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Applications due March 15 for youth leadership program

By Messenger Staff | Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Texas Brigades program is looking for 170 youths with the leadership skills to become ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.

The Brigades were founded in 1993 by Dr. Dale Rollins, Extension wildlife specialist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. Today the program includes Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Wildlife Association Foundation, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Young people ages 13 to 17 with a strong interest in learning about wildlife, natural resources, livestock and/or the environment are encouraged to apply for the five, four-and-a-half day camps, which are held on private ranches across the state. Camps focus on quail, deer, bass, ducks and geese and ranching.

Each camp features intense, interactive learning from top wildlife and natural resource professionals. Subjects covered include biology, habitat management, watersheds, population dynamics, ecology, botany, photography, journalism, firearm safety, fishing, communication, critical thinking, team-building and leadership.

The application deadline is March 15. Applications may be found at www.texasbrigades.org/Applications/applications.html.

Participants are selected through a competitive application process. No experience is necessary, but applicants should have a strong interest in learning about these areas and sharing what they have learned with their communities.

“These landowners open their gates to us for five days, allowing us to utilize the land as a living laboratory,” said Helen Holdsworth, director of the program. “Natural resource professionals give of their time to mentor the youth. This is a valuable networking opportunity.”

Cost of the camp is $400, but scholarships and financial assistance are available.

“We do not want the fee to be a barrier to anyone,” Holdsworth said. “We have donors who are willing to support the youths’ educational experience.”

For information, call 855-TXBRIGS or 210-556-1391 or email hholdsworth@texas-wildlife.org.

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