Archived Story

Woodie Camp a conservation experience

Published 9:29am Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Updated 11:31am Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Every August since 1989, the Minnesota Waterfowl Association has hosted a week-long sleepover gathering known as Woodie Camp.

Nestled amid cattails and prairie grass of the Prairie Wetland Learning Center, immediately south of Fergus Falls, Woodie Camp is a place for teenagers to learn about the outdoors and wildlife.

Woodie Camp is really a week-long immersion into all things waterfowl and is designed to help foster the next generation of Minnesota conservationists.

Each year 50 youth (ages 13–15) are instructed about the ins and outs of nature journaling, outdoor photography, waterfowl identification, shooting skills, duck and goose calling, wild game preparation, boat safety, gun care and other aspects of being an ethical, responsible waterfowler.

The intricacies of shooting and gun safety are a big part of Woodie Camp, but so are the fundamentals of conservation.

The week features lessons about wetland ecology, waterfowl ecology, prairie ecology, aquatic plants, wetland invertebrates and duck banding.

While conservation lessons and messages are hallmarks of Woodie Camp, so is fun.

The week includes competitive team tournaments in which skills are tested. Scavenger hunts, orienteering, decoy painting, campfires, conservation quizzes and even a wild game cooking contest are featured

Throughout the course of the week campers are taught the ‘how to’ of waterfowl hunting, but the passion of ‘why to’ is shared by the instructors and is what makes this a truly special week.

Woodie Camp is free of charge to the camper’s thanks in part to the generous support of the Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club. Applicants are required to have their firearms safety certification and complete an essay on “why I would like to attend camp.” Once selected to attend a $150 deposit is required which is refunded at the end of camp.

This year’s Woodie Camp is scheduled Aug.10-16. Application deadline is May 16. Successful applicants will be notified by June 6. All area youth may apply by completing the online application at the Minnesota Waterfowl Association website (



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