Have you ever played hide-and-seek with the help of a radio telemetry set? No? Well, you've been missing out.
Four young wildlife enthusiasts got the chance to engage in this unique twist on an old classic at the Ogden Nature Center's "A Day in the Life of a Wildlife Specialist" camp, held Friday.
Campers learned about falconry gear, radio telemetry, behavioral enrichment, feeding the center's animals and cleaning cages.
Stefanie Miller, education director of the Ogden Nature Center, said campers were informed of the educational requirements for wildlife specialists and the pros and cons of the job.
"You spend a lot of time picking up poo," she said, "which a lot of people don't think about, but that really is the case. You need to maintain a clean environment, so a lot of the time you're cleaning up after these animals that don't use a toilet."
Miller added that for those who enjoy wildlife on a personal level, the good outweighs the bad.
"There's a lot of trust between our handler and the animals he's working with today," Miller said, pointing at one of the handlers. "When he's holding an eagle, he knows this is a very powerful bird that can crush him. Our eagle can use her talons to literally crush the bones in our handler's body. But (the bird) doesn't. There's trust between the two of them. There's a relationship that's built and that's really personally rewarding."
Shawnee Sawyer, outreach naturalist for the center, said camps like this one are a good way for kids to gain experience in handling animals.
"This camp really helps teach the kids about what actually happens here at the center. It also helps recruit kids to come and volunteer," Sawyer said. "A lot of children in the area want to work with animals, but they don't know where they can go or what they can do to practice and learn. So we have kids come here and walk our turtles or hold our snakes, and this helps them get trained."
Isabelle Herzog, 12, a veteran Nature Center camper and aspiring botanist, has been impressed with the education she has received at the camps.
"I remember in all the camps I've been to, they had serious detail about the species and how they work. We even made some medicine out of plants in the survival camp ... I'm sure it will help me with my future career," she said.
Bryce King, wildlife specialist at the nature center and head instructor for this particular camp, said he sees his teachings as an investment in the future.
"I'm thinking if we can teach kids at young ages that nature has feelings and nature has a purpose, then they will grow up and respect nature. Then when it comes time for voting, they will have the understanding and knowledge and respect for wildlife, and they will make the right decisions," King said.
The nature center offers several summer camp opportunities for ages 2 to 16. Each camp is held once a year. More information about camp and volunteer opportunities is on the center's website: