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For Release: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

National Archery in Schools Program Growing in New York

More Than 15,000 Students from 122 Schools around New York Participate

School districts from across New York State are invited to enroll in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), which is sponsored by DEC, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"The National Archery in the Schools Program is growing rapidly in New York," said Commissioner Martens. "This cooperative effort between conservation agencies, school systems and private organizations is a great way to bring the sport of archery to millions of students across the United States and other countries."

The program continues to grow at the national level with 1.7 million students participating in the program during the 2010-2011 school-year from New York. New York's program has reached more than 15,000 students at 122 schools from 92 school districts across the state. The program promotes student education and physical education, enabling students of all athletic abilities to participate. DEC is involved in the program to introduce young people to archery and other shooting sports, which is a common way to become interested in hunting and the outdoors.

New York held its fourth annual "virtual" tournament with 309 students from 15 schools participating for top honors this past March. A virtual tournament is where the students compete at their respective schools and send their scores to the NASP state coordinator. Within the tournaments three divisions: High School, grades 9-12; Middle School, grades 7-8; and Elementary School, grades 4-6, students compete to achieve a maximum score of 300 points.

The overall top female archer in the tournament was Alexa Denhoff from Fabius-Pompey High School in Onondaga County, with a score of 255. The top male archer in the tournament was Jay Vinson also from Fabius-Pompey High School, with a score of 283. The New York chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportspeople Helping Others Through Sharing and New York Bowhunters sponsored the tournament and have been major supporters of NASP-NY. Awards are also given out in each of the three divisions for first through fifth places. Read more about NASP and view photos of the competition by visiting the DEC web-site.

Robin Bartholomew, a physical education teacher at Cato Meridian, in Cayuga County said: "The NASP program is a very well organized and methodical approach to teaching archery to students. It helps to have an activity to offer students who are not interested or skilled in team sports. I have found that it is one sport that many of the students look forward to doing in class as well as participating outside of the school setting. Those students who enjoy it seem to quickly pick up on the skills and grow tremendously in the areas of self-confidence and esteem when participating in the program. I would have to say that NASP is right on target for many students."

Six students from Jordan Elbridge, in Onondaga County, participated in the National NASP tournament in Kentucky last year. More than 6,700 students from 34 states competed at the national tournament. Students from at least three New York schools will attend the 2012 National tournament in Kentucky later next month.

Tracey Engle, a physical education teacher at Jordan Elbridge and one of the chaperones for the six students who attended the national tournament in 2011 said: "The National Tournament was a great experience that all competitive students should strive to achieve and my students would not have had the experience if it had not been for the National Archery in Schools Program."

Scott Shawley, a physical education teacher at Washington Middle School, in Chautauqua County said: "Since its inception in New York State, NASP at Washington Middle School has evolved from being a physical education class only program to including an after school program that kids ask for throughout the entire school year. I have kids ask me when archery club will start when I see them in the summer months. The kids absolutely love archery, no matter what their age is which is rare."

DEC is seeking volunteers to assist in training physical education teachers from additional schools for the NASP. Those interested in volunteering or know of a school that would like to join the program can contact Melissa Bailey, the state program coordinator for NASP-NY, at 315-793-2515 or e-mail at mrbailey@gw.dec.state.ny.us. For more information and photos of the New York program, visit DEC's website.

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