The Bureau of Land Management Cody Field Office hosted the Conservation Outdoor Recreation Education youth group for another rewarding week of personal growth and public land stewardship projects in the northern Bighorn Basin.
The young people from Casper, ranging in age from 10-18 years, and their adult leaders set up camp at the BLM-administered Five Springs Falls Campground, nestled in the dramatic flanks of the Bighorn Mountains, 22 miles east of Lovell.
“I’m appreciative of the great work the CORE kids get done year after year,” said BLM Cody Field Manager Cade Powell. “I’m also happy we can provide this annual educational and recreational opportunity, hopefully fostering a lifelong love of public lands.”
At Five Springs Falls Campground, the group installed standing frames for educational signage; improved a buck-and-pole fence that excludes livestock from the historic spring; diverted water that was pooling in a parking area; pulled weeds and trimmed vegetation; cleaned out fire rings; and raked and cleaned campsites and the trail.
The CORE group also spent a day doing trail and campsite maintenance at the scenic Hogan and Luce Recreation Site north of Cody. To mitigate risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, the group took preventative measures like working in small teams and washing and sanitizing hands often.
Amber Bennett joined CORE when she was 8 years old and now serves as an adult staff member 12 years later.
“This is the pinnacle of my summer,” said Bennett. “My love of nature has grown through this experience and I love being part of building and fixing things. Also, the kids mean a lot to me and I enjoy helping them out.”
Victor Orr, Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Self Help Center of Casper, is the founder and leader of CORE, now in its 21st year. In addition to promoting teamwork and respect for others, Orr sees an even more fundamental benefit of the CORE program.
“The most valuable thing about this is just getting them outside and off their electronic devices for 10 minutes,” joked Orr.
Orr leads several outings like this each summer in Wyoming. The group does volunteer projects for the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.
For more information contact the Cody Field Office at (307) 578-5900.