The Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Environmental Department hosted 73 Cub Scouts from the Great Muskogee District during a nature day camp at the Black Point Interpretive Center July 27-31.
The five-day camp allowed Scouts to participate in nature-related activities, arts and crafts and sporting events.
“We learn about weather, wildlife conservation and science,” said NAS Jacksonville Assistant Natural Resources Manager Angela Glass. “A lot of it involves crafts and nature hikes. We clean up nature trails and teach the kids about natural resources, recycling and pollution – relating it specifically to what they need to get their pins and belt loops.”
“This is our third year offering this camp, and we grew 40 percent over last year,” said Nature Day Camp Director Jean Gwinnup. “The boys love coming to the base. This is the only nature camp in this area.”
The camp featured several guest speakers including Maynard Cox, the “snake man” from the NAS Jacksonville Safety Department, who taught Scouts about safety with spiders, snakes and other wild creatures and NAS Jacksonville Golf Director Joe Carreiro and assistants who set up a golf clinic for the Scouts.
Smokey Bear and two forest rangers visited to teach Scouts about Florida’s woodlands and the importance of maintaining fire safety when hiking or camping.
Lesley Royce, a Jacksonville park specialist, also visited the Scouts with her barred owl.
“This is a highly vocal owl that gives a loud and resounding, ‘hoo,'” said Royce. “It is the only owl of the eastern United States that has brown eyes. All other owl species have yellow eyes.”
The NAS Jacksonville Security Department brought military working dogs and demonstrated their ability to detect illegal drugs and explosives. The Scouts had the opportunity to watch a demonstration of how quickly a patrol dog can detect and subdue an intruder.
The NAS Jacksonville Fire Department provided tours of a fire engine, and fire prevention specialists demonstrated safety precautions inside the Navy Fire Safety House.
Eighteen Boy Scouts served as “den leaders” to help mentor the Cub Scouts. They also assisted Glass in order to achieve their environmental merit badges.
“My favorite thing to learn about this year was omnivores, carnivores and herbivores,” said Marvin Levins, who has been a Cub Scout for four years. “It’s neat how one thing depends on another in the food chain.”
“I definitely say that we returned to the parents some very tired, but excited, Cub Scouts who enjoyed a week full of fun, learning and fellowship,” said Gwinnup. “I am a widow of a retired Navy chief, and I have to tell you this was ‘my Navy’ showing some of its best to the future leaders of our country.
“These little guys will always remember being on the base and the interesting experiences that the Navy provided. As always, a big thank you goes to the NAS Jax (Jacksonville) Environmental Department and Angela Glass for all their help and in allowing us to use their interpretive center. And thanks to every command and volunteer who took part in our camp. You really stepped up for our boys.”
For more news from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/nasjax/.
This was a story of the Navy News Service. It is Story Number: NNS090817-11, was released on: 8/17/2009 4:14:00 PM, and written by Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd Class Nicole Bieneman, Jax Air News Staff Writer.