Forestry Camp Teaches Teens What It’s Like To Work In The Forest

Appomattox, VA – For sixty four years, the Holiday Lake Forestry Camp has been providing kids the opportunity to learn about forestry and natural resources. And the camp experience provides more than just hands on learning, according to Ellen Powell. She’s the Conservation Education Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“Well I think a lot of them come not prepared for being outdoors all day even though we tell them they’re going to be” says Powell. “There are so many kids who are used to having cell phones and video games and all those things available all the time. And I think they’re surprised that they don’t need those things during the week. They really do meet a lot of people and have a lot of fun just from a social aspect.”

The Holiday Lake Forestry Camp is held at the Holiday Lake 4 H center in the Appomattox – Buckingham State Forest. It’s June 13th through the 18th. It’s an out in the field type of camp where the kids spend a lot of time in the woods.

“They have a lot of what we call core classes each day” she says. “They cover things like tree identification, forest measurements, forest ecology and management, wildlife management, environmental protection, forest reproduction. We’re going to try to throw in a little bit of GPS skills this year.”

Campers must be Virginia residents, 13 to 16 years old and have an interest in natural resources. They must be nominated by an adult, who is not related to them. Nominations are due by April 8.

“We really look at from our agency standpoint as a way to our future natural resource professionals” she says. “We try to give them a really good exposure that sort of prepares them for what they would be doing if they go into a forestry or natural resources program in college, and gives them an idea of what real professionals do in the field.”

The camp has between 60 and 80 campers attending each year. It’s a week long residential camp and the cost is $75.

“We’re able to keep it really affordable for the campers because we get so much support from wonderful forest industry people, forestry consultants, the soil and water conservation district, and lots of other businesses and individuals and organizations that donate a lot of money so that it doesn’t cost the campers very much to attend.”

For more information or to make a nomination for the Holiday Lake Forestry Camp, call Ellen Powell at 434-220-9083. Or you can visit the Virginia Department of Forestry website at

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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