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Dale County's Newton Elementary

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Newton Elementary School

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Newton Elementary School girl with a nice channel catfish.

Rob McCarter with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division has the attention of Newton Elementary School students.

Channel catfish
were caught by the young anglers.

The children at Newton Elementary School were introduced to the wonders of fishing thanks in part to a grant by the Future Fisherman Foundation. The grant enabled Newton Elementary Physical Education teacher Wendy Weathers to receive a five-day course on teaching children basic boating and fishing skills, and purchase equipment that could be used to teach these skill through the PE program for many years to come. 

This Fall children at Newton have learned all about freshwater fishing, casting, tackle selection, water safety, and boating skills. The 2008 program culminated with a “Phish Ed” field day at Dale County Lake on October 21, 2008. Approximately 120 kids in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade arrived at the lake about 9 am, and were divided into 5 groups. The groups made 45 minute rotations among 5 stations. Stations had been set up to allow children to learn about and experience bait selection and fishing, cleaning and dissecting fish, cooking and eating fish, aquatic ecosystem interactions and fisheries management, and boating and water safety.

The event lasted until 2 pm, and utilized employees of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Section, Alabama Marine Police, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and over 50 teachers and volunteers. Grant money was used to purchase catfish from Sutton’s Fish Hatchery in Ariton to stock into a fish-out area that was netted off for this event. Judging from the 3 to 4 coolers of catfish caught by the kids, if appears that Mr. Sutton either stocked very hungry fish or many more were stocked than were ordered. Many of the kids hooked into catfish in the 3 to 5 pound range. All of the kids were able to leave with memories of a glorious day in the great outdoors that will hopefully lead to a lifetime of appreciation for our environment.

Any elementary school PE teachers interested in participating in the “Phish Ed’ program are encouraged to check out the Future Fisherman Foundation website at www.futurefisherman.org, then click on the “Phish Ed Grant” link. Questions about the program can also be sent to AL Aquatic Education Coordinator Doug Darr (Doug.Darr@dcnr.alabama.gov) or Wendy Weathers at weathers@centurytel.net

See the news release.

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