Steamboat Springs Camp Rocky, a weeklong event for 14- to 19-year-olds, gave students the challenge of solving the environmental problems present at a camp south of Divide.
The students stayed in cabins in the subalpine environment on the west slope of Pikes Peak and learned how professionals manage natural resources to sustain them for future generations.
Local students learned at the camp the fundamentals of land conservation through the close study of water, soil, forestry, range and wildlife.
"A lot of kids are ranch kids who know a lot, but not the scientific part of it," said Bob Sturtevant, a forester for the Colorado State Forest Service.
He said students broke up into four groups, with each group focusing on a different component of the natural environment, and then later collaborated as a large group to develop an overall conservation plan.
Students "start seeing there are some conflicts with people's objectives for the property," Sturtevant said.
He said the participants spend a majority of their time at camp completing tasks necessary to professional fieldwork such as digging holes and cutting and measuring trees.
"We try to instill upon them that a lot goes into resource management," Sturtevant said.
Courtney Long of Phippsburg said her group had to find vegetation that would support bird life and at the same time not attract bears. Long said she also worked with her group to discuss the solutions to eliminating the sediment that accumulates in ponds.
"What we learned will be a benefit in the long run," she said. Long said she wished she had learned how the information applies to ranchland. As a member of 4-H and the ranching community, she said it was interesting to meet other people from Colorado with similar interests. Long studied soil and water management.
Leslie Koler of Phippsburg helped thin trees in the tent camping area to reduce wildfire fuels and remove dead trees that are a potential hazard to campers.
Both Koler and Long are involved in the Future Farmers of America and received a scholarship from the CSU Cooperative Extension Office to attend the camp.
The camp exposes students to other people their ages with different backgrounds and interests.
Students "start questioning black and white issues," Sturtevant said. He said students really have to examine their ideals and upbringing when considering their stance on environmental issues.
Glenn Frentress of Hayden attended the camp to explore the possible professions available and the kind of work he would be expected to do in the resource management fields.
Frentress helped build a pen and pasture for four llamas with the objective of reviving a pasture area through the practice of grazing.
Frentress' mother, Tena, said he has attended the camp for two years and thoroughly enjoys his time there.
She said he graduated from Hayden High School this spring and is looking at a career in wildlife management.