Colby, DeBruce, Rushford, and Pack Forest
Why Choose a DEC Camp?
DEC camps combine environmental education, sportsman education and outdoor fun.
DEC camps instill a life-long passion for nature and
stewardship of natural resources.
- We use a fun, hands-on approach to teach about the environment.
- You'll learn outdoor skills as well as the essentials of backpacking, camping and canoeing.
- You'll come away with a life-long passion for nature and a dedication to stewardship of our natural resources.
What's it like at an environmental ed camp?
Campers study streams and what
lives in them.
You'll explore New York's diverse habitats, and learn how human activities affect the environment. Campers solve challenges, learn environmental concepts, practice outdoor skills and spend the week immersed in nature.
All of the camps offer sportsman education classes, including hunting and archery. The Pack Forest camp also offers shooting sports for the 14 to 17 year-olds
See a typical week's schedule for Camps Colby, DeBruce and Rushford
See the Pack Forest weekly schedule
2015 camp schedules and availability
Camper registration begins January 21 at 10 AM.
A camp session runs Sunday through Friday. Campers may attend as many sessions as they wish, subject to availability. Check current availability at all four camps.
Camp counselors have college-
level training in environmental
sciences or education.
About our camp counselors
Our counselors are well-educated and committed to providing a great experience for all campers. All environmental education camp counselors have at least two years of college in natural or biological sciences, natural resource conservation, environmental education or primary and secondary education. Our counselors are all certified in First Aid and CPR/AED and have had background checks performed on them.
Cost and Sponsorships
DEC camp costs $350 per camper, per week. Many campers are sponsored by local conservation organizations, hunting and fishing clubs and community groups. Talk with organizations in your area to find out if they offer sponsorships, and how to receive one. Click on the "register button" to use our online system and pick the week that's best for your child.
Help support DEC Camps
You can now donate online to help support the camps program. Donations may also be made in memory of loved ones. Funds raised for camperships help underwrite the costs for youth that otherwise would be unable to attend.
The camp donations are handled by the NHT (Natural Heritage Trust). It is a 501 (c) (3) charitable trust created to receive and administer gifts in support of parks, land and water conservation and outdoor recreation in New York State. The NHT works with DEC to administer and raise private funds for the camp program. Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. If you'd like to support DEC's environmental education camps, click on the image at left to make a donation.
Learn more about each camp
Visit DEC's Summer Camps on Facebook!
Follow the links below to learn more about each camp. Campers must be the minimum age by December 1st of 2015 to attend.
- Camp Colby (11 to 13 year-olds) in Franklin County, next to the Adirondack Forest Preserve
- Camp DeBruce (11 to 13 year-olds) in the southern Catskills
- Camp Rushford (11 to 13 and 14 to 17 year-olds) in Allegany County
- Camp Pack Forest (11 to 13 and 14 to 17 year-olds) in the southern Adirondacks
Click on the Play button to view.
Watch a clip about DEC's summer camps on DEC TV.
Sign up for camp updates!
Campers, parents and sponsors can sign up to receive periodic emails from camp staff.
To sign up for email updates, first use this link to, subscribe to GovDelivery by entering your e-mail address. On the "Quick Subscription" page go to the "Education and Outdoor Skills" category and check the box next to "Summer Camps." You will receive a welcome email from DEC confirming your subscription(s).
More about Summer Camps:
- Camp Colby - This camp is located on the western shore of Lake Colby, just outside the Village of Saranac Lake.
- Camp DeBruce - This camp is located in the Catskills, in Sullivan County about eight miles east of Livingston Manor, NY.
- Camp Rushford - This camp is located on the Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area in Allegany County about two miles southwest of Rushford Lake.
- Pack Forest - Located in the southern Adirondacks, this camp is open to campers age 11 to 17 and is DEC's newest camp.
- Camp Weeks and Availability - A listing of open and closed weeks for the environmental education camps.
- How to Register for Camp - A how-to for parents to send their child to camp, including applications and deadlines.
- Information for Camp Attendees - Forms, descriptions, and general information for youth attending Camp Colby, DeBruce, Rushford, and Pack Forest.
- FAQ's about DEC Camp - FAQ's for the DEC Environmental Education Summer Camps.
- Sportsman Education at Camp - A decription of the Sportsman Education Classes offered at the DEC summer camps
- Sponsoring Youth to Camp - Steps for an organization sponsoring youth to the environmental education camps.
- Donating in Memory of a Loved One - how you can donate to send a kid to camp
- Employment at Education Camps - Staff positions available at the environmental education camps.