The second annual Delta State University Spring Outdoor Youth Camp will take place March 11-14 and continue to offer children ages 9-11 opportunities to hunt and fish while also introducing a new activity: nature photography.
“We’re excited to team again with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and to add the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area as a new partner for this fun-filled, jam-packed outdoors day camp for boys and girls,” said founder/director Dr. AHM Ali Reza, associate professor of biology and environmental sciences at Delta State and coordinator of the wildlife management program. “We’re also excited that our diverse roster now includes the pleasure and importance of nature photography.”
The camp educates and trains the next generation to appreciate the outdoors while encouraging them to hunt and fish responsibly. Participants practice wildlife and fish identification, bird watching, water quality analysis, casting fishing rods, fishing with live bait, cleaning fish, target shooting, tracking animals through radio telemetry, and trekking with compass and GPS. Attendees also learn about ecology, conservation, and ecosystems; hunting and fishing regulations; and personal safety.
Emily Havens, executive director of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, said that the inaugural camp “was an awesome week for my two girls.” Dana George from Delta State’s Athletics Department called that session “a wonderful experience” for her two kids. And Cleveland resident Carlee Calderon said her son and daughter “absolutely loved this camp.”
They did so, Reza explained, because “we combined scientific aspects of outdoor recreation with fun activities.”
Most sessions occur on the Delta State campus. There also will be outings to Bear Pen Park in Cleveland, Dahomey National Wildlife Refuge in Boyle, and Delta State’s Center for Science and Environmental Education in Merigold. Nathan Aycock, a fisheries biologist with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, is the assistant director of the camp—and one of several experts in the field to join Reza and Delta State biology professors as guides.
There are spots for 30 youth. The fee is $200 and must be paid by March 4. Lunch and snacks are provided. Campers will receive giveaways including fishing rods, a pair of binoculars, a pictorial guide on wildlife and fish, and a themed T-shirt. Two full scholarships are available; to be considered, applicants must answer a few questions and write an essay.
The DSU Spring Outdoor Youth Camp 2019 is organized by the Division of Math and Sciences of Delta State; the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks; and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area.