Working to Preserve South Dakota’s Hunting & Fishing Heritage!
Youth Conservation Camp
​The South Dakota Wildlife Federation sponsors an annual one-week conservation education workshop camp for 120 South Dakota boys and girls between the ages of 15 and 17. The workshop is held at Camp Bob Marshall in the Black Hills in early June. Since the first camp was held in 1964, thousands of South Dakotans have experienced the importance of a conservation-minded life after attending this camp.  The camp was originally authorized by the South Dakota Wildlife Federation at its convention in Custer in 1963. The first camp was held the first week of June ​1964 with 63 boys in attendance. The camp has continued to be held annually in June.
How Do I Apply?      
Apply directly to a local sportsperson's club in your area or to a local Soil Conservation District Office. These organizations screen applicants as to eligibility and sponsor youth to the camp. The organizations have priority for reservations January 1st through March 1st. 

If neither of these is available to you, your application may be mailed directly to Mike McKernan, Camp Director, Chris Hesla, Director of the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, or to any Assistant Camp Director.

The camp has a Director, 2 Assistant Directors, 2 Counselors for each cabin of 12 delegates, and other staff members.  Camp participants are housed in rustic cabins with modern bathrooms and eating facilities.

Who May Attend?
Any student in the 9th, 10th, or 11th grade who is in the upper half of their class scholastically and is interested in conservation as a hobby or vocation is eligible to ​attend.
A check in the amount of the camp registration fee should also be included. Individuals need not be named until May 1st when all names must be submitted.  Applications for camp will be accepted from January to March 1st for priority applications. After March 1st, reservations will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis until the camp quota is filled.

Reservations can be cancelled and checks refunded up until May 15th, after which no refunds will be made.

Arrangements will be available for transportation to and from the camp.

Courses Offered
• Archery 
• Conservation Officer Investigations 
• Fish Netting/Lake Survey 
• Lake/Stream Fishing 
• Insect Identification 
• Solve the Case 
• Stream Ecology 
• Bird Basics 
• Boating Safety 
• Wildlife Photography 
• Fly Tying 
• Deer/Elk Tracking 
• Shooting Skills 
• Lighting Ceremony at Mt. Rushmore 

There are a total of four awards presented at the camp. 

• "Doc McClellan Award" recognizing the outstanding staff member or presenter during the camp.

• "Swede Larsen Award" reognizing the outstanding efforts of an individual who promoted the camp. 

• "Bob Erdman Award " recognizing the outstanding male participant.

• "Ervin Roher Award"recognizing the outstanding female participant. 

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© 2012 South Dakota Wildlife Federation. All Rights Reserved.
PO Box 7075 Pierre, SD 57501 | 605-224-7524
Assistant Camp Directors
Dan Opp
12146 - 392 2nd Avenue
Columbia, SD 57433
(605) 396-2372

Tom Putzier
6324 Country Lane
Aberdeen, SD 57401
(605) 225-6600

​Charles Rokusek
5208 W Emmitt Circle
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
(605) 362-9827 
Contact Information
Mike McKernan, Camp Director
P.O. Box 246
Murdo, SD 57559
(605) 669-2829

Chris Hesla, Executive Director, South Dakota Wildlife Federation
P.O. Box 7075
Pierre, SD 57501-7075
(605) 224-7524
Celebrating the 51st Year of Youth Conservation Camp
June 2014
Photos by Mike McKernan