LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – Looking for a way to spend part of your summer and learn something about conservation in The Natural State? The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Youth Conservation Institute just may be the answer.
According to AGFC Regional Education Coordinator Laura Rogers, the program is a competitive, merit-based, week-long journey into Arkansas's conservation story. "It serves as a springboard for conservation-minded teens who want to make an impact on the community in which they live," Rogers said.
"The three primary goals of the program are management, education and impact," she added.
Students who are at least sixteen years old and have completed their junior year in high school are eligible for the program. Once selected, 30 students will embark on a trip around the state – camping and enjoying nature along the way. "It's a way to learn why we do what we do, how we educate the public through our programming, and how their own actions affect our wildlife resources," Rogers explained.
The program will be held July 11-18 and will include educational, informational and recreational lessons in conservation at the following locations:
• Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center and Wildlife Management Area - Columbus.
• Cane Creek State Park – Star City
• Brett Morgan Halowell Reservoir-Bayou Meto WMA
• Mississippi River State Park – Marianna
• Forest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center – Jonesboro
• Fred Berry Conservation Education Center on Crooked Creek – Yellville
• Ponca Elk Education Center – Ponca
• Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center – Ft. Smith
• Mount Magazine State Park – Paris
• AGFC Enforcement Training Center, Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area and trail, Camp
Robinson Special Use Area, and Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range –
• AGFC headquarters – Little Rock
After visiting these locations, and participating in conservation studies and activities across the state, students will observe a meeting of the AGFC to see how conservation policy comes together, Rogers says. "They will then be challenged to return to their own communities to develop and carry out a conservation project of their own. Each project will be evaluated based on the level of potential impact, and the student whose project scores the highest will be awarded a scholarship," she said.
Applicants must be Arkansas residents attending an Arkansas high school or equivalent private school or home school. They must be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid fishing license at the time of application, and have just completed their junior year with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
Selections are based purely on merit, without regard to race, sex, religion, age, color, national origin, or disability. Applications must be completed and submitted by the deadline of April 30, 2013. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Successful applicants will be notified no later than May 30, 2013. To apply for the program go to:http://www.agfc.com/education/Pages/EducationProgramsyci.aspx.