The county is partnering with UW-Madison, DNR, and 3 area community organizations to expand access to fishing and recreation for local low income children, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
Working with Madison-based Fishing Clubs, the county will reserve fishing sites for the children to use at its Jenni and Kyle Preserve, and provide additional training for college-aged student leaders to develop fishing skills, learn about the use of county park facilities, and fishing safety.
“Connecting people to the outdoors is an important mission for our county parks,” said Parisi. “Making it easier for youth to get involved in fishing and other outdoor recreation isn’t just fun, it also creates generations of people who care about our environment.”
Fishing Clubs are offered through the UW Madison’s Office of Service Learning and Community Based Research by the office’s director, Dr. Andrea ‘Tess’ Arenas, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Angler Education Program. The first Fishing Club was started locally in 2011 at Centro Hispano, serving Latino youth through two four week Fishing Club programs.
Based on the exceptional outcomes for Fishing Club participants, the program has expanded to a total of five Fishing Clubs throughout Wisconsin, with 3 in Madison. In addition to Centro Hispano, the Urban League of Madison, and the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County have their own clubs.
“Dane County Parks is very excited about reaching and serving youth in the area so that they become familiar with the many outdoor spaces which are open for public use, “said Darren Marsh, Dane County Parks Director. “We are always looking for ways to connect youth populations to our parks, and the UW-Madison Office of Service Learning and Community Based Research and Department of Natural Resources Fishing Clubs do just that.”
The student club leaders that assist the fishing clubs are the cream of the crop from UW Madison. Each has used their second language skills and cultural insider knowledge to develop culturally and linguistically specific fishing club curriculum under the guidance of Dr. Arenas.
“Learning to fish is a memorable experience, but not everyone has that opportunity. Fishing Club provides this opportunity to kids, which not only gets them outside during the summer but also promotes the early appreciation of nature and their surroundings,” said Dr. Arenas. “It is important for kids to have positive experiences outdoors today so that they can become the environmental stewards of tomorrow. It has been really rewarding to see the Fishing Club grow from Centro Hispano's pilot program to different communities of color across the state.”
The 3 Madison based Fishing Clubs are still enrolling participants, and local families are encouraged to apply. The clubs are located at:
Urban League of Madison: if you are interested in enrolling your elementary (ages 7 to9) and or middle school age (ages 10-14) child contact Jessica Alanis at 608-412-2040.
Centro Hispano: if you are interested in enrolling your child contact Eugenia at 608- 442-4016.
Boys and Girls Club: if you are interested in enrolling your child contact Beatriz Canas at 890 1217.
The Wisconsin DNR is providing fishing supplies, angler education material for participants, and training of club leaders on State of Wisconsin rules and regulations of fishing. In addition all club leaders were enrolled in Environmental Studies 600, Foundations in Environmental Curriculum Development taught by Dr. Arenas, UW Madison in Spring 2012.
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