Mentoring & MinnAqua

It's all in the presentation!

by Michael Kurre, Mentor Coordinator

August 2011


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Mentoring and MinnAqua Archive

As anglers going after walleye, bass, or mighty sturgeon, we seldom make multiple presentations of a lure or bait to the same location more than once. After all, fish only bite on the first offering, right? Well, maybe not.

Think about this -- professional tournament anglers are always reading the mood of our scaly friends and pitching repeated presentations to the exact same location to learn what might trigger that lunker into biting. They might try different speeds or angles at which the bait is reeled-in, or the wounded action that is imparted to the lure. Details like the color of the lure, the type of the bait (live or artificial), the size of the bait or even the sun's location in the sky are all additional factors in an angler's presentation.

Every day is an adventure in trying to outsmart a fish with a brain the size of a pea. Some days we get lucky, but the professionals are consistently more productive because they utilize as much knowledge as possible about fish, habitat, and predator-prey relationships.

When it comes to introducing our youth to the outdoors as good stewards, should we rely on luck, or can we utilize a more systematic approach?

Mentor and Youth

Mentor Pete Takash assists a young angler

No two students become skilled in the same manner. Some are hands-on learners; Others can read the instructions and be knowledgeable very quickly with the subject. Others need only a visual demonstration, and some need all of the above. The Outdoors Mentoring Program can help in providing experiences and people who can help you "set the hook" in your efforts to educate students and help them become stewards of the outdoors.

A new lure in our tackle box is the Outdoor Advisor newsletter, which contains pertinent outdoor information on programs sponsored by the Minnesota DNR and community organizations.  The newsletter highlights hands-on skills opportunities at DNR and public venues; visual aids like popular outdoors websites; outdoors television shows and organizations that might interest the students after their initial introduction; as well as audible opportunities through radio shows and podcasts. The newsletter also gives you ways you can “drop me a line”.

Nearly 300 Outdoor Advisors and groups and are now part of the growing mentoring community that already receives the Outdoor Advisor. Joining them are 91 individuals who have had background checks and received training to become DNR Certified Outdoor Mentors. These outdoor coaches are looking to make a difference in the classroom or the field.

It is simple to sign-up for the Outdoor Advisor or to be matched up with a DNR Certified Outdoor Mentor. Just make your next cast to my email address at: Michael.Kurre@state.mn.us or for more information on outdoor opportunities reach out and Discover Your Outdoors.