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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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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Camp Leopold 2016-2017: A school year in review

Camp Leopold, the school year natural resource program of the SCWA, reached new heights this school year. From August of 2016 to May of 2017, Camp Leopold hosted 3,130 students from 54 different schools all over South Carolina.

These students spent their field trips at Camp Leopold learning in various classes, from “Creatures of the Wood” to “Human Impact at Camp Leopold.” Fun times were had by all at the South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s 537-acre classroom.

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Canoeing

An astounding $72,080 of scholarships supported many of these students to attend Camp Leopold with their school for 1, 2, or 2.5 days. These scholarships were earned and provided by SCWA chapters all over the state and our generous Camp Leopold sponsors.

Thank you to all of the schools that came, as well as the administrators and educators who made it happen. Thank you to our sponsoring corporations – Boeing of North Charleston, Duke Energy, SCE&G, Wells Fargo, Palmetto Pride, Dominion, Albemarle, South Carolina Farm Bureau, O’Dell Corporation, VLS Recovery Services, Marshall Air Systems, Sea Hunt Boats, International Paper, Walmart, and Honda of South Carolina, for providing so many students with the opportunity to experience Camp Leopold.

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Camp Leopold is expected to host 1,500 students from 15-20 schools during the 2017 fall semester alone. The program is growing by leaps and bounds, and Camp Leopold hopes to continue to spread its outreach further than ever before in the coming school year.

If you would like to book a trip to Camp Leopold or have any questions, please visit the Camp Leopold website or contact Camp Leopold Director, Joe Gonzalez, at joe@scwa.org.

Nature’s story-time, a walk through the woods with Generations Group

CAMP LEOPOLD – The bus that arrived the morning of October 14 carried a group of young men who would remain engaged and inquisitive the entire day.

On scholarship from VLS Recovery, boys from Generations Group walked into Chace Lodge eager to absorb every single bit of knowledge the SCWA education staff would provide.

Generations Group is a non-profit based in the Upstate of South Carolina. Its mission “is to prevent sexual abuse by helping neglected and/or at-risk adolescent and pre-adolescent males overcome abusive behaviors.” The young men attending Camp Leopold live at the Generations facility full-time; many will soon be leaving the facility and returning home.

For security reasons, no photos that identified the young men were taken. Instead, the SCWA Communications Director, accompanied the group during their walk through the woods. The goal was to document some of the things a typical group could expect to see during a session at Camp Leopold.  Here are the highlights:

TREES

Obviously. It was a walk through the woods after all. What was interesting wasn’t the fact that trees were around but the perspective the instructors offered when it came to looking at the trees. Unless you live in a place like NYC, you’re probably going to see a tree at some point during the day. What you might not see is the way that tree is interacting with other plants – how it’s fighting for sunlight, providing food for turkeys, or acting as a territory marker for deer. You probably don’t notice the tilt of the branches or the shape of the leaves but those things are important when you’re trying to identify the tree species, or the tree’s health. When you’re surrounded by trees  (eg: a walk in the woods) it’s much more difficult to not notice the unique characteristics of each plant.

SIGNS OF ANIMAL LIFE

It’s possible you’ll see a paw print from your neighbor’s dog on the sidewalk if the ground is wet from rain but when you take a walk through the woods with a Camp Leopold instructor you start to notice signs of animal life. You start to wonder how recently the raccoon walked across the path or why the bird chose that exact tree to build their nest.

MOSS, FUNGI, ETC.

While taking a walk through the woods, things that might be considered gross or annoying on a city sidewalk suddenly tell part of an ongoing story. The growth of fungi on a fallen tree trunk tells you if the soil is remaining moist from recent storms. Mushrooms or plants that require roots in the ground provide nutrition for invasive species such as wild hogs. Spanish Moss, which isn’t actually a moss but a flowering plant, defies what you learned in school about plants needing soil to grow.

A walk through the woods at Camp Leopold is nature’s version of story-time. Instructors and nature are co-storytellers. You might not sit crisscross-applesauce on a multi-colored carpet, but you’re still drawn in by the characters, the plot, and the pictures. No two stories (walks) are ever the same.

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The SCWA Camp Leopold team greatly appreciates the scholarship offering by VLS Recovery. We look forward to Generations Group’s next trip to Camp.

For more information about Camp Leopold, visit www.WildlifeEdCenter.org and like the Camp Leopold Facebook Page, @CampLeopold.

 

 

SCWA staff members attend camp for adults (aka the 2016 Fall Camp Conference)

Recently, our two camp directors attended the 2016 Southeastern Fall Camp Conference in Greenville, SC. The conference was hosted by the American Camp Association (ACA) which works as a network of camp professionals to “enrich the lives of children, youth and adults through the camp experience.” (See ACA Mission and Vision)

Joe Gonzalez and Keller Kissam, Jr. of SCWA spent three days at the Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort and Conference Center meeting other camp professionals, discussing resolutions to industry challenges, and absorbing ideas for future projects. “It was the good kind of information overload,” Camp Leopold Director, Joe Gonzalez, said about the trip. “I’ve already got one person who said they would send some information over about a project idea.”

Camp Woodie, SCWA’s summer education program, has earned accreditation from the ACA. Camp Leopold, SCWA’s school-year program, is working on earning ACA accreditation now.

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Keller Kissam, Jr. SCWA’s Camp Woodie Director, and Joe Gonzalez, SCWA’s Camp Leopold Director, pause to snap a selfie during the 2016 Southeastern Fall Camp Conference hosted the American Camp Association in Greenville.

Camp for adults in the industry looks a bit different than camp sessions at the Wildlife Education Center (WEC). Here’s how “camp” for adults compares to SCWA education programs.

LOCATION

ACA: If a conference is hosted in a city that is new to you it can be an adventure to travel and explore a new place. If the conference is hosted in the same place year after year, you will probably have some favorite spots. It can also be fun to introduce newcomers to the best places in town.

WEC: Visiting a 410-acre education center means you probably won’t see every inch of the property but you’re sure to have some new adventures. From canoeing to capture the flag, science to shotgun practice, and time under the stars, there is always something fun to do at the WEC.

ACTIVITIES

ACA: Education professionals gather in ballrooms or meeting rooms for seminars, demonstrations, keynote presentations, and discussions. Some sessions will plan team building exercises. Almost all gatherings happen indoors.

WEC: Kids receive instruction about a skill or activity and then practice what they learned in hands-on situations. Campers go canoeing, walk through wetlands, complete an archery course, or try their hand at shooting. Groups gather around campfires for evening snacks, songs, and stories. Almost all gatherings happen outdoors.

FOOD

ACA: Many conferences will provide a few meals throughout the duration of the conference as a way to facilitate networking. These meals are often boxed lunches or sandwich/salad buffets. Since many conferences are held in a city, you will sometimes see conference attendees grabbing a bite to eat or a drink together in the evening.

WEC: A typical day at Camp Woodie or Camp Leopold will include fresh fruit, juice, plenty of water, vegetables, plenty of protein (our jumbo chicken tenders are a big hit!), maybe a sweet treat, and some type of grain/carbohydrate (french toast sticks are well liked for breakfast…yum!) Students who attend Camp Leopold often want to take the kitchen staff back to their school with them.

 

 

LEARNING

ACA: Seminars, discussion panels, and networking events might not sound like fun when compared to summer camp or school field trips but for camp professionals they can be a chance to expand knowledge, inspire creativity, and explore challenging ideas. Professionals often return from conferences energized and renewed.

WEC: Campers are always learning something while at the WEC. Even during transition times, kids are learning about nature and life. Campers often have the opportunity to obtain special certifications, learn from industry experts, and master a new skill.

FRIENDSHIP

ACA: Conferences are all about discussion, education, and networking. Camp professionals will have numerous chances to speak with experts in the field, meet staff members from other camps, and exchange ideas and business cards. You might just meet a future employee, consultant, business partner, or boss.

WEC: Summer campers often leave having made friends from other towns and will become pen-pals until the next summer. Some even grow up to be college roommates! School-year campers leave knowing more about their classmates’ interests. They might bond over their new love for the outdoors or decide to work together on their next science project.

While the settings, meals, and clientele differ, the mission of a conference and the mission of a camp for kids is pretty similar. Both experiences help people grow, learn new things, and meet new people. SCWA team members enjoyed their time in Greenville, S.C. but are happy to be back at the WEC and continue working toward the next camp program achievement.

Read about Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold’s recent attendance records in our blog post from August titled: Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold setting new records.