by Michael Kurre, Mentor Coordinator
From gills to smallmouth and perch to pike - you name it, they caught ’em. New anglers caught a little bit of everyting as part of the inaugural “I Can Fish!” program. In all, a total of eight Minnesota State Parks participated in the program which ran from early summer to its Labor Day “fin”-ally.
The “I Can Fish!” program paired MinnAqua/Naturalist Corp specialists with local anglers to provide free fishing, free use of equipment, free aquatic education opportunities and ample access to knowledgeable anglers. As a result, the program created lots of memories that will last a life time for hundreds of youths and families who took advantage of the weekly summer programming.
The local volunteer anglers, Park Naturalists and MinnAqua/Naturalist Corps interns were the keys to the program's success; their enthusiasm grew each week as the crowds learned of the hands-on angling opportunities available to them. The rewards for the participants were the skills, confidence and memories gained. The reward for the volunteers and staff was the smile on the face of every new angler with their prized catch. Many thanks go out to all the people who made this project a reality and a success. Because of these fine volunteers and dedicated state park employees, new anglers said on the last cast of the day “I Can Fish!”
You too can get involved or take advantage of the “I Can Fish!” program next year. If you would like to volunteer sharing your expertise in the outdoors or to provide an opportunity for your students, drop me a line. email Mike Kurre