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DEC Offers A New Way To Help Support Kids Connecting With Nature


DEC Offers A New Way To Help Support Kids Connecting With Nature


A Western New York teen has become the inspiration for a new initiative that will help others attend one of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) environmental education summer camps. Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today that DEC has joined with the National Heritage Trust (NHT) to establish a summer camp scholarship fund in memory of Emily Timbrook, who attended and later volunteered at Camp Rushford in Allegany County.

Through the partnership, donations can be made to NHT, a public benefit corporation that receives and manages gifts, grants and contributions to further public conservation programs. The funds collected will be used for "camperships" - scholarships to send some of the more than 200 annual returning campers to DEC's summer camps for free. These returning campers are specially chosen for their demonstrated interest in building upon their outdoor recreation experiences and their knowledge of the state's natural resources.

"Many children today are more 'plugged in' and less connected to nature than ever before," Commissioner Grannis said. "DEC's summer environmental education camps are perfect places to introduce children and young adults to an enjoyable blend of learning and recreation. This not only helps develop a camper's environmental awareness, but also introduces them to healthy outdoor activities that can bring enjoyment for a lifetime. Through the help of NHT, the Timbrook family and private donors, we hope to provide a way for more young people to get outdoors and attend camp."

The impetus for establishing an account within NHT came from Barb and Tim Timbrook, who wanted to set up memorial scholarship in their daughter's name for returning campers to Camp Rushford.

Seventeen-year-old Emily Timbrook of Alfred Station, Allegany County, was killed tragically in a car accident in April 2009. As a camper and three-time volunteer at Camp Rushford, Emily's love of nature and understanding of conservation stewardship was nurtured and enhanced by the counselors and staff at Rushford. (A picture of Emily can be found at ftp://[URL="http://ftp.dec.ny.gov/dpae/press/EmilyTimbrook/"]ftp.dec.ny.gov/dpae/press/EmilyTimbrook/[/URL] )

"Emily's concern and love for the environment was evident," Barb Timbrook said. "She wanted to study environmental science in college and was coming back to Camp Rushford as a volunteer for the fourth year to help teach young campers how to be good stewards of the earth.

We want to honor her legacy by helping other youngsters from New York experience the joy and excitement of attending a DEC environmental education camp."

"Before Emily attended Camp Rushford, we didn't know anything about DEC camps," Tim Timbrook said. "We hope this scholarship for teenagers who want to return to camp for a second season will help spread the word to other families about how the camp program can spark an interest in a young adult to pursue a career in environmental science or natural resources."

DEC operates four residential environmental education camps around the state. The camps focus on conservation education, immersing campers in outdoor activities and games that teach the wise use of natural resources. Eight sessions, each one week long, will run from June 27 through August 22, 2010. A week at one of these exceptional camps costs just $325 per camper. Many campers are sponsored by local civic groups, garden and sportsmen clubs.

All four camps - Colby and Pack Forest in the Adirondacks, DeBruce in the Catskills, and Rushford in Western New York - serve children 12- to 14-years-old. In addition, DEC offers week-long Ecology Workshops for teens 15- to 17-years-old at Pack Forest as well as three weeks for children 12- to 14-years-old. Highly qualified staff ensure that 1,500 campers each year enjoy their week-long outdoor adventure, whether in camp or on an overnight hiking or canoe trip. For those who are interested and with prior permission from parents or guardians, hunter safety training is available from certified sportsman education instructors.

Those who wish to make a donation to the NHT to help send a youngster to camp may do so by sending a check to NHT Camps, c/o Director of Management and Budget Services, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-5010. Those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Emily Timbrook, can write "Emily" in the memo section of the check. You can visit Error - NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation for a brief description of the Natural Heritage Trust. NHT is tax exempt pursuant to Section 170(b) of the Internal Revenue Code and has been designated a 501(c)(3) corporation. The Trust will send out acknowledgment letters to donors.

Information and detailed program descriptions of the environmental education camps are available at www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html or by writing to NYSDEC Camps, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4500. You may also e-mail the camps at [email protected] or call 518-402-8014. Registration starts in early February.

NYSDEC Camps (518) 402-8014 or [email protected]

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