Texas Camel Corp
Since 1995, the Texas Camel Corps has been educating people on the unique part camels played in opening up America's West.
Owner Doug Baum had stumbled across this little-known piece of history while a zookeeper doing research on the animals in his care.
Though these beasts of burden have served man for almost 4,000 years, Baum realized there was a lack of awareness of camels and desert ecology as well as the historic US Camel Corps of the 19th century. Thus was born the education arm of the Texas Camel Corps.
Since 1997, the Texas Camel Corps has created curriculum for VisionQuest, a national placement agency for at-risk youth. For ten days each month, Baum instructs a dozen youth in camel handling and takes them on a 3-day CamelQuest. The benefits derived from the program are intensely personal to Baum, given his love of children and education. Previous CamelQuests have taken place in Arizona's Coronado National Forest and Sonoran Desert, as well as the Big Bend region of Texas.
In 1999, the Texas Camel Corps began offering Camel Treks to the public in the Big Bend region of Texas, over the very same areas traversed by the original Camel Corps of the 1850's and 60's. Available year-round, the multi-day treks focus on desert ecology, the natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert and the colorful past in which the camels took part. Current offerings include the Big Bend region of Texas, Monahans Sandhills State Park and and tours of Egypt and the Sinai desert where guests live in the homes of locals.
The Texas Camel Corps has been featured in Southern Living magazine, Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, AAA's Texas Journey Magazine, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine as well as True West Magazine, US Airways Magazine, the New York Daily News, the New York Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. National Geographic Explorer TV program included the Texas Camel Corps in a segment on Canada's Odyssey Exploration Society, three Canadian adventurers who crossed the Arabian Desert after receiving camel-handling training from the Texas Camel Corps.
Creating new, innovative ways to share these marvelous animals with people is what drives the Texas Camel Corps.