First posted on 05-23-2014
by Dan Zarlenga
Research shows one of the biggest obstacles to trying a new activity is lack of knowledge. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) new Discover Nature—Fishing program aims to help families and youths overcome that obstacle by empowering them with all the knowledge they need to discover a lifelong activity.
Discover Nature—Fishing rolls out in the St. Louis area during the month of May. “This program is designed to get people outdoors and trying something new—fishing,” said Malcolm Royse, Discover Nature—Fishing Coordinator for MDC’s St. Louis Region.
The program is based on studies that show a single exposure to an activity is rarely enough to make a lasting impression. It requires multiple contacts with that activity to get someone to stick with it. Discover Nature—Fishing consists of four progressive lessons that move newcomers through all the basics of the sport, and onto a path of fishing independence.
“Instead of being a one-time, get in/get out experience, this program is set up with four different opportunities for a family to get out and catch fish, learn different aspects of fishing, and ultimately acquire a lifestyle,” Royse explained.
The main focus of Discover Nature—Fishing is kids 7-15 years of age, but it also emphasizes family involvement and encourages parents and guardians with youths 16 and over to participate as well. All youths must be accompanied by an adult. Adults new to fishing have the opportunity to learn the basics right alongside their children.
The classes are free and all fishing gear needed is provided. Each class runs two hours. After a class-room type lesson taught by trained Discover Nature-Fishing volunteers, participants then spend an hour or more fishing, putting what they’ve learned into practice.
The four classes include:
• Equipment, Casting, and Proper Fish Handling
• How to Tie a Knot and Bait a Hook
• Five Common Missouri Fish - Their Anatomy, Habitat, and Life Cycle
• Fishing with Lures and Fishing Regulations
• Discover Nature Fishing programs are currently being held at three locations; Forest Park, August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles, and Suson Park in South County.
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