Math, science, history and … fishing?
While fisheries management and angling may not be on the provincial school curriculum, the non-profit organization Fish Futures has been doing its best over the past few years to ensure students in Manitoba schools are exposed to this important part of our province’s history, economy and recreational landscape.
The organization received a grant of $2,500 from the MLOA’s HAPF in 2015, and program coordinator John Toone Jr. said that allowed him and fellow school visit leader Don Lamont to double the number of schools they toured last year, as well as allowing them to hit schools in rural areas, which they haven’t had much budget for in the past.
Students learn about things like fish biology, ecology and angling opportunities, and are also introduced to the Youth Angling Card artwork contest, which is a unique way into further discussions on fish. This year, for example, students were asked to draw a lake sturgeon for the contest, which Toone said led them to discussions on everything from Manitoba Hydro’s impact on rivers to indigenous harvest rights, the environment and conservation.
“There’s certainly a great interest in fishing in the schools and as far as I know this is the only chance they get to hear about fish and fishing in the schools,” Toone said. “I’ve already got a list of teachers who want us to come this year.”
The program has been running for eight years now, and Toone said the HAPF contribution helped to cover travel costs for visits to places like Brandon, Lac du Bonnet, Alonsa and Ebb and Flow First Nation, in addition to Winnipeg, where Toone visited this year with an English as a Second Language class for the first time. The funding also helps pay for handout materials for the kids and costs related to the Youth Angling Card artwork contest, which received a record number of entries this past year (almost 300).
For more information on the school visit program and the artwork contest, please visit www.youthanglingcard.ca