NAU's Junior Forester Academy expands to overnight camp
Northern Arizona University's summer youth program, the Junior Forester Academy, has been expanded to an overnight camp and will now include younger campers — 10 to 16. A Senior Academy also will be offered for returning campers.

The camp has grown as a result of parents' responses to last summer's offering, said Cheryl Miller, director of the academy. "My son was in the third session of the 2004 Junior Forester Academy," one parent wrote. "I cannot explain how much he loved the camp and the counselors. His face continues to light up when he talks to family and friends about the camp."

The academy "connects kids to the forest and the natural world that surrounds them so they can learn and teach others about good stewardship, land ethics and forest health," Miller said. "The most important emphasis of the curriculum is to have fun while learning in the forest. We take special care to engage every child in the wonder and beauty of nature. Campers will enjoy hiking, nature-based art projects and making new friends."

Campers also will learn about forest science, restoration, wildfire risk and prevention, sustainable wood harvesting, wildlife, American Indian culture, ecological sustainability, team building and community service.

Camp counselors are NAU graduate and undergraduate students from forestry, environmental science, parks and recreation management and education. "There will be at least one counselor for every six campers,"Miller said.

The Junior Foresters also will have the opportunity to interact with natural resource professionals. Mike Wagner, NAU Regents' Professor in Forestry, said because forest health is "a big issue, a statewide issue and a long-term issue," it is important to reach youth through a program like the Junior Forester Academy.

The four one-week overnight camp sessions are June 13-17, June 20-24, June 28-July 1 and July 4-8. Tuition is $650 per week and includes healthy meals, camp T-shirt, and activities. Scholarships are also available.

This year the academy will be offering a senior program for last year's graduates. New topic areas include the NAU Ropes Course, forest insects, community building, Leave No Trace land ethics and aquatic life.

For information about the Junior and Senior Forester Academy, visit http://www.for.nau.edu/ or contact Cheryl Miller, (928) 523-6727 or Cheryl.Miller@nau.edu.