To a child, what would summer be without spending all day outside exploring the outdoors with your friends and making new ones? In our times, fewer and fewer youth are getting outside and experiencing nature. Our second free day camp of 2015, was hosted in the province’s northern capital: Prince George. Monday began with an opportunity to shoot with the Prince George Rod and Gun Club and Silver Tip Archers. The rifle portion of the morning was led by Taylor Sepergio, Daryl Sepergio, Glen Craig, Barry Luscombe, Shannon Studney, and Dan Petrisor. Shooting was a first for some of these children. Silver Tip Archers Wanda Borschawa and Garry Hornsberger led the archery portion, where participants had the opportunity to shoot arrows at targets, 3-D animals, and balloons.
Afterwards, Adrian Batho and Trevor Ford from the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations talked to the kids about wildlife and fish tracking and research. Their talk opened up a window into the life of a biologist and various careers that can take you outdoors. Sean Simmons, publisher of Anglers Atlas, led a hatchery tour and then with a short hike to Cottonwood Park for some wide-games the day ended with some fun in the sun.
Anne Hogan from the Prince George Naturalists led an invasive weed pull of Toadflax by the Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park on Tuesday at a location where the Naturalists are working to re-introduce native plants. The rest of the morning was spent with Neil Fletcher and Jason Jobin, of BCWF’s Wetlands Program, in the Hudson’s Bay Wetland in Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park where children were introduced to invertebrates and birds that visit wetlands. Later, Penni Adams from the Northwest invasive Species Council gave a talk on invasive plants and reinforced the importance of controlling their spread in our environment. The campers also had the opportunity to paint nature with Neil Fletcher from a scenic vantage point where the side channel meets the Fraser River. The day ended with a competitive scavenger hunt where kids raced to find cones, feathers, and other treasures around the park.
Wednesday began with games and drawing. After, Recycling Environmental and Action Planning Society (REAPS) led a
presentation on natural resources and what they are used for in all sorts of everyday things. The campers also discussed recycling and the importance of ensuring waste goes in the proper bins. To emphasise this, the campers competed in a potato sack race to drop items in the appropriate waste bin. Exploration Place was the next stop which was an awesome owl pellet dissection, a tour around the gallery, and the chance to pet an albino corn snake. After a quick lunch, the students got some free time and played a game of predator prey – running through the bushes searching for food and water cards. Afternoon presentations began with Daniel Eichstadter talking about Conservation Officer duties and the animals in the area. The kids had a blast showing off their knowledge of the skulls and furs of the local species. Others jumped at the chance to sit in a live bear trap. Then Dave Bakker presented from Northern Bear Aware on bear safety and knowledge. The kids learned how to set up a campsite safely in bear country, how to identify a black versus grizzly bear, and what to do if you surprise a bear in the wilderness.
Thursday was spent at Northland Motorsports Parkway where campers first got to pet furs and hear trapper Gerd Erasmus present on the trapping industry. Later that day, children had an opportunity to fish for rainbow trout at a private small lake where luck was abundant for our campers. Randy and Dustin from Wholesale Sports came to help the camp with untangling fishing lines and to teach some basics around tying lines, casting line, and proper handling of fish for catch and
release. The day ended with swimming and kayaking at the private lake.
The last day of the camp was a big day. Thanks to the generous support of the Spruce City Wildlife Association, the campers went off to Triple J Ranch for some horseback riding. Half the group built survival shelters out of branches and logs, while the other half went on a ride. The horseback ride took children through a meandering path that traversed meadows and forest with scenic views of the valley. After lunch they switched. Although there were many to choose from, the horseback riding was definitely a highlight of the week. Upon returning back into Prince George, the campers got some free prizes from BC Parks, enjoyed some celebration cupcakes and signed each other’s T-shirts so they would remember one another and the great time they spent together.
We would like to thank our presenters and supporters: Spruce City Wildlife Association, Prince George Naturalists, Prince George Rod and Gun Club, Taylor Sepergio, Daryl Sepergio, Glen Craig, Barry Luscombe, Shannon Studney, and Dan Petrisor, Silver Tip Archers, Wanda Borschawa, Garry Hornsberger, Adrian Batho, Trevor Ford, Sean Simmons, Anne Hogan, Penni Adams, Northwest Invasive Species Council, REAPS, Exploration Place, Daniel Eichstadter, Dave Bakker, Northern Bear Aware, Wholesale Sports , and Triple J Ranch.
Thank you also to our Financial Supporters who made this camp possible: Government of BC, BC Conservation Foundation, Government of Canada, Spruce City Wildlife Association, and Barnet Rifle Club