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COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send eight Otsego County school students to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Education Camp this coming summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 are invited to compete for camperships via the essay contest (campers must be 11 by December 16, 2018). This year’s contest question is “What could you do personally to help protect the environment and what kind of impact would it make?”  Contest winners will receive a week-long stay at a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where they will spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

“It’s very important for kids to get outside and connect with nature,” said OCCA Executive Director Leslie Orzetti. “I’m thrilled that OCCA can continue to offer our children this great opportunity. Our past winners have had a wonderful time at DEC camp.” In 2017, OCCA provided camperships for eight students.

Winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is December 1, 2017. Winning essays will be chosen by December 8 and notified immediately. Contest winners will be given a special code by OCCA which will be used to register for DEC camp.

“We’re hoping teachers will be able to incorporate this year’s theme into their classroom learning.  In these uncertain times, it is important for all students to know that what they do has an impact on the larger community,” Orzetti said. “Camp registration opens in January  and we know they fill up fast.”

Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing director@occainfo.org or by calling (607) 547-4488. Teachers who plan to assign the essay to their students are asked to contact OCCA in order to be recognized as a participating school.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.