During the 2011 Junior Nature Camp, Glynis Board of West Virginia Public Broadcasting decided to document some of the campers stories, interviews and observations using a portable audio recorder.
Using the players below you can listen to those audio clips as wells as read a transcription of the them.
Thanks to Betsy Breiding for the transcriptions!


The Junior Nature Camp Song
We are the nature camp from Oglebay.
The place where everyone here wants to be.
Come one, come all and gather round
And up to heaven we’ll raise our ripping, roaring sound.
We are the C - A - M - P - E - R - S.
Are we a peppy bunch? - well yes, I guess.
We are the same that put the A in Fame, always game -
Nature Camp!


Introduction by Glynis Board

Glynis Board

In 1944 Oglebay Institute’s Junior Nature Camp was born out of the vision and teachings of West Virginia’s first naturalist and forester, A. B. Brooks. Designed to be a place for youth to study and be enveloped in nature, the camp is still going strong today just outside of Wheeling

Each year about 70 kids from all over the state, country and sometimes the world meet at the camp at Dallas Pike and live together for two weeks. This year the camp started on July 24th and runs through August 6th.

I was invited to come to the camp this year to talk to the campers about storytelling. We broke up into groups and decided to give reports on various nature classes being offered.

One group opted to interview their instructor Jon Altemus in a question and answer interview style.


Interview with instructor Jon Altemus by Dominic


This is Dominic, representing Group 2, the Buck Wilds

Dominic: We are going to be interviewing Jon and we are going to be asking him questions about our morning session activity which was about sun printing and gathering leaves and here we go.

Dominic: How did you come up with this class?
Jon: The program director, Natasha Diamond, had asked me to come up with an art project that was both fun and educational and so that the campers would come away with some skills.

Dominic: What was the objective of this class?
Jon: To experience making art using very simple processes and to learn new species of trees and how to identify species of trees.

Dominic: Why and how was sun printing made?
Jon: Sun printing is a process using various chemicals to sensitize paper so that you can make an image with any kind of, uh, by blocking out light. It’s been used for many, many years, long before photography.

Dominic: When was it invented?
Jon: I don’t know exactly, but over 200 years ago.

Dominic: What are some of the chemicals in this project?
Jon: Actually, I have them written down right here. There was Ferric Amonium Oxilate, Potassium Ferrous Cianide, Amonium Dichromate, citric acid and distilled water.

Donimic: How does it react?
Jon: The chemicals are sensitive to UV light so they change colors when exposed to UV light.

Dominic: Would it work different if it had different oils in the leaves?
Jon: Good question. From what we saw today some leaves did behave differently. The image looked a little different from others and I think it was because of the chemicals in the leaves.

Dominic: What kind of paper is used?
Jon: You can use most any paper. We found that 100% rag paper worked best.

Dominic: We learned a lot of stuff today. Two campers knew nothing about trees and are now know how to identify at least one kind of tree.
One camper learned how different chemicals react with sunlight.
One camper learned that sassafras leaves can be deformed.
Everyone learned some scientific names of trees.
And we thank Jon.



Birds and Beaks by Nell


Today group Snap-Grackle-Pop took the class beaks and feet with Steve Rice who’s been coming to Junior Nature camp for many years.
We learned about the evolution of birds, focusing on adaptations. An adaptation is a physical or behavioral characteristic that helps an animal survive in its environment. We discussed the theory that birds evolved from dinosaurs.
A chart was shown detailing the similarities between reptiles and birds. One such similarity was hollow bones which are shared by modern birds and some dinosaurs. The first dinosaur bird link was the Archaeopteryx.
Some known adaptations can be seen in modern times on the Galapagos islands. There the scientist Darwin discovered numerous diverse finches that evolved from a single species. Each species has different adaptations, such as beaks for insects and thick conical beaks for cracking seeds.
Another bird known to have evolved is the woodpecker. As we all know, woodpeckers peck through dead trees to search for grubs. First of all, its brain is surrounded by spongy bone to protect it from brain trauma. It has a small brain with less brain fluid for the same reason. Also its beak is very compact so it doesn’t get injured. And finally its feet are very strong and shaped for grip so it can maintain its balance when searching for food.
They have zygodactyl feet, which means two toes in the front and two in the back. Other birds have feet adaptations to help them find food, too. Certain owls have zygodactyl feet which they use as a cage or trap when catching small mammals. These are just a few of the many ways that birds have adapted.


Copperheads by Sean, Caroline and Donae

Sean Caroline Dona'e

Sean: My name is Sean and I’m in the group called the Lung Duskies and today we studied herpetology with Greg Park.
Greg: I’ve spent my life in snake conservation, trying to keep people from destroying harmless snakes. I’ve shown hundreds and hundreds of people this little copperhead. And throughout my career at the Shrader Center I’ve had over a thousand snakes brought in, various ones either chopped up or still alive in a shoebox, and every one of those people, over a thousand people, said “Is this a copperhead?”. In my career over a thousand snakes brought in, two people were correct. Two people had properly identified a copperhead.

Sean: And we were discussing the differences between copperheads and black rat snakes.
Greg: We were going to take kids out in the field and I wanted them to at least know what a real Northern Copperhead looks like.

Sean: So the copperhead or Agkistrodon contortrix is commonly identified by its slit shaped eyes, fat body and triangular shaped head.
Greg: Thanks. So this is the Northern Copperhead and the reason I call him Norm is because he’s got a whole band of very normal looking markings and I wanted the kids to see this, this kind of upside down hourglass or wine glass across the back and that’s a classic little baby copperhead.
Sean: They have brown and orange ovals and stripes that run along the length of their back, small scale plates along their body, and strong ribs help the copperhead to move around. However its head does not harbor any of these tough plates. Its bite is extremely venomous and leaves two distinct fang marks with intense swelling around the area. The baby black rat snake is often confused because of its coloration. However, the black rat snakes have round pupils in their eyes whereas the copperheads have slit shaped eyes.

Caroline: My name is Caroline and I am going to be talking about the behavior of the copperhead. The copperhead’s jaw acts as a straw when drinking water. They live in rocky hills and coastal areas. They are active in April through October. Copperheads can hunt blindly using thermal vision.
Greg: He has heat sensors in his nose. He’s got these viper eyes. He’s got a tremendously good sense of smell. Utilizing his tongue, he flicks his tongue out there and when he pulls his tongue back in his mouth he rakes his tongue across two little holes in the roof of his mouth called the Jacobson’s Organ and that’s what they use for collecting odor. And they’re very good at tracking down white-footed mice - at night. And they use their heat sensors to detect the mouse. They can strike accurately - in the dark.

Donae: My name’s Donae and I’ll be talking about the history of the copperhead. The copperhead’s life cycle is very similar to many other snakes. It starts off as an egg.
Greg: When a copperhead first hatches out of its egg, it develops within its mother and then it hatches at the same time it comes out it looks like a live birth, but actually the mom is making an incubator out of herself.

Donae: It’s diet consists of salamanders for the first part of it’s life.
Greg: The neatest thing about a little baby copperhead is that the end of its tail is pure yellow. They do this really interesting little behavior where they curl their tail up and curl it back and make it like a lure and it lures in animals that are interested in eating worms.

Donae: After maturity is reached, the coloring of the tale changes and their diet consists mostly of white-footed mice.
Greg: This guy is like the premier mouse trap, mouse predator on planet earth. They can go right down in a mouse’s burrow find the little baby mice all curled up in the nest and they eat them one by one, then they crawl off and sleep a little bit, so ...

Donae: When winter comes the copperhead goes into a snake den with many other snake species. A copperhead’s life span can last several decades.
Greg: The Northern Copperhead. I really respect them. It’s one of my favorite animals. I know it’s kind of an unusual animal to be your favorite, but I think they’re pretty. And they’re very good at what they do and that is catching mice.


Plants by The Lone Duskies

Plant Group

There once was a sickeness in the forest which caused the birds to lose their voice until a wise bird named the Towhee came along ans said 'Drink your tea'.
After the birds drank the Echinacea tea they regained their beatiful songs.

Plants have been used for medicinal uses for ages. Echinacea, red clover, chamomile and various other plants can be used for flavorful drinks such as tea which can surprisingly have medicinal uses as well.

Nuisances such as poison ivy and acne are oil based breakouts that can be cured with the leaves of the burdock plants. Stinging nettle can be counteracted by jewelweed which happens to usually grow near. Aloe is a familiar plant that heals some burn pain.

Plants can be used for analgesic or pain relieving purposes. Yarrow for example numbs if crushed or chewed. Boben smoke so can be inhaled with the same affects.

Heal-all in an antiseptic and antibacterial plant used for many purposes

Some plants can be annadictive. Indian tobacco can be used to wean one off of the nicotine addiction.

Plants are amazing and have various uses including food, medical uses, industrial uses and also for looking at their beauty. We also protect the earth and also protect the plants that we use everyday. You should try to start learning about plants because they may save you in the future.
Check out the Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. It’s a good book with basic information.


The Nature Camp Song by Everyone!

We are the nature camp from Oglebay.
The place where everyone here wants to be.
Come one, come all and gather round
And up to heaven we’ll raise our ripping, roaring sound.

We are the C - A - M - P - E - R -S !!!
Are we a peppy bunch? - well yes, I guess.
We are the same that put the A in Fame, always game -
Nature Camp!



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