Intern will continue OHIO students’ nature trail work at Kentucky camp

Published: April 10, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Camp Kum-Ba-Ya on Kentucky Lake is looking for an Ohio University student to serve as the camp nature intern this summer and to help implement a nature trail education system developed last fall by Ohio University professors and students from Environmental and Plant Biology.

Nine OHIO students traveled with professors Sarah Wyatt and Harvey Ballard to the camp in Marshall County, Kentucky, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, to lay out and create a nature trail and develop educational activities. But first, students in the PBIO 4900 Special Topic course had some heavy labor to do—cutting brush from fallen trees, using some of that brush to create a fish habitat, creating a new trailhead, designing and marking trail spurs, and more.


OHIO students are shown walking while getting ready to create a canoe nature trail.
The OHIO team gets ready to create a canoe nature trail.
Sunset on Kentucky Lake
Sunset on Kentucky Lake

The students spent the first part of the semester working with Ballard and Wyatt to learn more about the habitat at Camp Kum-Ba-Ya, which has about 45 wooded acres and a natural sand beach with a boat dock. Its diverse ecological zones include a dry oak and hickory forest on the ridgetop Bald Cypress swamp home to crayfish along the lakeshore. A peninsula is mesic sugar maple forest with hackberry and ironwood on one side, prairie-like with Lespedeza stipulacea and a weedy Andropogon on its tip, and lower-lying swampy ground home to frogs and amphibians on the west side.


Sarah Whitton is shown marking a trail
Sarah Whitton marking a trail.
Professor Harvey Ballard is shown leading a nature discussion
Professor Harvey Ballard leads a nature discussion as students get ready to build a trail.

As part of their work, the students in the class created interpretive material for the nature trail, identifying plants and wildlife, creating signage, and creating a manual that would assist interns in the future, complete with a nature trail scavenger hunt.

While the course syllabus planned how to set up the hiking nature trail, the OHIO students also took advantage of the camp dock and canoes to design for a canoe-based trail on Kentucky Lake.

The next steps will be undertaken by this summer's intern, who will help by adding nature trails on the east side of the property, expanding activities such as learning stations and meditation areas along the existing trails, and planting some native species at the trail entrance. The intern also will lead group nature walks and work with small groups on nature and environmental activities.


A photo of a box turtle
A box turtle. Photo by Caitlin Weber

Camp Kum-Ba-Ya is run by Christian Churches of Kentucky – West Area. Interested students should apply by April 28. The five-week internship runs from June 3 to July 18. Recommended background or skills include knowledge of local plants and forest management and ability to speak to children and youth about environmental and nature areas and issues.  Lifeguarding or first aid certification would be a plus but is not required. The intern will be working with children and youth ages 6-18 as well as volunteers and camp staff. Room and board will be provided at the camp on Kentucky Lake.

Interested students should contact: Susan Roberts, summer facility manager, at or phone 270-727-3159.

The OHIO team is shown playing a card game.
The OHIO team relaxing at the camp.
The OHIO team is shown taking break and relaxing
The OHIO team relaxing at the camp.