Fishing At Anacostia Park

Every Friday and Saturday community fishing programs are hosted at Anacostia Park. I’ve been tasked with aiding Bruce Homles of the organization Friends of Anacostia in fishing operations and now I look forward to these programs at the start of every work week.

My Fridays

Although I love my Saturday community fishing days, I have to admit I’m a bit biased toward Fridays. This is ultimately because that’s when the Junior Ranger Angler program for the kids takes place. Working these days has only emphasized the importance of these programs for me.

First, I see myself in every single one of these kids. So many children (Black children specifically) are incredibly interested in environmental fields and studies but do not see people within their communities engaging with the outdoors. This lack of representation reinforces a lack of interest, already spurred by the limited resources available for minority communities to participate in these programs.

Being able to be the “cool college student” from the children’s perspective, helping them envision themselves connected to the outdoors in the future when they’re my age, genuinely makes me emotional. Not only because it’s what I love, but because it’s what my community needs to exist outside of a system that does not care for us, allowing us to provide for ourselves instead.

An Example for advocates

Since working here, I’ve been in close contact with the Friends of Anacostia, and they’ve displayed a great example of communal support and what happens when Black people are in positions to care for our own communities. As community members, they truly care for the people that come to Anacostia Park and have demonstrated to me what true community looks like.

Mr. Holmes frequently tells me that when he makes decisions for the fishing program, he’s making them as a community member, not just a park worker. This mindset led him to work towards getting community members their fishing licenses for free after working with him, aiding this community in becoming more self-sufficient. Things like this happen because the Friends are truly the community working for the community, and they’ve been an example to me of how to serve a community. Many of their ideas and actions are grounded in genuine conversations with visitors about how the Friends can support them, and their example is something I will take with me into my own advocacy work, completely separate from NPS.

My Saturdays

Saturdays are community fishing days, where anyone can come out and learn from Mr. Holmes, as well as fish on their own. We provide rods and bait and let the rest happen naturally. These days have shown me just how caring the Anacostia community can be. The amount of sharing (information and resources) that goes on these days is amazing, and I’d encourage anyone who might be shy about fishing to try it out anyway! Even though it may be intimidating watching the experts who look like they know exactly what they’re doing, I guarantee this is one of the sweetest communities I’ve been a part of lately.

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