Teach a Kid How to Fish

Hi again! It’s Kaylie here! I have so much to tell you since my last post. Last time, I introduced myself and gave you all a taste of what it is like to walk through the park at various units alongside the river. I am finally getting to enrich the young minds of local children living near the Chattahoochee River through fishing and birding programs that tap into a child’s natural wonder for the world around them and their eagerness to learn. Let me tell you more!
Above is a picture of myself and a young lady associated with an organization called Lekotek. This organization helps differently-abled children and their parents find activities and spaces to feel safe and have fun. Two Saturdays ago, the organizers from Lekotek met my ranger colleagues and me at the Island Ford Pond at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (NRA). Over the two hours or so, we taught the children some of the different parts of a rod, how to safely put bait on the hook, how to cast their line and reel it in, and stressed the importance of properly throwing away their trash, like old line or hooks. By the end of the day, the young girl displayed here, and the other children had such a great time! Lily even said she loved being out there that day and hugged each of us. She definitely tore at my heartstrings.

Up above are some campers from Dunwoody Nature Center (DNC). Every week this summer, DNC hosts a group of children from camps in the area at the Island Ford Unit at the Chattahoochee River NRA. I presented my first solo Junior Angler Program to them this past Thursday. I have to admit it was a little nerve-wracking at the start. But, by the end, the kids had fun, I had fun, and we all learned so much. They learned how to fish ethically, and I learned just how precious these early experiences with nature can be for children. Most importantly, three children caught four fish! Yes, one child caught two fish!

The final four pictures above depict the last program I presented thus far, with the help of some dedicated volunteers and my supervisor, Ranger Hightower. These lovely youngsters, their mother, and their grandmother joined us at the Akers Mill Unit at the Chattahoochee River NRA for their first fishing trip! We spent about four hours out there. They absolutely loved it! The little boy, seen at the far right looking down as I placed the Junior Angler badge on his shirt, said that this was the best day of his life. That nearly brought me to tears. It reminded me that what we do as Fish & Feathers Interns is essential for the community and ourselves.
The fun does not stop here! Next week I will start doing bird programs. I am so excited to tell you more. Until next time!

Fish & Feathers Intern

Kaylie S. Yale’

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