Growing a Natural Career-
Forestry and Natural Resources Careers Week

By Will Williams

If you are considering a future career in a natural resources-related field, then the Forestry and Natural Resources Careers Week camp may be for you! For the last 30 years, high school students from throughout Maryland have participated in this weeklong camp exploring forestry and other outdoor careers with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) professionals and conservation experts.

Sponsored by the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards and the DNR Forest Service, the 2004 Forestry and Natural Resources Careers Week will be held July 26-29 at the Hickory Environmental Education Center in the picturesque mountains of Garrett County. Counselors and instructors will include DNR foresters, rangers, biologists, educators and other professionals.

Over the course of the week, students participate in hands-on workshops, problem-solving lessons, field trips, and evening programs that include a career and college night. "It's a busy week but a lot of fun," notes Pam Kelly, Forestry Board Executive Director. "High school students from many different backgrounds participate, but their interest in natural resources brings them together."

30 Years of Success
Over one thousand young Marylanders have participated in "Camp Hickory" (as it is known to students and staff), and the experience has helped shape important educational and career decisions for many of them, some of whom are now natural resource decision makers.

Mark Muir was a Harford County high school student interested in outdoor careers when he attended the camp in 1988. "It was great to be exposed to many different conservation careers and learn from the experts," he recalls. "I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in forestry, and now I work with some of the same counselors I met at camp."

Muir attended Allegany College and West Virginia University, and is now Project Manager for the DNR Forest Service in Charles and St. Mary's Counties, helping landowners manage and conserve their forests for a variety of benefits.

Join In...
Up to 48 students are selected to attend the camp each year, with two or three students chosen from each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City by local county forestry boards. Many local forestry boards like to interview students who apply and most offer scholarships so students can attend at no cost! Counselors and staff provide transportation to Camp Hickory.

An application for the 2004 Careers Week Camp is available online by visiting The deadline for applications is April 15, 2004. !

For more information on Forestry and Natural Resources Careers Week contact Pam Kelly at 410-260-8589 or at

For more information about: The DNR Forest Service

Maryland's Forest Conservancy District Boards fcdb.html

DNR's Conservation Education Programs

The Hickory Environmental Education Center in Garrett County Hickory.

Hands on...
All kinds of people work in the forest - from foresters to loggers, scientists to naturalists. Everyone depends on properly managed forests for recreation, paper products and a healthy environment!

Using magazines and newspapers (which are forest products also!) create a collage of photos showing how people depend on Maryland's forests. Your collage can include pictures of forests, trees, people living near forests, forest products, people using forests or products, and people working in forests. Be able to explain the importance of each photo in your collage and how it benefits your life or Maryland's environment every day!

(From: "Who works in this Forest?" activity from Project Learning Tree Environmental Education Activity Guide, American Forest Foundation. Used with permission.)

The beauty of Garrett County and her experiences at camp as both a student and counselor influenced Queen Anne's High School alumnus Sarah Crouse's life-changing decisions. "One of the biggest stepping stones in my life was 'Camp Hickory,'" Sarah says about her participation in 1994. "After high school, I returned to camp as an assistant counselor and went up to Garrett College to ask about their Natural Resources and Wildlife Technology program. I enrolled on the spot."

The land management exercises she participated in during camp proved enormously useful, as Sarah is now a Resource Management Specialist with the State Forest and Park Service in western Maryland, working with waterfront property owners in the state-managed buffer strip along Deep Creek Lake.

Virginia Tech junior Ben Bradburn attended the camp several years ago and met one of his future professors at its College Night event. "After talking one-on-one, I knew that Virginia Tech's College of Natural Resources was right for me." He explains, "Camp Hickory definitely helped me make decisions about my future."

Now at the top of his class in the College of Forestry and the recipient of several scholarships, Ben is planning on spending his summer in a cooperative learning program with a forest products company.

Will Williams...
is an Education Specialist with the Maryland DNR Forest Service and is Curriculum Director for Forestry and Natural Resources Careers Week.  Will can be contacted at 410-414-5905 or

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