Camp Aims to Inspire Next Generation of Conservation Champions

Students Standing in Corn Field
Students surveying in farm field

Twelve Wake County teens are joining more than 100 high school students from around the state in a summer conservation camp in Raleigh this week, hopefully inspiring them to pursue careers focused on protecting our areas farms, forests, waterways and wildlife. Not only are the students learning hands-on lessons from natural resource professionals, but they’re getting to experience college life by attending lectures, participating in labs, and staying overnight at North Carolina State University through Friday.

“With 62 new people moving to Wake County every day, our drinking water resources, our farmland and wildlife and forests are under more pressure than ever, so we need to do what we can to create the next generation of conservation-minded residents,” said Sig Hutchinson, Chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “We are so excited that Wake County and its partners are sponsoring more students this summer than ever before!”

Thanks in part to scholarships from the
Wake Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors and the Friends of Wake Soil and Water Conservation District, the 12 students are attending this 2022 Resource Conservation Workshop, as well as earning the chance to compete for college scholarships and cash awards.

The twelve Wake County students attending are:

  • Abinaya “Abi” Lakshminathan, rising senior at Panther Creek High School in Cary;
  • Alayna “Laynie” McCarthy, rising junior at Apex Friendship High School in Apex;
  • Amarion Singletary, rising junior at Garner Magnet High School in Garner;
  • Catherine Wen, rising senior at Raleigh Charter High School in Raleigh;
  • David Bass, rising senior at Green Hope High School in Cary;
  • Dylan Medlin, rising junior at Wake Forest High School in Wake Forest;
  • Erin Starbuck, rising senior at Raleigh Charter High School in Raleigh;
  • Grace Niesel, rising senior at Rolesville High School in Rolesville;
  • Isabella “Izzy” Wagner, rising sophomore at Apex Friendship High School in Apex;
  • Nora “Nick” Reston, rising senior at Millbrook Magnet High School in Raleigh;
  • Piper Conley, rising senior at Cary High School in Cary; and
  • Vincent Shen, rising sophomore at Green Level High School in Cary.

Campers head out into the field for courses in a variety of areas including aquatics, fisheries, forestry, soils, water quality, and wildlife.  Emphasis is placed on research-based best management practices that are applied in real-world situations on farms and in cities to reduce or prevent environmental degradation, restore or enhance ecological integrity, and achieve overall sustainability of natural resources.

“This year Wake Soil & Water Conservation District and the Friends of Wake SWCD are sending a record number of deserving Wake County teens to conservation camp,” said District Director Teresa Furr.  “For the past 30+ years, students have told us they find this week to be a valuable immersion into the art and science of conservation, giving them a new perspective on natural resources management, as well as renewed inspiration to be active environmental stewards at home and in their community.”

This is the 59th year for the Resource Conservation Workshop which is sponsored and organized by the North Carolina Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Soil & Water Conservation, North Carolina Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, the Hugh Hammond Bennett Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, NCSU’s Department of Soil Science, NC Conservation District Employees Association, and the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education.

“Providing these scholarships brings us joy knowing we’re helping deserving students prepare for their futures,” said Marilyn Grolitzer, Technical Advisor to the Friends of Wake SWCD.             

Press Release