Monday, June 29, 2015

MDC: Girls discover nature at Camp SEMO

Campers walk up the trail with their “guns” pointed in a safe direction. This was part of a hunting simulation instructed by conservation agents. The campers engaged a landowner to ask for permission to hunt on private land, walked safely with their firearms and completed several stations where they had to make decisions based on their hunter education experience. (Photo by Candice Davis)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Twenty-two girls from across southeast Missouri took part in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Girls Camp this week at Camp SEMO at Wappapello Lake. According to the camp organizer, Conservation Agent Christa Cox, the camp was a free, three-day, two-night experience aimed at introducing girls ages 11 to 15 to outdoor skills in a supportive learning environment.
Cox said girls attended from across the region, coming from Jackson, Caruthersville, Lounds, East Prairie, Poplar Bluff and Greenville.
“We led the girls in outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing and hunter education so when they leave they’ll have the skills and confidence to explore our diverse landscape on their own and with their families,” Cox said.
Campers spent three fun-filled days learning by participating in hands-on outdoor skills, led by conservation professionals. Activities included hunter education, firearms safety and target shooting, tree stand safety, archery, walking through a safety trail, canoeing, orienteering, fishing, duck decoy and fishing lure crafting.
“The girls learned every step of these processes, like how to identify the fish they caught, how to cast and tie knots,” Cox said.
“They also had the opportunity to sample wild game at supper time, such as venison, wild turkey and catfish,” Cox said. “After experiencing the fun of the catch and the reward at dinner time, I have no doubt they’ll want to head back outside for more.”
Cox said the Discover Nature Girls Camp is right in line with the Department’s goal to help people discover nature.
“Now these campers are equipped to discover nature on their own for years to come,” Cox said.
Each year these camps are limited to 40 girls, who are selected through a first come, first served application process. For more on other opportunities to discover nature, go online tomdc.mo.gov.