Camp Canopy is held at Camp Muskingum.

Registration open for popular Ohio camp

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Forestry is looking for future foresters, biologists, and the conservation leaders for tomorrow, as registration opens for the popular Camp Canopy — one of my favorite opportunities for Ohio’s outdoors-minded middle- and high school students.   

“We are excited to provide forestry-centered programming to campers this year,” said Jeremy Scherf, Ohio Division of Forestry service forestry manager and camp co-director. “Camp Canopy facilitates learning around many natural resource-related topics while allowing campers to enjoy the beauty of 

Ohio’s forests. Additionally, campers can interact with working professionals and form long-lasting friendships with their peers.” 

Camp Canopy 2023 will explore forests and creeks with sessions focused on Ohio trees, insects, fungi, and amphibians. There will also be a session on how Ohio’s Native Americans used and managed our forests in the past, including how they made and hunted with atlatls. Each camper will get to use an atlatl and learn about throwing techniques. Adventure-themed recreational activities like rifle and shotgun shooting, day and night hiking, and a kayak excursion will round out what is always a fun week of learning. 

The camp runs from June 11-16 for students who have completed the eighth grade through high school seniors graduating in 2023 are invited to attend Camp Canopy, which was previously known as the Ohio Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Camp. The camp will be held at FFA Camp Muskingum on Leesville Lake in Carroll County and sponsorships are available. 

Camp Canopy is operated by the Ohio Forestry Association Foundation, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the conservation of Ohio’s forests and forest industry. Instructors are professionals from ODNR, OSU Extension, and the forest industry in the state. For more information about and to register for Camp Canopy, visit their website at 

Marine patrol assistance funding

Two dozen agencies in 21 Ohio counties will receive a total of $579,653.92 from the ODNR to support local marine patrol units. The funds are part of a continuing effort to keep Ohio waterways safe and enhance recreational boating experiences. 

“As boating in Ohio gains in popularity, ODNR appreciates the help from local community partners to deliver critical services,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “These grants enable local law enforcement agencies to help protect boaters, canoers, and kayakers, and the lakes and streams they enjoy.” 

With the 2023 Marine Patrol Assistance grants, local law enforcement agencies will provide emergency response to boating-related incidents, conduct routine waterway patrols and purchase safety equipment for use on marine patrol vessels. This year’s grant recipients include the Lake Erie and Ohio River regions as well as in counties with multiple inland lakes.   

In Ohio, 653,136 boats were registered in 2022, an increase of more than 9,000 registrations from the previous year. Ohio’s paddle sports were also an area of growth. Last year, Ohioans registered 320,807 paddle craft, a 3% increase, or 10,804 registrations. As the number of visitors to Ohio’s lakes and rivers increases, Marine Patrol Assistance Grants are vital to ensuring the safety of Ohio’s boaters. Boating safety information is available

The Division of Parks and Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating and scenic rivers programs. The funding to support local marine patrol units comes from the state’s Waterways Safety Fund, which is supported by the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, and funds from the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Volunteers needed for sandhill crane survey

A volunteer-driven sandhill crane survey to locate breeding birds in Ohio is seeking observers to help with the count on Saturday April 15, coordinated by the ODNR as part of the Midwest Crane Count with the International Crane Foundation and Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative.

The time commitment includes the time it takes to scout an area, a virtual training, and the morning count. Birders of all abilities who can identify a sandhill crane can participate. A vehicle is also required. Participation in pairs and some experience using the eBird community science platform is preferred.

The sandhill crane is listed as threatened in Ohio, but their population has increased in recent years. Sandhills can be secretive during their nesting season, and the count is an effort to better track Ohio’s breeding crane population.

This year’s count will occur in the counties of Ashland, Columbiana, Delaware, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Hardin, Holmes, Knox, Lake, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Morrow, Ottawa, Pickaway, Portage, Richland, Sandusky, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne, Williams, and Wyandot. These counties have habitats where sandhill cranes typically nest such as wet meadows, shallow marshes, bogs, and other wetlands.

In 2021, a pilot survey was conducted in Geauga, Holmes, Summit, Trumbull, and Wayne counties. The effort documented 160 sandhill cranes in those five counties. In 2022, approximately 250 volunteers counted more than 300 cranes in 22 counties. Seven new counties will be surveyed in the 2023 count. Ohioans interested in volunteering should contact a county coordinator.

Ohio’s cranes are seasonal residents that migrate south for the winter. They feed during daylight hours on grain, insects, birds, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. They migrate at high elevations in large flocks, often composed of hundreds of birds. The range of the cranes extends from Mexico and Florida into Alaska and Canada, depending on the season.

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