OCEARCH at Deer Valley Resort’s Summer Adventure Camp

For the second year in a row, Chris Fischer from OCEARCH enlightened Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Campers on the importance of preserving our oceans.

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Mr. Fischer and his team allow scientists to study sharks in an environment safe for both the researchers and the sharks. They do this by catching and tagging sharks so scientists all around the world can study them. While most people would say they’re afraid of sharks, Mr. Fischer explained that sharks should actually be scared of humans; nearly 200,000 sharks are killed each day and if this continues, future generations will not be able to enjoy these awesome creatures.

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“I’m thrilled to be part of Deer Valley’s Summer Camp. Park City is home for my family and I, and I’m excited to be able to connect these kids to the OCEARCH mission and bring the ocean into their summer camp. Thanks to Deer Valley for inviting me!” - Chris Fischer, OCEARCH Founder and Expedition Leader

OCEARCH is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented research on great white sharks and other large apex predators. After having Mr. Fischer speak with the campers last year, the kids decided to donate the proceeds from the annual end-of-season Art Show to OCEARCH; nearly $800! They were also able to SKYPE with Mr. Fischer while he was on an expedition in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

This year Mr. Fischer returned with Dr. Alex Hearn, a world-class scientist who specializes in the study of fish movements with a strong focus on conservation. Mr. Fischer and Dr. Hearn not only spoke about the importance of preserving our oceans but also gave some great life advice to the young campers.

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“An inch is a cinch and a yard is hard.”

Mr. Fischer explained when his team first started out, no one had ever done what they were attempting to do. By working together and taking little steps, they have been able to accomplish a lot, but there is still room for improvement. Mr Fischer shared his message that we have a lot of things we can improve on when it comes to ocean conservation and it starts with an inch.

One way OCEARCH is bringing attention to ocean conservation is with the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker app, available to download for free. The app allows you to see the shark migration patterns, just like the scientists who are studying them; you can even track individual sharks by name and see where they were tagged and where they have been since. I downloaded the app and follow OCEARCH on Facebook. I think it’s so cool to be able to see where the sharks have traveled.

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After OCEARCH was done with their presentation, I spoke with Kurt Hammel, Deer Valley Resort’s Children’s Programs Assistant Manager.

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Ryan: How did Deer Valley Resort get involved with OCEARCH?

Kurt:  We learned of OCEARCH from one of our staff members. We are always looking for people who have ties to the Park City community to get involved with our Summer Adventure Camp.

Ryan:  What is the biggest thing the kids take away from these presentations?

Kurt:  I think the oldest kids realize the impact that killing sharks has and that they need to be the next generation to help. The younger kids seem to be really fascinated with sharks.

Ryan: Do the kids ask you a lot of shark questions in the days after the presentation?

Kurt: Some of the kids could talk about sharks all day, every day! The boys love to make shark pictures. A lot of these pictures will end up in our Art Show at the end of the season.

Ryan: Can you tell me more about the Art Show?

Kurt: The annual Art Show is held the first week of August. It allows the campers to proudly display the many and varied art projects they worked on so diligently all summer. The pieces are available to purchase for a donation to that year’s S.A.V.E. project.

Ryan: What does S.A.V.E stand for?

Kurt: Summer Adventure Volunteer Effort. This effort raises money through an art show for a selected organization. Some of our past recipients have been the Carmen B. Pingree School for Children with Autism, Recycle Utah, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project and the Blind Children’s Learning Center.  In 2013, the kids raised $800 for The OCEARCH organization.

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Ryan: What other speakers do you have lined up for the Summer Adventure Camp?

Kurt: This summer we have some great speakers lined up, including former Olympians, the “Hired Guns” cowboy entertainers, Hawkwatch and an Origami demonstration during the week of our Art Show.

Ryan: Origami; see if they can make hawks and sharks.

Kurt: I’m sure the kids will ask for those first.

Ryan: What is your favorite part of the Summer Adventure Camp?

Kurt: The great thing about Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Camp is that we are involved in a broad variety of activities with the goal to be active in our community and at the resort as well. We are not sport/activity specific and kids get to experience a lot of different things in just one week here.

Ryan: Can guests still sign up their little ones for Summer Adventure Camp?

Kurt: Absolutely, Summer Adventure Camp is open until August 20. Parents can sign their children up weekly or even for just a day or two. For more information on the Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp, please visit the website here.

Have you downloaded the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker app? Tell me what you think in the comments below or on Twitter @RyanMayfield or @Deer_Valley.

Q&A with Kurt Hammel, Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp Assistant Manager

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Kurt (left) and summer campers balancing water bottles

Deer Valley Resort blog contributor Bari Nan Cohen caught up with Kurt just prior to the start of Summer Adventure Camp 2013, and got the inside scoop on Hammel’s own camp experiences and the adventures he and the other camp staffers have in store for lucky campers this summer.

Bari Nan: Where are you from?

Kurt Hammel: My hometown is Brockport, NY, which is just outside Rochester. I went to college in upstate New York, as well, and I worked at a variety of jobs–including a small ski resort–before getting the chance to teach at Deer Valley in March 2003. I never looked back!

BN: Growing up, what kind of summer camps did you attend?

KH: Mostly the weekly, sport-specific type, for basketball and baseball. The things I remember and cherish the most from those were the friendships that were made and the sense of camaraderie that was formed. Even if we were all only attending for a week we still bonded as teammates. I am still friends with some of those kids today 20+ years later.

120615_DV_Camp-132BN: Which activities are you most looking forward to sharing with campers at Summer Adventure Camp this year?

KH: I always look forward to keeping the kids connected to the classic summer activities. I can’t believe some kids have never played kickball, don’t get to ride a bike or jump rope often enough. Our goal at Deer Valley is to keep kids connected to the community and also to just have fun being outside. We make a lot of arts and crafts, have dress up days and go on field trips too. I am most excited for our water days, when we use hundreds of water balloons, pull out a giant slip and slide, fill up the squirt guns and have a blast!

BN: What features of Deer Valley Resort create unique opportunities for campers?

KH: Having a camp at Deer Valley is great. We have almost the entire resort at our disposal! All of the age groups can take advantage of ponds on Deer Valley Drive, whether it’s the younger kids walking down to feed the ducks or the older kids riding their bikes around the paved paths. The older kids go exploring on chairlift rides and use the hiking trails. The resort does a great job of maintaining the grassy outdoor areas and inside the lodges so we have the right venue for every activity. Because Snow Park Lodge is also on the Park City bus route, it is easy for all campers to take advantage of the great activities and parks in town.

120613_DV_Camp-242BN: Are there any changes to the camp experience this season that returning campers can look forward to enjoying?

KH: We are always working to keep camp fresh and exciting. This season we have changed some of the field trips for the kids ages 5 and up. For one, we will hike to and explore Timpanogas Cave! We are always working on new art projects for the kids and make sure they leave with a personal piece.

BN: What are your favorite ways to enjoy the summer when you’re not at camp?

KH: My wife is a local school teacher and we have one dog, Cannoli. We try to take advantage of the great Park City summer climate, with its warm sun and low humidity. It is a welcome change from the hot, muggy eastern summers. I am an avid golfer and try to be outside as much as possible. My wife and I enjoy hiking and camping with the dog and enjoy of all the natural beauty this area has to offer.