This is pretty cool. Many people have issues with some of the decisions made by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks over the years, but you can’t argue that the “Hooked on Fishing” program for elementary school kids is pretty cool. Montana FWP created the program for awareness and to teach kids in fourth, fifth and sixth grades about Montana fish, aquatic resources and fishing in a once-a-month class that lasts an hour. Anything involving educating youngsters on our wildlife and aquatic species is a good thing, in my opinion. Another cool thing about the program is 2016 marks the program’s 20th year in operation.
The American Fisheries Society recently presented a prestigious national education award to Montana FWP’s “Hooked on Fishing” program. Here is the Montana FWP release about it:
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ “Hooked on Fishing” program for elementary students has won a prestigious national education award from the American Fisheries Society (AFS).
The statewide education program offers students in the fourth, fifth or sixth grades hour-long classroom components once a month during the academic year to help them develop an awareness and appreciation for Montana fish, aquatic resources and fishing. During the current academic year, the program is in 224 classrooms with more than 5,400 students in Montana, including 36 classrooms with more than 880 students in Billings.
The “2016 Aquatic Education Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Project of the Year” award was presented to FWP Angler Education Coordinator Dave Hagengruber Dec. 8 at the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Helena.
AFS representative Ken Kurzawski said Montana’s program has developed a strong presence among Montana youth and teachers the past 20 years. “These awards are intended to both highlight the importance and effectiveness of the Sport Fish Restoration Program and recognize excellence in fisheries management, research, and education,” he said.
The Sport Fish Restoration Program, also known as the Dingell-Johnson or Wallop-Breaux program after its primary Congressional sponsors, is funded by an excise tax collected on fishing tackle, boats and motorboat fuel. The revenues then are returned to the states to enhance fisheries management and boating programs.
More than 70,000 students have participated in Montana’s program since its inception. Classroom and field components include lessons on aquatic invasive species, native fish, fishing regulations, ethics, identification, anatomy, water cycles, math, biology and other topics. All lessons are correlated to state teaching standards in appropriate areas.
With some 80,000 members worldwide, AFS is the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to strengthening the fisheries profession, advancing fisheries science and conserving fisheries resources.