PASSING ON FISHING PASSION

Volunteer instructor assists kids at public fishing event.
Volunteer instructor assists at public event
Volunteer instructor assists child view fish otoliths at Big Bass Rodeo

LDWF Aquatic Volunteer Instructor Program Perfect For Those Who Want To Teach Fishing Basics To The Next Generation

story by Alayna McGarry, LDWF Staff

Some of our fondest childhood memories bring back recollections of peaceful fishing experiences out on a pier or a boat.

Maybe it was catching your first trout in a lake a few miles from where you grew up.

Or perhaps, the distinguishable smell of salt on your first offshore voyage is what sticks with you.

Regardless, our angling memories stem from someone showing us the wonderful art of fishing.

We at LDWF know fishing is far more than a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon. It’s a bonding experience - one passed from generation to generation and friend-to-friend.

And it’s that powerful thought process that led to the creation of the LDWF Aquatic Volunteer Instructor Program.

This free 8-hour workshop teaches future aquatic volunteer instructors about fisheries management and how to teach others to fish, from knot tying and casting techniques to fish identification and handling procedures.

All are encouraged to become an aquatic volunteer instructor, particularly those who shape the minds of young people such as teachers, after-school club advisors, scout leaders, youth group leaders, summer camp staff, parks and recreation staff, church groups, local community groups and homeschoolers.

Upon completion, aquatic volunteer instructors receive an informational binder including LDWF policy information as well as lesson plans and activity guides to aid in passing the fishing message along. Participants also have access to loaner kits, which include just about anything someone would need to teach the lessons. We’ll also provide rods and reels and other necessities for those interested in coordinating a fishing event.

The lesson plans and activity guides are correlated to Louisiana curriculum in order to make it easier for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Schools can even request LDWF’s Outreach team to come out during a professional development day to train teachers on how to bring fishing or fisheries science into the classroom.

Those interested in becoming an aquatic volunteer instructor are required to attend an 8-hour workshop. Lunch and snacks are provided during the course. Workshops will be held throughout the year at different locations across the state. Also, the LDWF outreach department will provide workshops on an on-demand, on-location basis depending on the number interested.

The workshop is packed full with information and hands-on activities. Everyone leaves with learning something new. Even professional and avid anglers have told us after the workshop that they learned something new which is always exciting to hear.

The program’s most dedicated volunteers are invited to a banquet at the end of the year as an incentive for donating their time to LDWF’s efforts.

“If you’re passionate about fishing and want to pass on that passion to others, we’d love for you to join Aquatic VIP. There are plenty of children who would be excited or adults who have never had the chance to go fishing that are just waiting for something new to learn. This program provides a great opportunity to get those people outside and show them what they’ve been missing,” said Danica Williams, Fisheries Extension Program Manager.

Additional Information

For more information on the Aquatic Volunteer Instructor Program, visit: www.wlf.la.gov/ldwf-volunteer-programs OR contact Alayna McGarry at 504-286-4050 or amcgarry@wlf.la.gov

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