Slated June 5-June 17, Camp T.U.R.F., Tomorrow’s Undergraduates Realizing the Future, is a two-week, residential academy at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and is geared toward horticultural and landscape architecture career exploration. The academy is free and open to Oklahoma students who will be entering their freshman or sophomore year of high school in fall 2016.
Shelley Mitchell, OSU Cooperative Extension assistant specialist, introduced this camp seven years ago and it continues to be a success.
“This camp is not only for those students who have an interest in science and horticulture, but also for those who love the outdoors and working with their hands,” Mitchell said. “They’ll have an opportunity to interact with OSU professors and explore a variety of careers in horticulture and landscaping. There will be hands-on activities at The Botanic Garden at OSU, as well as at field research stations, a turfgrass research center, greenhouses, research laboratories and much more.”
Applications for Camp T.U.R.F. are available at hortla.okstate.edu/camp-turf and will be accepted beginning March 15. If selected, participants will be notified starting April 1. The academy is free for students and all expenses such as food, transportation, lodging and all activities are paid by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Participants will be housed in the residential suites on campus.
Mitchell said this year’s agenda is chocked full of fun and educational opportunities for the campers. A few activities planned include cloning African violets in a laboratory, grafting different plants together, filming a segment of the TV show “Oklahoma Gardening,” creating concrete pervious pavers, experiencing the OSU Challenge Course, touring OSU’s Insect Adventure and making a dish garden to take home.
“We want the campers to really get a feel for what OSU has to offer, as well as Stillwater as a community, so we’ll eat out each night, including local landmarks Eskimo Joe’s and Hideaway Pizza,” she said. “Other evening group activities include bowling, swimming, volleyball and a painting class.”
Kenzie Williams, a former Camp T.U.R.F. participant, said she thinks students should apply to attend the camp because they will learn things they may not have an opportunity to learn elsewhere.
“I enjoyed The Botanic Garden at OSU and learning what goes on behind the scenes when filming ‘Oklahoma Gardening,’” Williams said. “I really enjoy gardening, but I learned a lot about landscape architecture that I didn’t know before Camp T.U.R.F. It’s also a lot of fun to meet new people from all over the state.”
Bergen Ehrlich, also a former Camp T.U.R.F. participant, said he really enjoyed meeting new people and learning about OSU and what it has to offer.
“All of the activities they have planned are a lot of fun,” Ehrlich said. “I enjoyed being on TV and I encourage other kids to come because they’ll have a lot of fun.”
Mitchell said although the students who come to camp most likely do not know each other, by the time they go home they are like family.
“Not only will the students learn more about horticulture, landscape architecture, science and agriculture, they’ll gain some life-long friends as well,” she said.
For more information about the camp, please contact Mitchell at [email protected].
CUTLINE INFORMATION: Students participating in Camp T.U.R.F. get their hands dirty as they make concrete pervious pavers. Camp T.U.R.F. is a two-week residential camp at Oklahoma State University that gives high school students an opportunity to explore various horticultural-related careers and experience college life. (Photo by Shelly Mitchell)
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