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Workshop Descriptions For 14-17 Year Olds

At Pack Forest

The DEC's Teen Ecology Workshop program consists of a variety of workshops and activities conducted within the framework of an outdoor experience designed to help the participants become more aware of the environment around them and, perhaps, stimulate their desire to participate in the sound management of our natural resources and/or pursue further studies in related fields. The activities and workshops are conducted outdoors as a part of a week long experience that will include out-of-camp canoeing and backpacking.

Group Dynamics

Group dynamics is a focal point in the Teen Ecology Workshop. Throughout the week, DEC Camp Staff lead campers through a series of activities which are designed to encourage them to interact, communicate and cooperate with one another. The campers will be provided with a number of challenge-type situations where they must work together to find solutions. Campers learn that they must depend on one another to accomplish certain goals and at the same time they may discover some of their own personal strengths and abilities. The need to work with others of differing viewpoints and values is seen as critical to our success in dealing with environmental issues both locally and globally.

To enhance the campers' experience and to provide ample opportunities for group building and communication, cooperation and camaraderie the campers will participate in an out-of-camp trip by either foot or canoe. Along the way as they explore the beauty of New York's landscapes, daily group activities will include food preparation, campsite location, journal writing, as well as specific workshops noted below.

General Ecology

After a brief overview of the fundamental ecological principles, campers will spend the remainder of the week in pursuit of a greater understanding of these principles as they relate directly to environmental issues and potential solutions to Earth's complex problems. This activity-oriented workshop will lay the foundation for further pursuits including:

Freshwater Ecosystem

Pack campers may study in depth an aquatic ecosystem such as a river, stream, pond, bog or lake. Water quality, biodiversity, cultural pressures (economic, recreational and energy-related) are just some of the issues that may be addressed as the campers get their "feet wet" in the freshwater environment.campers are encouraged to pack shoes that may get wet as campers will be entering the water for sampling purposes.

Forest Management Topics

Surrounded by acres and acres of State forest land, campers may venture out into the woods to investigate the many interrelationships between the living things that comprise the forest. Sampling techniques will be used to survey the types of trees and other plants growing in the forests. Campers may investigate the effect of elevation on tree growth along with learning some of the techniques of the professional forester.

Wildlife Workshop

The birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians of New York State will be the focal point of this workshop. Specifically, the habitat, behavior and adaptations of some of the common and not-so-common wildlife species in New York will be investigated through direct observations of animal tracks and traces. The role of wildlife in the State of New York and the manner in which humans have both positively and negatively affected wildlife will be explored.

Environmental Issues for the 21st Century

As leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, campers do hold the future in their hands. Contemporary environmental issues will be explored openly and objectively with possible solutions at the governmental and personal level considered. Possible issues to be addressed may include: acid rain, ozone depletion, global warming, among others.

Additional Activities

The week of camp for the Teen Ecology Workshop camper is filled with many additional activities including workshops in low impact camping and trail maintenance techniques, participation in conservation projects, skills development in such possible areas as fly tying and fly fishing, archery, canoeing, orienteering, and the like. Based on interest, the camper may pursue and hone their skills in the identification of insects, wildflowers, birds, constellations, rocks and minerals. The Shooting Sports program at Pack Forest is offered to students who completed Hunter Safety in the past and wish to improve their skills. Trained instructors and Environmental Conservation Officers teach the course. And of course the week is filled with swimming, hiking, new friends, new games and, perhaps, a new way of seeing one's self in relationship to our Earth.


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