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.

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Camp Woodie youth hunts offer fellowship and family fun

Camp Woodie youth hunts offer fellowship and family fun

WILDLIFE EDUCATION CENTER – If the size of a smile indicates success, then the first two youth hunts of the season surpassed expectations. Approximately 30 senior campers from the summer 2016 camp season visited Camp Woodie on September 10 or 17 for youth dove hunts.

Almost as many counselors as campers returned as mentors for the event. Campers were able to show their parents the skills they learned or refined during their week at Camp Woodie. “I think every youth took home a bird. Everyone seemed to have a good time,” Assistant Camp Director Katie Childress said when asked about the success of the event.

If you go dove hunting again and want a new recipe to try, our friend The Sporting Chef, has a great spicy dove on tomato option. We haven’t tested it but the description sounds delicious – “This appetizer preparation is spicy, cool, cheesy and juicy – all in the same bite.”

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the hunts. Search “Camp Woodie” on Facebook to see the complete photo gallery.

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Senior campers are always invited back for a youth dove or duck hunt. For details on the youth hunt program, e-mail campwoodie@scwa.org.

More information about Camp Woodie, SCWA’s summer, youth education program, is available at www.WildlifeEdCenter.org.

In the kitchen – Spicy Dove on Tomato

In the kitchen – Spicy Dove on Tomato

We recently hosted the first youth hunts of the season (more on that in our September 20 blog post). Since the events were dove hunts, we asked our friend The Sporting Chef about sharing one of his recipes with you.

Scott, The Sporting Chef, describes his spicy dove on tomato dish as “spicy, cool, cheesy and juicy – all in the same bite,” and from the recipe it certainly sounds that way. The recipe serves four, has six ingredients, and we estimate at least half an hour of cook time (especially for less experienced cooks) once you begin.

See and print the full recipe here. If you give it a go, be sure to tag Camp Woodie’s Instagram account (@campwoodie) in a post.

Good luck in the kitchen!

P.S. See more SCWA recipe choices from The Sporting Chef here.

 

 

PalmettoPride and Camp Leopold team up to teach kids about litter

Columbia, SC – PalmettoPride, South Carolina’s anti-litter organization, and Camp Leopold, South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s (SCWA) Environmental Education Program, have teamed up to teach children about the effects of litter in our environment.

Camp Leopold engages students grades three through seven in hands-on learning on a 410-acre outdoor classroom adjacent to Lake Marion. Participating schools choose from environmental subjects such as agriculture, ecosystems, STEM education, human impact and team work. The curriculum meets state education standards and is taught by wildlife and biologist specialists.

PalmettoPride - Camp Leopold - SCWA Partnership Announcement

PalmettoPride has sponsored the Human Impact class for the 2016-2017 school year. This partnership affords PalmettoPride a unique opportunity to teach children via video presentation about the effects of litter in our natural areas as well as encourage children to take their newfound knowledge back into their home communities.

Leopold Logo for Vector.png“With schools being more and more challenged to excel at testing, environmental education activities typically come from passionate teachers,” said Sarah Lyles, Executive Director for PalmettoPride. “Having a captive and engaged audience is priceless when it comes to changing mindsets and social habits.”

“We’re excited to partner with PalmettoPride, another South Carolina non-profit, as we help educate the next generation,” said Ed Paul, Director of Education Program Sales & Marketing for SCWA. PalmettoPride Logo

Camp Leopold expects to introduce at least 7,000 students to outdoor education and PalmettoPride’s mission this school year during camp orientation.

For more information on Camp Leopold or to book a field trip, contact Camp Leopold Director Joe Gonzalez via email: joe@scwa.org.

Upcoming Events – September 2016

Who doesn’t love a good event? Good food, good music, good cause. Sounds, well, good right?

We list all of our fundraising events on our main website but each month, we plan to provide details on all upcoming SCWA events on our blog.

September events include

*Due to the threat of inclement weather, the event in Hardeeville has been rescheduled for October 28. 

  • Thursday – 09/08/16 – Greater Piedmont Conservation Dinner & Auction*
    • Location: Events at Manchester, Rock Hill, SC
    • Time: Doors open 6 p.m.
    • Tickets: Visit the Greater Piedmont chapter page for details
  • Saturday – 09/10/16 – Youth Dove Hunt
    • Participants must have attended Camp Woodie during the summer 2016 season.
      • All spots filled
  • Thursday – 09/15/16 – Greenville Conservation Dinner & Auction*
    • Location: St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Greenville, SC
    • Time: Doors open 6 p.m.
    • Tickets: Visit the Greenville chapter page for details
  • Saturday – 09/17/16 – Youth Dove Hunt
    • Participants must have attended Camp Woodie during the summer 2016 season.
      • Spaces still available and filling quickly. E-mail campwoodie@scwa.org for details.
  • Saturday – 09/24/16 – Clarendon Conservation Dinner & Auction*
    • Location: The Cypress Center, Manning, SC
    • Time: Doors open 6 p.m.
    • Tickets: Visit the Clarendon chapter page for details
  • Saturday – 09/24/16 – Berkeley Conservation Dinner & Auction*
    • Location: The Shrine Club, Moncks Corner, SC
    • Time: Doors open 6 p.m.
    • Tickets: Visit the Berkeley chapter page for details
  • Friday – 09/30/16 – Anderson Conservation Dinner & Auction*
    • Location: Anderson Civic Center, Anderson, SC
    • Time: Doors open 6 p.m.
    • Tickets: Visit the Anderson chapter page for details

Camp Leopold has sessions scheduled throughout September but has some available dates for booking. To bring your students to our 410-acre outdoor classroom, e-mail camp director, Joe Gonzalez: joe@scwa.org.

*Funds raised from conservation dinners & auctions support South Carolina Waterfowl Association’s education programs, Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold.

We hope to see you soon!

Clemson researchers begin aerial counts of waterfowl and waterbirds

Jonathan Veit, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences

GEORGETOWN — Scientists from Clemson University’s James C. Kennedy Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation Center will begin aerial counts of waterfowl and waterbirds in mid-September.

The bird counts will be conducted from Murrells Inlet to the South Carolina-Georgia coastal border and over the Cooper River and Santee Lake systems, and will continue in November through March. Fixed-wing aircraft will fly predetermined lines from the coast inland at altitudes of 150 to 200 feet.  A survey biologist will count all waterbirds that occur within 165 yards of the aircraft. The flights will not take place over densely human populated areas.

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The study will include nine regions from Murrells Inlet to Savannah, Georgia, and the Cooper River and Santee Lakes System.

“These flights minimally disturb waterbirds because the plane will only make a single pass over wetlands during the survey months,” said Rick Kaminski, Kennedy Center director. “The surveys will estimate waterfowl abundance and diversity and plot their distributions among seasons and years.”

Kaminski and researchers at Mississippi State University developed the waterfowl and waterbird counting method in the early 2000s, but this is the first time the method has been used in South Carolina and the Atlantic Flyway along the coast and inland.

Each individual or group of  waterbirds detected within the survey area will be recorded with GPS. The researchers will then produce maps showing densities of birds by habitat type. This information will be valuable for waterfowl hunters and other conservationists.

“The goal of the project is to estimate numbers and distributions of waterbirds so we can assess habitat use and inform future habitat conservation in the face of climate change, sea-level rise and human development. While not a complete count, the survey  produces results that are statistically sound and representative of coastal and inland landscapes,” said Molly Kneece, survey biologist and Kennedy Center research specialist.

AerialSurvey

The study will include nine regions from Murrells Inlet to Savannah, Georgia, and the Cooper River and Santee Lakes System.

Clemson researchers are collaborating with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks to display survey results  on SCDNR’s website.

The survey project is sponsored by an array of private and public entities, including the Kennedy Center, South Carolina Waterfowl Association (SCWA), U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, SCDNR, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Inc., and Nemours Wildlife Foundation.

 

Article, pictures, and graphics published with permission from Clemson University representative. Original article published to Clemson Newsstand website on August 4, 2016.

Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold Setting New Records

Camp Woodie and Camp Leopold Setting New Records

Commentary by David J. Wielicki – SCWA Executive Director

The 2016 Camp Woodie summer session set an attendance record with 986 campers. Thanks to support from local chapters, SCWA members, and corporate sponsors, we were able to provide 202 scholarships for youth to attend Camp Woodie.

I would like to extend a special thanks to the SCWA Education Program Team who did an outstanding job running Camp Woodie. The Camp Woodie Team was led by second year Camp Woodie Director, Justin Grider, Assistant Director Keller Kissam, Jr., lead shooting instructor Katie Childress and a phenomenal team of counselors, expert instructors, and facility support staff. Past Camp Woodie Director, Ed Paul, who is now our Director of Sales and Marketing for Education Programs and Joe Gonzalez, Camp Leopold Director, were also a big part of Camp Woodie’s success this summer.

We are both saddened and excited to report Justin Grider, Camp Woodie Director, has taken a new position in his home state of Alabama. Justin will be helping to lead youth conservation education efforts for the Alabama Department of Natural Resources. Everyone will miss Justin and his wife Hannah but we are comforted by the fact they will become leaders in youth conservation education in their home state. As Justin begins this new position, he is helping SCWA fulfill part of the SCWA Wildlife Education Center mission which is to train education professionals who will have an impact on conservation education across the country.

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SCWA recognized Justin Grider’s excellent work as Camp Woodie Director at the August board meeting.

While employed at SCWA, Justin did an outstanding job mentoring Keller Kissam, Jr. and Katie Childress. Keller has accepted the position of Camp Woodie Director while Katie Childress has accepted the position of Assistant Camp Director. Keller has served as a camp counselor for two summers and as the Assistant Camp Director this past summer. Keller will work part-time until he completes his degree from Clemson University in early May 2017. Katie Childress is a Clemson graduate with a major in Environmental and Natural Resources and a minor in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. Katie started her full-time position on August 15, 2016. Justin Grider will continue to work with Keller and Katie over the next year to assist with the interviewing and hiring of camp counselors, counselor training, and the maintenance of American Camping Association certification standards. Over the next eight months, Katie will handle all Camp Woodie calls, camp registrations, and inquiries about the summer 2017 session. Katie, with assistance from Ed Paul and Jonathan Patrick, will handle all youth hunting programs.

 

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Keller Kissam, Jr (left) with a camper and fellow counselor Carter White (right).
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Katie Childress (left) with fellow counselor Brynne Baxley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a supporter of SCWA, you can be proud of the fact that your Association employs a highly skilled team of wildlife education experts who are delivering quality conservation education programs. The SCWA Education Program Team will continue to improve the quality and impact of the nation’s largest wildlife conservation camp program. In the coming year, we look forward to breaking another Camp Woodie attendance record while doubling the number of camper days of our school-year program, Camp Leopold. Read about the first Camp Leopold session of the 2016-2017 school year in our August 24th blog post.

Your support is critical to the success of these programs and is greatly appreciated.