Every spring the adults get together at the Wisconsin Conservation
Congress Meeting. Lots of people have agendas. The trout people are
the worst of all. They want to you believe them and their reasoning
for keeping more trout and then the other group gives their reasoning
for keeping less trout. After they are done jousting and basically
break even they go back to their hunting and fishing clubs and talk bad
about the "other" side. Most of the hearings I have gone to I have
noticed a startling fact. The make up of the crowd at the hearing.
There are hardly ever any children at these meetings. Most times I
think that is a good thing because the adults in the crowds tend to act
like children and are "very" inflexible. It is their way or the
Two years ago I decided that the Conservation Congress meetings
could go on without me. I decided to focus my attention on the "best"
resource we have out there. It is right under these combatants noses.
It is the children at home and in our communities. Many children these
days are leaving the woods and the streams. They prefer their game boys
and computers. The next generation is not being taught the way of the
stream and field. I am on a one man crusade to try to change that in my
little corner of the world that is Southwestern Wisconsin.
Last fall I was asked to speak at the Madison Fishing Expo 2010. I
jumped at the opportunity. I saw it as a hands on avenue to redirect
some of the children from my area in to the great outdoors. I spoke
both days of the Expo. My presentations both days were focused on
getting children out and experience the wonders of nature. I also
walked the expo floor and talked with many children and tried to get
them on the right path. The last day ended and I thought to myself:
"What more can I do to get kids in to the outdoors?"
May came along and I was given the answer to that question. One of
my friends that is a guidance counselor at Desoto High School asked if I
would do an end of the year presentation on the "Great Outdoors" at her
school. I answered with a resounding yes. I spoke to many children.
They seemed like dry sponges that just wanting to be pointed in the
right direction. I was rewarded with a noon lunch in the cafeteria with
a table full of eager children that had just been introduced to the
great outdoors. These children were taught by me how to be good stewards
of the land and streams.
I decided to look for more opportunities like this. I saw the town I
lived inn (Richland Center) had a Fish Camp for the Summer Recreation
Department. I contacted my friend that ran it and asked if I got
influence some more potential trout anglers. I taught them proper
handling techniques and unhooking techniques for trout. I also taught
them responsible harvest. The waste not want not theory was emphasized
also. I taught the children to "not" blindly release an injured trout.
Trout are not play things or objects like golf balls or bats to be
discarded after use. I am sure I turned at least 10 of the children
(boys and girls) in to responsible trout anglers.
My mission is clearly not done. I was approached by the manager of
the Effigy Mounds Park. He asked me if I wanted to present to teachers
in the "Teach The Teachers" program they have every year at the park.
Teachers I thought? Who has more contact with children and many
generations of children than a teacher? The teachers gained continued
eduction credits for listening to my presentation. They asked many
questions and promised me they would go back to their classrooms and
spread the word.
I will be speaking at the Rosemont, Illinois Great Outdoors Show
January 26 through the 30th ,2011. One of my presentations every day of
the weekend will be called Angling 101. This presentation will be
focused on the novice angler and the young anglers. I am very much
looking forward to expanding my range in to Illinois and tapping the
untapped resource down there. You kids get your parents to take you to
the show. Please mom and dad don't leave the daughters at home. They
can catch fish as well as any boy