Fisheries conservation begins with having fun and learning!

Catherine Gatenby

Catherine Gatenby is a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In recognition of June being National Get Outdoors Month, today we highlight some of the great work our fisheries program is doing to get people outside to enjoy recreational fishing, boating and other nature related activities. Fisheries biologist Catherine Gatenby takes us on a regional tour of programs happening at several fisheries offices throughout the states in the region.

An excited young angler shows off his prize catch with Dr. Mike Millard at the Northeast Fishery Center Kid's Fishing Day. Photo credit:USFWS

An excited young angler shows off his prize catch with Dr. Mike Millard at the Northeast Fishery Center Kid’s Fishing Day. Photo credit: USFWS

It’s summer in the Northeast!  It’s field season, filled with fairs, festivals and fishing.

Teaching at a festival

Educating and informing community members about our work is one way to help prevent the spread of harmful invasive aquatic species. Photo credit: USFWS

At this time of year, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fisheries staff are out on the water and in our communities working to protect and restore our fisheries and help raise awareness of environmental issues while helping families enjoy the outdoors at local festivals and fishing events.

Young people from Buffalo, New York help plant pollinator gardens. Photo credit: USFWS

This young lady from Buffalo, New York is helping plant pollinator gardens. Photo credit: USFWS

We’ve also been helping youth explore careers in conservation, observe nature through photography, plant pollinator gardens, investigate aquatic bugs and fish, and learn about healthy habitats.  For two years we’ve been working with urban school children and Girl Scouts in Buffalo, New York, to restore habitat at an historic grain elevator site along the Buffalo River. Through hands-on activities, we teach children and their families the importance of native plants, trees and wetlands to maintaining a healthy ecosystem, and how every green space we restore helps improve water and food quality for fish, wildlife and people.

Proud anglers at the White Sulphur Springs Rotary Children's Fishing Derby.

Proud anglers at the White Sulphur Springs Rotary Children’s Fishing Derby. Photo credit: USFWS

Did you also know that being outdoors and listening to nature reduces stress in kids and adults? You can learn more about this subject at the Children and Nature Network and at The Dirt’s blog about what dose of nature we need to feel better.

 

The Project Healing Waters program in Salem, Virginia, recognizes the healing benefits of being outside and work with the Roanoke Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery and the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center to connect wounded veterans with a favorite outdoor past-time – fishing!

These Veterans are enjoying a day outside fishing. Photo credit: USFWS

These Veterans are enjoying a day outside fishing. Photo credit: USFWS

Working at these veterans fishing events can be life-changing as well. One volunteer has been inspired to pursue a career helping the environment because of her experiences at the Richard Cronin National Salmon Station in Massachusetts.  Josie Cicia shared her story with us in a recent blog.

Fishing with a "buddy" can be useful when you need help netting a big fish! Photo credit: USFWS

Fishing with a “buddy” can be useful when you need help netting a big fish! Photo credit: USFWS

The Northeast Fishery Center and the Lloyd Wilson Chapter of Trout Unlimited also enjoy assisting children who need help getting outdoors and connecting with nature.  Every year children visit the Northeast Fishery Center as part of their life skills support program for a day of learning how to fish and building confidence.

Exploring streams is one way to learn about aquatic wildlife. These kids are certainly learning from their "hands-on" experience! Photo credit: USFWS

Exploring streams is one way to learn about aquatic wildlife. These kids are certainly learning from their “hands-on” experience! Photo credit: USFWS

Educating our youth and communities about the natural world in which we live is an important part of the Service mission. We aim to provide meaningful experiences that will help ensure there are scientists, conservationists, anglers, artists and citizens that are passionate about the outdoors who will work together to sustain healthy environments for generations to come. Learn more about events we host in your community or invite us to your local event or school.  We’d like to join you in raising awareness about the environment and help our young people get outdoors and stay healthy.

 

 

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