Next week upcoming sophomore, junior and senior high school students from across Kansas will come together to experience “Range Camp.” Kansas Range Camp is slightly different than other summer camps.
Next week upcoming sophomore, junior and senior high school students from across Kansas will come together to experience “Range Camp.” Kansas Range Camp is slightly different than other summer camps.Its focus is solely hands-on education focused on rangeland plants, livestock and wildlife. Campers are taught in depth material on range plant identification, plant growth, stocking rate determination, livestock nutrition, rangeland wildlife management, water quality, and much, much more. They are separated into groups and are given a real life ranching scenario they then use their new knowledge to solve. They also will be given a written test and asked to identify up to 50 native plants. This camp sounds like work, right? Well it is, but it provides real tools to students who are strongly considering ranching or range science as their future career. Often as producers, we realize some changes are necessary to protect the environment, but these changes don’t usually improve the financial bottom line in the short run. So if you were only going to be ranching for the next 5 to 10 years, you might not see the benefit of changes. These youth, however, will be ranching for the next 40 to 60 years and will benefit. All work and no play isn’t fun; therefore, swimming, canoeing, fishing and hiking also are offered. The Society for Range Management sponsors the event, and personnel from NRCS and K-State Research and Extension provide the instruction. Many of the youth have their tuition paid for by their local conservation districts and Farm Bureau Associations. This is my second year helping with the camp, but it is the 47th year anniversary of the camp. Anyone interested in attending next year should contact their local extension office or conservation office. Jonie James is Harvey County Extension agent, agriculture.