New This Year: Camps Run from Sunday to Friday

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting online applications for its 68th Annual Summer Camp Program, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The 2015 camp season begins June 28.

“DEC’s environmental education camps have a long tradition of inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Commissioner Martens. “Outdoor recreation and education experiences help campers develop an interest in science, learning and skills that will last a lifetime. I am always gratified when I speak with a student whose career choice was inspired at a DEC camp.”

Parents may register campers only through DEC’s convenient, online registration system and pay by credit card, e-check or with a sponsor code. Fees for the 2015 camp season remain $350 per one-week session per camper. Camp dates and a link to the online registration system are posted on DEC’s website: Families without internet access should call the camp office at 518-402-8014 for information on how to register for camp alternatively.

Youth 11 through 17 years old enjoy week-long adventures in conservation education at DEC’s residential summer camps. They participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and optional hunter safety education. Campers also learn about fields, forests, streams and ponds through fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration. DEC counselors teach youth conservation techniques used by natural resource professionals, such as measuring trees and estimating wildlife populations.

New this season, camps will operate from Sunday through Friday afternoon. The closing ceremony and pick-up date and time has changed from Saturday at 8:30 a.m. to Friday at 4:30 p.m. This allows the weekly rate to remain at $350, and corresponds with the schedule of most coed camps in New York with similar ages, cost and activities.

Pack Forest will once again host an Outdoor Adventure Week July 12-17 for 14- to 17-year-old campers. This week of camp will offer opportunities for youth to hone their outdoor skills in the areas of cast fishing, fly tying and fly fishing, target shooting, safe fire arm handling, tracking, back country camping, archery, outdoor survival skills, plant identification, trapping, bird identification, outdoor photography, canoeing and kayaking.

DEC professionals including conservation officers, forest rangers, fishing educators, sportsman educators and biologists will be on hand to assist with some of the classes and to discuss environmental careers. The camper’s will have opportunities to learn outdoor skills through hands-on experiences in a safe and fun atmosphere.

Due to its popularity last year, trapper education courses will be taught by DEC-certified instructors at all four camps this season. Interested 11- through 13-year-old campers can register for Week 3 (July 12–17) at Camp Colby, Week 7 at Camp DeBruce (August 9-14), Week 8 (August 16-21) at Pack Forest and Week 7 (August 9-14) at Camp Rushford. The course is necessary to purchase a trapping license, should youth want to trap during trapping season. The trapping course at each camp will accommodate the first 25 campers who sign up for it. Visit for more information on trapping licenses in New York State.

All four environmental education camps serve children ages 11 through 13 years old: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake, Franklin County; Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County; Camp Rushford in Caneadea, Allegany County and Pack Forest in Warrensburg, Warren County. Pack Forest and Camp Rushford also host week-long Teen Ecology Workshops, which are more in-depth environmental studies programs for ages 14 through 17 years old. This year, Pack Forest will host six Teen Ecology Workshops and Camp Rushford will host two. Visit for information on the camper ages and the types of sportsman education courses offered each week.

All camps will operate for seven one-week sessions (Sunday to Friday afternoon), beginning June 28. Only Pack Forest will offer an eighth week from August 16-21.Campers may attend camp for more than one week during the summer, but will not be able to stay at camp on the Saturday night between sessions. Parents must make alternate arrangements for the intersession if two or more consecutive weeks are selected.

Sporting clubs, civic groups and environmental organizations are encouraged to sponsor one or more children for a week at camp. Groups who sponsor six paid campers will receive a scholarship to send a seventh child to camp for free. Sponsors who are paying for campers can set up their accounts immediately and provide campers’ parents with the codes so they can register their child as soon as possible. Information about becoming a sponsor is available at on DEC’s website.

For more information, visit DEC’s website at /, call 518-402-8014, visit “NYS DEC Summer Camps” on Facebook or write to DEC Camps, 4th Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-5256.

Author: Harlem Valley News