before the hunt. For duck hunts, the 20 lodging spots will be first come first served.

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association is excited to present this opportunity to Camp Woodie parents and campers. Parents will now have the ability to choose a Boyd Camp hunt on their Camp Woodie account online, just like the regular youth hunts. However, no one may sign up for a youth hunt until they have already registered and paid for a senior week of camp at Camp Woodie.

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Praiseworthy Pintail Partners

Praiseworthy Pintail Partners

On Saturday, February 3rd, Camp Woodie hosted the 4th annual Pintail Partners hunt at the SCWA Wildlife Education Center. 76 boys and girls of all different ages arrived that day to participate in the largest youth hunt in the nation. The Pintail Partners hunt is a partnership between the South Carolina Waterfowl Association, SCDNR, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and the Harry Hampton Foundation to provide young people with an outstanding duck hunt on one of several stellar properties with the hope to get these youth involved in waterfowl and wetland conservation.

Hunters and their parents arrived in the middle of the day to take part in a delicious lunch and mingle among other hunters. Each child received a bag from Delta Waterfowl, filled with swag from Ducks Unlimited and Camp Woodie. Additionally, TNT Taxidermy, Winn Tuck Waterfowl, and The Waterfowl Company had displays and representatives on site for youth and parents to peruse before the hunt talk. These young hunters were bursting with excitement to get out to their hunting blind, and their parents were just as thrilled, if not more-so.

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Before all of the hunters, parents and guides dispersed to their blinds, Marvin Davant of the Harry Hampton Foundation relayed an important message to the 76 young hunters: “One day, you’re going to be standing where I’m standing, and it’s going to be your job to keep waterfowl hunting alive. Think about how important this day is for you and how important it might be for somebody else one day.”

Pintail Partners would not be possible without the amazing organizations, land owners, staff members, guides, waterfowl hunting supporters, as well as parents and youth, who come together to make it happen. It truly takes a village.

Thank you so much to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited and the Harry Hampton Foundation for donating the funds and materials to make this hunt successful. Thank you to all of the organizations’ staff members who put forth their time and effort to help the event run efficiently. Thank you to the hunt guides who volunteered to spend their Saturday leading and educating these young hunters. Thank you to Jimmy Lee (Featherhorn Farms), Larry Avins, Lou Tocci (Two Ponds), Charlie Rountree (Hickory Hill), Will & Albert Freeman (The Beach Company), David Wielicki (SCWA), and Joe Blanchard for allowing their properties to be used for this youth hunt.  Thank you to the parents who registered their children for this hunt to get them involved in the outdoors.

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association hopes that, through this hunt and more Pintail Partners hunts to come, we can instill in the next generation a love and appreciation for waterfowl and wetlands conservation, so they can keep it going for generations to come.

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Camp Leopold earns ACA accreditation

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After months of preparation, Camp Leopold is now officially accredited by the American Camp Association. ACA is dedicated to maintaining high-quality camp programs, and Camp Leopold is very excited to be a part of their list.

Camp Leopold Director Joe Gonzalez said on behalf of him and his staff, “This process has been a tremendous team effort – more than a year in the making.  We are very excited to show our attending schools that we have taken the time to analyze every aspect of our camp to ensure we are delivering a safe and quality program for all who visit.  This process holds us to high standards which will make Camp Leopold more marketable in the years to come – this is a true milestone for us as our program continues to grow.”

The ACA accreditation process helped to ensure that the experience Camp Leopold is providing to South Carolina students is one that will be valued and remembered. ACA’s website assures “ACA-accreditation is solid proof of a camp’s accountability, credibility, and commitment.”

The American Camp Association has a database on its website of over 3,600 camps, 12,000 programs and 47,000 sessions. Camp Leopold will now be a part of that database for viewers on the ACA site to find and research. Camp Leopold is dedicated to helping students learn and grow through knowledge of the natural world, and thanks to the ACA accreditation, we will be able to reach an even wider audience with that knowledge.

 

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Waterfowl Associations Band Together

Waterfowl Associations Band Together

This year, South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s Camp Woodie was missing a few veteran staff members. While they were being missed fiercely by the Camp Woodie staff and campers, they were learning and making an impact in Suisun City, California at California Waterfowl’s summer camp at Grizzly Ranch in the Suisun Marsh, which is the largest contiguous brackish marsh remaining on the west coast of the entire continent.

Hannah Cato, Trey Gardner, and Taylor Byars migrated to the West Coast in the month of May to join the summer staff of California Waterfowl. Their mission was to collaborate with CWA’s staff members to share experiences and techniques from SCWA’s summer camp to compare with CWA’s summer camp at Grizzly Ranch. These staff members flew thousands of miles out of their comfort zones to help and be helped by a sister organization with so much to offer.

When asked if California fulfilled her expectations, Taylor Byars said, “It was everything I expected and more! It’s way more beautiful than anyone gives it credit for, and the people within CWA are phenomenal. They’re always so willing to help you get more experience and stick their neck out for you.” Trey Gardner only had kinds words to share about CWA as well: “We have been shown every hospitality and gratitude during our time here, and I feel strongly that both associations would like to continue this give and take relationship so that both are examples for other organizations to emulate…”

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Hannah, Trey, and Taylor explored Mount Diablo on one of their free days.

All three staff members experienced things with California Waterfowl that they had never done before. At Grizzly Ranch, Camp Woodie veterans were introduced to women’s and veteran’s outdoor programs, weekend camps, and unique camp activities, such as duck banding. Hannah Cato especially enjoyed the veteran’s camp: “The Veteran’s Camp was an amazing experience. I got to work with shotgunners from all different levels and give them instruction on their shooting stance & technique. It was a great chance to give back to people who fought for our freedom and the rights we all hold dear. We had a great time!”

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Hannah and Taylor assisted as shooting instructors for the sporting clays course.

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Taylor assisted in the duck banding activity at Grizzly Ranch.

George Oberstadt, CWA’s Heritage Program Supervisor, was one of many who guided Camp Woodie staff members through their summer with California Waterfowl. George reported, “We shared a ton of ideas back and forth throughout the summer. The biggest thing that I have seen with SCWA folks is the ‘ownership’ they have in the Camp Woodie program. These 3 talked extensively about “WE do this, and WE do that” and were dialed in to the program, even while working here with us. The ‘army’ of folks that SCWA has developed with young, experienced staff and shooting instructors is quite impressive.”

Hannah, Trey, and Taylor were thrilled to be able to represent SCWA and come together with CWA. Trey had this to say about the value of their experience in California:

“I think that there was a mutual gain between the two associations – California Waterfowl gained 3 experienced counselors/shooting instructors and valuable advice that will allow them to move forward and grow their programs in an efficient manner. SCWA in return gained and will gain ideas to expand the variety of camp activities as we continue to grow and need new ideas to provide a diverse and unique experience for campers as they return year after year.”

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Trey enjoyed being a shooting instructor for not only shotguns, but archery and rifles as well. 

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Hannah was no stranger to being a shooting instructor. She served as a shooting instructor at Camp Woodie for 6 summers.

SCWA is so grateful for all of the help and hospitality from California Waterfowl and plans to continue to collaborate with our west coast friends in the future to allow both organizations to grow.