Barbs and Backlashes


Recruit, Develop and Retain by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
July 22, 2009, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Fishing | Tags: ,

This past weekend I helped at the “Focus on Forever” workshop held in Grand Island.  This workshop was hosted by Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever and the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission.  I had a couple of sessions on “Sharing the fun of fishing with kids”.  Anyway, many folks are familiar with Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever and the great things they have accomplished.  They call themselves “The Habitat Organization” and pheasant and quail habitat is their emphasis, but they are also committed to youth programs to get more kids in the outdoors.

Why is that important?

Jim Posewitz, Executive Director of Orion the Hunter’s Institute, http://www.huntright.org/home.aspx was the closing speaker and I thought his message was excellent (by the way, some of Jim’s books can be found on that website and I would HIGHLY recommend them!).  I will do a poor job of summarizing what he said, but here goes.  We have developed the most successful fish & wildlife management model in the history of the world here in North America.  That model is based on a conservation ethic–the natural resources belong to us, the citizens, and we are responsible for taking care of them.  Anyone who knows anything about American history knows that we have not always done a good job of taking care of our natural resources.  Fortunately, there have been those that have stepped up, men like Teddy Roosevelt and done something about it.  Those that led the way cared about our fish & wildlife and natural resources because they had developed their own appreciation for those resources by being in the field or on the water.  In most cases they were in the field or on the water in pursuit of fish & game.  Hunters, anglers and trappers were the original conservationists!

“Fast-forward” to the 21st century.  We have a society that is more urbanized, too busy, and spends less and less time in the outdoors.  What is the future of our natural resources and in fact the very future of our country if folks do not develop that appreciation for the outdoors?  What is the future of our resources if we do not have hunters, anglers and trappers, the original conservationists, in the future?  That is why many organizations, agencies and individuals are placing a lot of emphasis on recruitment, development and retention of hunters, anglers and trappers–it is critical that we do!

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever has hosted a “Focus on Forever” workshop this year and last year to emphasize the importance of that mission and to help their members and chapters in their efforts.  I would hope that all outdoorsfolks would do what they can.

Let me put a more personal, human touch to this.  Teaching a class or helping to conduct a fishing workshop is not for everyone.  But, I am sure everybody can find somebody and take them fishing!  I have kids, I have nieces and nephews and most of them have been on the water with me at least once.  Find a kid and take ’em fishing!

Last winter my son and I took a couple of boys from church ice-fishing.  We waited until a nice warm day so they would be comfortable and we had a blast.  We also caught fish.

Daniel and "the boys" with some nice bluegills

Daniel and "the boys" with some nice bluegills

A week or so later I got a handmade thank you card.

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Isn’t that about all the thanks a guy could ask for?

GO FISH!

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