The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

January 6, 2014

OCCA offering camp scholarship contest

The Daily Star

---- — Area students with creative ideas for the environment could win themselves a free trip to camp this summer through a local program. 

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

“We’re very excited to be able to offer our Campership Sponsor Program for the third straight year,” OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs said in a media release. “There’s a growing concern that kids today are lacking the important connection between being outdoors and caring for nature.” 

OCCA will reward nine winning essayists with a week-long stay at a camp run by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, “where campers spend their week immersed in the natural environment and enjoy a balance of environmental education, sportsman education, and outdoor fun,” according to the release. 

Otsego County students ages 11 to 14, or who will be 11 by Dec. 1, are invited to compete via an essay contest. Students are asked to respond to the question “What does the phrase ‘think globally, act locally’ mean to you with regard to the environment?” in 750 words or fewer, giving examples of how a person can apply this to everyday life.

“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,” Youngs said in the release. “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.”

Essay submissions are due Jan. 22, with nine winning essays to be chosen by Jan. 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 emailing or by calling 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, nonprofit 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 547-4488 or visit