Thursday, June 07, 2007

6th Graders, Bears and Camp

What do these three things have in common? Why Camp ‘D’ of course. For over 50 years the sixth grade class at Omak middle school has spent a week at Camp Disautel in the forests of the Colville Reservation. For the first time the 6th graders at the Paschal Sherman Indian School attended the camp.

It’s not all fun and games. They spend a lot of time attending seminars to learn about stewardship of the environment. Issues explored include water conservation, soil management, wilderness safety and survival skills, creating a ‘Leave No Trace’ camp and ‘yuk’- noxious weeds. Last but not least they learn about bears of the North Cascade Ecosystem.

Bears use to be common visitors at the camp before attention was placed on removing garbage daily. There were some pretty exciting moments when bears walked thru the camp to raid the lunch leftovers.

Virginia Hammer involved all the kids in a skit to show how ‘not’ to set up a camp in the woods. She is a back country ranger for the Okanogan National Forrest. One student dressed as a bear and raided the campsite at night. The campers wished they had not left food in their tent.

Many past 6th graders who are now adults remember Camp ‘D’ as one of the highlights of their school experiences. Many thanks to Randy Langseth and the other teachers for inviting GBOP to this year’s camp.