Outdoor Adventure Camp Volunteers Named Conservation Heroes

For advancing the cause of conservation by turning on young people to the joys and thrills of outdoor sports, Tommie and Theresa Berger were recently named finalists in Field & Stream magazine’s 2011 Conservation Hero of the Year competition.

The Sylvan Grove, Kansas, couple has spent more than 20 years serving as volunteer organizers and teachers of Outdoor Adventure Camp, an annual program Tommie designed with the support of the Kansas Wildlife Federation, a National Wildlife Federation affiliate. “We realized kids were not getting outside like they used to, and we decided that we needed a camp to get the kids outside,” says Tommie, a fisheries biologist.

“From sunrise to sundown and beyond, the Bergers and their hand-picked volunteer instructors teach kids about wildlife and wildlife habitat, and how to trade in the television remote control for a fishing rod, a shotgun, a canoe paddle, the reins of a horse,” says Eddie Nickens, Field & Stream’s editor-at-large. Since its creation, the camp program has provided a weeklong lesson in good stewardship and simple enjoyment of the outdoors to more than 500 youth.

Now in its sixth year, Field & Stream’s Heroes of Conservation program is dedicated to honoring individuals who spend their time working to create, improve or restore fish and wildlife or habitat.

The Bergers and the other 2011 finalists were recognized at the Heroes of Conservation Awards Gala in Washington, D.C, on October 11. The couple received a $5,000 grant for the Outdoor Adventure Camp program.