Friday, August 5, 2011

Nebraska Youth Range Camp 2011

By Shelly Taylor, Director of the Nebraska Range Camp

The Nebraska SRM Section’s 48th Annual Youth Range Camp was held June 13 – 17, 2011 at the Nebraska State 4-H Camp, located in the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. Range Camp is designed to be a blend of educational, team-building, and recreational activities, with the primary emphasis being on range, livestock, and ranch management. Each Camper received a notebook of reference materials as well as priceless experience coming from both the classroom and the field. Thirty-nine high school students from across Nebraska and eastern Colorado participated in this weeklong educational activity. This premier Section Activity is successful because of the long-term support we have from a wide array of professionals involved in rangeland management.
Ranch Tour at the Reed Hamilton Ranch

Nine adults contributed a week of their time to be crew leaders and Camp support. Crew Bosses included: Ben Beckman (UNL Graduate); Daryl Cisney (Board of Educational Lands and Funds); Karla Jenkins (UNL Assistant Professor and Specialist); Justin Lemmer (Twin Platte NRD Range Technician); Jess Milby (UNL Graduate Student); Casey Lancaster, Lisa McMillan, Jeff Nichols, and Shelly Taylor all of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Shelly served as Director for the Camp.

The financial support of sponsoring ranches is an essential part of Range Camp’s success. Many of these ranches have been supporting this program through ranch crew sponsorship for more than 35 years. Currently, 11 Nebraska Ranches support Range Camp.

Livestock Judging Clinic
Range site portion of the Range Judging contest

Additionally, 13 of Nebraska’s most respected and dedicated leaders, teachers, and professionals from various agencies, colleges, and universities supported Range Camp by leading tours and providing presentations on range related information. They represented: a local ranch, Chadron State College, West Holt High School, Mitchell High School, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Scottsbluff High School, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the US Forest Service.

We provide the top ranch crew or team awards annually. This year’s winning ranch crew was the Steerhead Crew – Kelly Ranch LLC. The Crew Boss or team leader was Justin Lemmer.

We work hard, but we play hard too!

The top individuals are scored on plant identification, range site identification, ranch planning, a comprehensive range exam, notebooks and attitudes. These Campers are offered the opportunity to represent Nebraska at the International SRM Meeting by competing in a range related presentation contest at our Annual Nebraska Section SRM Meeting.

The top two first year campers received belt buckles. The top returning Camper received a plaque that includes the ranch sponsors brands and the SRM medallion. Top First Year Campers received the Weeds of the Great Plains book. Top Returning Campers received the Weeds of the West. There are also awards for placing high on Range Sites, Plant Identification, and the Comprehensive Exam. Those individuals were awarded the Grassland Plants of South Dakota book.

2011 Top First Year Campers
The Sandhills Task Force and the Nebraska Grazing Lands Coalition continue to be invaluable sponsors and supporters of our Camp.

The staff or Crew Bosses unanimously decided to offer the opportunity to represent the Nebraska SRM Section at the Spokane, Washington International SRM Meeting to all Campers. We had another year of outstanding young people; our future in natural resources continues to be bright!

Tour of prescribed burn on Forest Service property
The Nebraska Youth Range Camp has a new Facebook page where you can view photos from this year’s Range Camp, find information about upcoming Range Camps and other associated events, and network with past Campers and supporters. Please “Like” us so you can receive our updates!

Range Camp is one of the Nebraska SRM Section’s most important annual activities. Continued success is dependent upon the support, dedication, and active involvement of Section Members. The support of Nebraska ranchers, professionals, and other sponsoring organizations is also essential for a successful Camp. The 2012 Nebraska Youth Range Camp is scheduled for June 11-15, 2012. This will be our 49th Range Camp. Additional information on Range Camp is available by contacting current Director, Shelly Taylor, by visiting the Nebraska SRM website, or by “Liking” the Nebraska Youth Range Camp page on Facebook.

The whole crew

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