Oak Mountain State Park near Birmingham will host the annual Exceptional Anglers event called “Gone Fishin’, Not Just Wishin’” on May 8-10, 2013. During the event special needs students from the Shelby and Jefferson county school systems, ages five to 21 with various physical and mental challenges, will be given the opportunity to fish. Students will also participate in art projects, perform with local musicians, listen to storytellers, and learn aspects of water safety including the proper use of life jackets.

The media are encouraged to experience the event between 9-11 a.m. on Media Day, Thursday, May 9. The fishing and festivities will take place behind the park’s main office.

“This event serves hundreds of people who might not otherwise have access to a fishing experience such as this,” said N. Gunter Guy, Jr., Commissioner, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “Without the hard work of our volunteers and the support of the sponsors this event would not be possible. We are very grateful for their help in enriching the lives of these students.”

Volunteers from many companies including ADCNR personnel will assist and teach students the basics of fishing. Students will each receive a keepsake photo of themselves with their catch. To make the experience a positive one, a small portion of the park’s lake will be enclosed and stocked with channel catfish and largemouth bass to make it easier to catch a fish.

Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact ADCNR representatives Jerry Moss, 205-331-1390 or Jerry.Moss@dcnr.alabama.gov, or Brenda Morrison, 205-477-6301 or Brenda.Morrison@dcnr.alabama.gov, for more details.

Gone Fishin’, Not Just Wishin’ sponsors include: ADCNR, Alabama Gas Company, Alabama Power Company, Alabama Power Foundation, Alabama Power Service Organization, Alabama State Parks, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Bessemer Eye Clinic, Bud’s Best Cookies, City of Pelham, Coco-Cola, Consolidated Pipe, Golden Flake, Jefferson County Adapted Physical Education, Jefferson County Board of Education and Transportation, Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham Police and Fire Department, Shelby County Board of Education, and Syx Bait.

Since May 1995, more than 895 Community Fishing Events have served 185,054 Alabama kids, families, seniors, and disabled participants. Upcoming events for children, persons with disabilities, and seniors are listed at www.outdooralabama.com/outdoor-adventures/fishing.cfm.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com .

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