Kids Can Win DEC Camperships Through OCCA Essay Contest

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Conservation Association has announced that it will send nine middle-school students to DEC Environmental Education Camp next summer through a countywide competitive essay contest.

OCCA will reward nine winning essayists with a week-long stay at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Summer Camp, where campers spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun.

Otsego County students ages 11-14 are invited to compete for camperships via the essay contest (must be 11 before December 1, 2014). In 750 words or less, they are asked to consider the question “What does the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ mean to you with regard to the environment?” and give examples of how a person can apply this to their everyday life.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer our Campership Sponsor Program for the third straight year,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “There’s a growing concern that kids today are lacking the important connection between being outdoors and caring for nature. Our goal is for the essayists to have fun with the assignment but also to think critically about their connection to and dependency on the natural world.”

“Conservation efforts will increase as kids learn to be good stewards of the environment and begin to understand some of the issues facing us today – pollution, resource depletion, solid waste management, climate change, ecosystem destruction, and so much more,” Youngs said.

Nine winning essays will be chosen from participating Otsego County schools and Otsego County applicants at large. The deadline for essay submissions is January 22, 2014, and winning essays will be chosen by January 27.

“Last year, middle-school teachers from Cooperstown, Milford and Oneonta incorporated the essay into their lesson plans,” Youngs said. “We hope more teachers will do the same this year, but any Otsego County student age 11-14 is eligible and welcome to enter an essay.”

Complete contest rules and requirements are available by e-mailing or by calling (607) 547-4488. Teachers who plan to assign the essay to their students are asked to contact OCCA in order to qualify 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, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit

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