ALBANY New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today encouraged families to act quickly on submitting applications for DEC's 2008 Summer Environmental Education Camps. For more than 60 years, DEC's Environmental Education Camps have provided young people with a unique opportunity to explore and enjoy the beauty of our natural resources, while also teaching them the importance of conservation, Commissioner Grannis said. Our camps offer expert instruction in a fun-filled environment, offering youth of diverse backgrounds experiences in how to be good stewards of our land, air and water. The DEC Summer Camp Program is in its 61st year of operation, offering week-long adventures in conservation education to New York State residents ages 12-17. Typically, more than 1,600 young residents attend DEC camps each summer. Guided by experienced DEC education camp staff, campers enjoy a week searching fields, forests, streams and ponds, discovering the interconnected aspects of the natural world. Campers observe wildlife, discuss and debate environmental issues, sample streams for microscopic life and explore the brilliance of the night sky, while making new friends from across the state. Campers also will have time to pursue and improve their skills in a wide variety of outdoor activities including fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and hunter safety education. DEC operates three residential camps for children ages 12-14: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake (Franklin County), Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor (Sullivan County) and Camp Rushford in Caneadea (Allegany County). A fourth residential camp, Pack Forest in Warrensburg (Warren County) features the Teenage Ecology Workshop, a special program of environmental study available to campers 15-17 years of age for the first five weeks of camping season. For the final three weeks, Pack Forest will host 12-14 year olds. In addition, each camp offers a Returnee Week for students who have previously attended a DEC camp. (Schedule Below) DEC camp sessions begin June 29, 2008. The cost per camper for a one-week stay is $250. Applications and up-to-date reports on space available for each camp can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html . You may also write to DEC Camps, 2nd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4500, or call 518-402-8014. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Summer Camps Schedule and Notes Week 1: June 29-July 5. All Camps Open. Week 2: July 6-12 Week 3: July 13-19 Week 4: July 20-26, Returnee Week for Colby, DeBruce and Rushford Camps. No first-year campers. Week 5 July 27-August 2, Returnee Week and last week for Pack Forest for 15-17-year- olds. Week 6 August 3-August 9, Pack Forest open for 12-14-year-olds. Week 7 August 10-16 Week 8 August 17-23, Returnee Week and last week for Pack Forest for 12-14-year-olds. Last week for Colby, DeBruce and Rushford Camps.