TPWD and Brenham ISD "Parkner" Up For Camp Yes

Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453,

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AUSTIN, Texas— Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Brenham Independent School District have teamed up to give local children the opportunity get off the couch this summer and learn about nature in the great outdoors. This partnership has been made possible through a grant from TPWD Community Outdoor Outreach Program, administered by the State Parks Recreation Grants program.

Camp YES (Youth Exploring Stewardship) will consist of more than 120 Brenham Day Campers ages 8-12. The campers are from both Brenham Community Education’s Kids Kountry and the Washington County Boys and Girls Club. These students will visit five state parks in two one-week programs that explore site-specific resource stewardship.

Camp YES will take place at state parks Monday through Thursday June 28 — July 1 and July 9 — 22. State Parks to be visited include Lake Somerville-Birch Creek State Park, Lake Somerville-Nails Creek State Park, Bastrop State Park, Barrington Living History Farm, at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site, and Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site. Daily activities include fishing, canoeing, hiking and learning about ecology, wildlife management, and stewardship.

The state park visits are more than recreational outings. TPWD has worked with curriculum specialists from Brenham ISD to make sure that programs like Camp YES will help students fulfill Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) criteria. TEKS requires that students demonstrate an understanding of the nature of science by conducting field and laboratory investigations with environmentally appropriate and ethical practices. Since there is currently no outdoor laboratory available to fulfill this requirement, the Texas state parks have established "parknerships" to serve as outdoor classrooms. All of the planned activities in the state parks are based on TEKS components tested in science courses.

An awards ceremony at the conclusion of each of the camps will be held at Lake Somerville-Nails Creek State Park at 12:30 p.m. on July 1 and July 22.

During the visits to the state parks, each student will keep a journal for recording field observations and taking notes. On Friday at the end of each camp week, the students will head to Brenham to review their journals and discuss stewardship.

In addition to participating in Camp YES, Lake Somerville-Birch Creek State Park and Lake Somerville-Nails Creek State Park units will also serve as an outdoor laboratory for all 5th-grade and 6th-grade students in Brenham ISD throughout the 2004-05 school year.

Other partners for these programs include Texas Forest Service, Blinn College, Texas Master Naturalists and REI.