Project FISH equips adults with skills and materials to grow a new generation of anglers and environmental stewards

In a recent blog, I highlighted Gary Williams and his efforts, jointly sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, to get kids outdoors fishing. Another program at Michigan State University targets adult volunteers as partners in helping kids learn to fish and to appreciate Michigan’s aquatic wealth. Earlier this year, Mark Stephens, education program coordinator for the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resources Studies (CARRS) and Project FISH coordinator, led a two-day training workshop for teachers, Department of Natural Resources employees, 4-H mentors, professional anglers and Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteers at Gardner Middle School in Lansing. The goal was to train the adults to teach kids about fishing and aquatic resource management. There’s a general sense that kids don’t spend enough time outside these days (check out Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv) and fishing is one way to get them out into nature. It worked for me!

 Roxanne Coleman, grass roots program director for Pure Fishing Inc., flew in from the company’s South Carolina headquarters for the May workshop in Lansing and was able to see the diversity of interests of Project FISH participants at the workshop. For years, Pure Fishing has supplied fishing resources to Project FISH at a reduced rate.

 Both Gary Williams and Mark Stephens are examples of people who can make a difference and love what they do at the same time.

1 Comment

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One response to “Project FISH equips adults with skills and materials to grow a new generation of anglers and environmental stewards

  1. Mary Bohling

    So glad Mark’s work with Project Fish was highlighted. Mark and Project Fish also make a difference even when not directly involved in implementing a program. Mark and his contacts with Roxanne (also mentioned in Spotlight) helped me improve my Sea Grant booths at the 2010 Detroit River Days and Fish Smart, Eat Smart in Saginaw. Mark provided supplies for a fish printing activity and Roxanne donated fillet knives for our fish cleaning demonstrations. These activities allowed Sea Grant, and our booth partner Michigan Department of Community Health, to engage participants in more in-depth conversations about fish consumption advisories and making healthy choices when selecting fish species to eat. With their help, we reached at least 3000 people at the River Days event and 200 more people in Saginaw.