Fire destroys Nature Center at Ohio FFA Camp in Carroll County


CARROLLTON, Ohio — A fire destroyed the Nature Center at the FFA Camp in Carrollton in the evening hours April 11.

Todd Davis, FFA Camp Muskingum director, said arson has been ruled out, but due to severe damage, a cause cannot be declared at this time.

He said the fire appears to have started near the electric box.

Fire discovered

Flames were discovered around 10 p.m. and three birds of prey including two barn owls and one red tail hawk were rescued. Their cages were adjacent to the building.

However, other live animals inside the building succumbed to the flames. They included an iguana, tarantula, chinchillas, a rabbit, snakes and a bearded dragon.

“We had a really nice Nature Center. It’s very sad,” Davis said.

He said the Nature Center is really close to Dorm Two, where construction of two bathrooms are under way.

No estimate

There is no damage estimate yet since the insurance company has not made it to the site, as of late afternoon April 12. However, Davis said the building is totaled.

Davis said the camp’s environmental education program will be the hardest hit by the fire. He said this is the time of the year when the most students go through the center.

“It’s going to be a big loss for our program this spring,” he said.

Meeting set

A meeting is set for April 13 to make adjustments and try to come up with a new plan to replace what was lost in the Nature Center.

He said another camp location may be utilized for the program, and talks with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Hocking College have already occurred to see what other resources can be utilized to replace the exhibits.

“We are hoping to acquire some things on loan. Other programs do not use some exhibits in the summer, so we are hoping we may be able to obtain them,” Davis said.

He said he feels the program will continue but it won’t be at the scope that it was previously or in as nice a building as the Nature Center.

Davis said if something like this had to happen, it was at a good time because there are no campers staying this week or next, and that allows the camp to come up with an alternative plan.

“We were hurt, but we will recover, move forward and be even better,” he said.

The fire was fought by firefighters with the Carrollton, Perrysville, Scioto and Brown Township fire departments.

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  1. My husband and I visited the Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum just one month ago when visiting our daughter. Amy is presently one of the staff members working at the camp. We photographed her with many of the animals that were housed in the Nature Center as she gave us a tour of the camp. She and all the staff are struggling with the loss of the animals they have all come so attached to. Thank you for the article.


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