For the first time in Eastern Oregon, the Montana-based Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has organized an event geared toward future hunters and conservationists as young as six years old.
The Eastern Oregon youth skills day is Feb. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center. It is free to participate.
The event includes short seminars on elk bugling, advice for how to film your own adventure, wilderness survival tips, public lands information from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as presentation on trail cameras and skull identification.
It also features plenty of giveaways for participants, including from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Tactacam and Yeti — items ranging from coolers to binoculars and backpacks to elk bugles.
The event was the brainchild of Korie Campbell, a Pendleton resident who now attends the University of Montana in Missoula, where the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is headquartered.
Campbell has been leading youth-oriented events there, which include presentations on being bear aware, art projects and conservation information.’ She is also the daughter of Tim Campbell, who leads the foundation’s Pendleton chapter.
“This is really her idea, and she is spearheading the whole thing,” said Tim Campbell.
Korie said she is studying wildlife biology but hopes to specialize in wildlife education. She said educating young people about conservation and their public lands is critical to helping protect hunting rights and opportunities.
“Personally, I think the next step for conservation is interacting with the younger generation,” she said. “It kind of goes for all ages, but I think a lot of people are uneducated about conservation and how hunting is conservation.”
All youth are welcome to the event, but only those aged 6-16 are eligible for prizes.