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Wildlife Academy worthwhile

November 25, 2012
The Altoona Mirror

During this past summer, I attended the Pennsylvania Buck Tails by the Wildlife Leadership Academy, or WLA, which I found from an ad in the Altoona Mirror.

It was a five-day, four-night intensive camp about white-tailed deer. We woke up around 5 o'clock every morning, and this was more than just a simple cam. We are building blocks for our futures.

We learned how to start to make changes to our communities and our futures. We were also given the incentive because we need to complete three outreaches as part of our camp.

There are four areas in which we can do our outreaches - media, creative arts, service and education. An outreach is something we do after the camp is over in one of these categories that pertain to nature or conservation. We still stay in touch with the supervisors of the camp to help us with certain outreach projects or project opportunities.

One of the things we did at camp was deer necropsy. I have done dissections in school before, but seeing someone thoroughly dissect such a large animal was something entirely new.

At first, I was apprehensive about it, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the people there were really kind to the squeamish people. We did plenty of team-building activities, which were a nice break from the teaching seminars.

We learned how to age deer by their jaws and antlers. We did field activities, where we learned to use various equipment that scientists use. We learned how to identify various plants, made a plant press, learned photography skills and so much more.

My favorite part was the shooting range. I had never shot a gun before, because I feel uncomfortable about killing animals. It turns out that I really enjoyed target shooting, though.

I experienced so much in such a short period of time. I am very glad I went and got to experience all of these new things. I want to be a marine biologist and even though this didn't specifically fit that, I got opportunities from the camp for marine biology.

I would recommend this camp to anyone who has a love of animals or the outdoors. You will find so many opportunities and new experiences. Plus the food was awesome.

I hope you will share my experience with your readers so more teens can find out about this amazing organization and get involved.

Vanessa Blanchard


Big Ten exit plan

I would love to see Penn State leave the Big Ten for the ACC.

Not for the erroneous calls but because of the way we were treated for the Sandusky case and NCAA sanctions - piling on like cowards, then claiming support.

As Neil Rudel suggested, though, I don't see the current president and/or athletic director taking these steps, which is another reason that they, along with the entire board - less the three new members - need to go.

A new president and board should move quickly to have the sanctions reduced - especially after additional information has followed the rush to endorse the Freeh report by our incompetent Board of Trustees.

And yes, take action now to get out of the Big Ten.

I know I am dreaming, but it is the holiday season. Hello, Santa Claus!

Tim Muri

Naperville, Ill.

PSU criticism bothersome

How does one continue to criticize the current Penn State football program? Just look at what they have been dealt and what they have been through.

What gives Neil Rudel the right to criticize Matt McGloin for being outspoken after the Nebraska game for criticizing the officials? Matt is just showing his love for the game, his passion, and the frustration after putting in such hard work.

I also don't understand letter writer Les Hart saying he is disappointed in the coaching.

Could you possibly ask for a better scenario - a better staff to say all the right things, to stay so positive and an offense so fun to watch?

Positive thinkers are winners, Les.

These kids are college students, not paid professionals. Let's show them a little love, at least locally.

Jim Prindible


For Big Ten, it's about the money

It is not about a PSU conspiracy. It's about who will bring the most money to the Big Ten.

If PSU beats Nebraska, Nebraska most likely gets a smaller bowl bid.

Without Ohio State and PSU going bowling, Big Ten revenues will be a lot less.

It's all about money. Just ask Mark Emmert.

Jim Scholz


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