Military kids on a mission to help Vt Guard and environment
COLCHESTER, Vt. -
A group of summer campers spent the day Tuesday navigating winding trails in the vast forested portion of Camp Johnson, a military installation in Colchester.
The campers are part of Operation Military Kids, a 4-H program for children of Vermont's service men and women.
"This is part of a grant that we were awarded call Tech Wizards. It's basically getting kids familiarized with technology, specifically today with GPS technology and digital photography," said Marley Balasco of Operation Military Kids.
The kids used the gadgets to find their way around the woods. They say learning these new skills will definitely come in handy in the future.
"If we ever have one with us and we get lost or something, it's going to be useful to know how to use it," said Autumn Tourangeau, a camper from Jeffersonville.
Camp leaders say it's important for local military children to meet one another. They can confide in each other when living apart from a deployed parent.
"It's really hard for other kids to understand what it is exactly that they are going through, so to bring kids from all over the state together is a really big thing. It's really rewarding," Balasco said.
Not only are the campers meeting new friends and learning new things, they are also helping out the National Guard. The National Guard asked the campers to locate a number of plants that don't belong in the forest.
"We're trying to find invasive species and we're taking pictures of them to document them and we're marking them on the GPS," said Peter Leombruno, a camper from Williston.
"We're going to tell the National Guard right? What they are going to try do then is try to get rid of it. They are going to come out here and cut it down and make sure that only native plants are here in Vermont, right? That will be awesome," said Maj. Bob Monette of the Army National Guard.
The campers will spend the rest of the week sweeping the forest taking digital photographs of the invasive species and marking their coordinates.
"Afterwards, we are going to submit field logs to the National Guard and they will be able to come back out here and see what we've mapped and be able to do their own kind of survey," Balasco said.
Searching for invasive species and finding new friends.
The campers will submit their findings to the National Guard at the end of the week.
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