Youth Education Report

by Greg Kucharewski

(from Jersey Coast Anglers Association April 2004 Newsletter)


Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association, Inc. is taking the lead teaching children how be a mate on a vessel.  Children will sign up from local schools in the area and partner with boat captains to learn what is needed to become a captain or mate.  The JCAA Youth Education Committee will assist by providing curriculum materials that can be revised to support the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association mate program.  We are working closely with Captain Lindsay Fuller and will supply materials from the HOFNOD and “Passport to Fishing and Boating” programs.


On Friday, May 14, 2004 the JCAA Youth Education Committee will present a fishing and aquatic education program at Lanes Mill School, Brick, NJ in support of the school’s annual Reading Rally.  Dr. Eleanor Bochenek, Rutgers Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, will conduct a presentation about a healthy watershed and teach children basic fish biology.


Over two hundred children visited the JCAA Youth Education Booth at the New Jersey Boat Show, Convention & Exposition Center, February 26-29, 2004.  Sue Nicolini, Flotilla 7-11, volunteered to assist with creating fish prints for children as they stopped to learn about Gyotaku (Japanese Fish Printing). We also assisted Mimi Dunne, New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, Mike Danko, Sea Grant, and Melissa Danko, NJMTA at their booth with introducing the new “Passport to Fishing and Boating.”


Stafford Township is planning their first annual “Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs” event.  Cathy O’Leary and Debbie Seitz will coordinate the event for over 340 fifth grade students.  The JCAA Youth Education Committee will support the event by providing loaner fishing rods and reels.  The event is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, May 12 and 13, 2004.  The program is geared to introduce youth to recreational fishing while emphasizing angling skills, environmental education, stewardship and drug prevention.  Please phone Greg Kucharewski 732-785-9278 if you would like to become a volunteer for this event.


The JCAA Youth Education Committee assisted members of the Newark Bait and Flycasting Club in celebrating their youth fun fishing night.  Over 60 youngsters learned how to cast, boat safe and protect a watershed.  Two volunteer Scouts, Brian and Colleen, demonstrated stations from the "Passport to Fishing and Boating" program.  Fish Habitat and Handling-Building a watershed and habitat helps participants understand how to promote healthy places to fish and boat.  Fish biology helped children learn the parts of a fish and how to handle a fish.  Boat Smart, Boat Safe was another activity where children learned the importance of wearing a life jacket and rescue techniques that encourage using the Reach, Throw, Row and Go safety method.  The JCAA Youth Education Committee provided a rod and reel outfit for the grand prize drawing and all the children received goodie bags that contain  “Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs” drug awareness material, terminal tackle, fishing books and prizes.


The Absecon Saltwater Sportsmen Club, in conjunction with the nationally-affiliated Kids “Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs” program, is inviting 7th and 8th grade middle school students from Atlantic County to participate in our annual essay writing contest.  This contest is open to thirty-two public and parochial schools and over 4000 students countywide.  The subject is “How the inlets, bay, estuaries, tidal rivers and lakes of the Absecon Islands affect and impact our lives.”  The essay is one to three typed pages and can include perspectives of recreational and commercial fishermen and shellfishermen, naturalists, conservationists, hunters, trappers, tourists, water sport enthusiasts, marinas and tackle/bait shops, boat dealers and everyday residents.  Again, our contest is multifaceted as it helps children understand the important role that our tidal area plays in our lives by introducing them to the wondrous arrays of activities that is available to them in their own backyard.  It further offers the school’s communication and science departments an opportunity to expose students to research and writing skills, both of which are necessary as they move onto secondary education.  It also allows teachers an opportunity for their students to be involved in a project that they can relate to and that project can count as a graded assignment or perhaps an extra credit opportunity, as the teacher sees fit.  Thirty winning essay writers will be invited for a day trip in the back bays aboard a licensed chartered boat operated by a Coast Guard licensed Captain and crew.  We have invited several guests to include the NJ Director of Fish and Game, Bradley Campbell, several local middle school teachers involved with the local “Adopt a Stream Program,” George Vissey, a nationally recognized conservationist/environmentalist whose documentaries include “The Great Egg Harbor Watershed,” among others.  The Absecon Saltwater Sportsmen Club expects to offer an ecological tour of the Absecon Islands.  The tour will include wildlife and sea life identification, habitat and vegetation identification, and while doing some Back Bay flounder and bluefish fishing we expect to conduct a fish handling, identification, measuring and tag and release program.  Refreshments, prizes and awards are to be given to our winners.  For more information, please contact Larry Carlson, 922 First St., Northfield, NJ, 08225.


Invite a friend to STEP OUTSIDE and earn rewards!  As an avid outdoorsman or woman, you know the joy of spending time pursuing game with a rod, bow or gun… reveling in all nature has to offer… the unmatched feeling of companionship that you share with your hunting or fishing buddy. You know the satisfaction of bringing home wild food for the table, and the knowledge that is gained with every trip whether or not you bring anything home.  There are thousands of people who have never experienced the benefits of outdoor sports – you probably even know several of them!  They would welcome the opportunity to go afield with you fishing or hunting.  They simply need to be asked.  The Division of Fish and Wildlife has partnered with New Jersey retailers to help promote the concept STEP OUTSIDE.  This National Shooting Sports Foundation program encourages individuals, sportsmen groups, retailers and agencies to work together to encourage participation in the traditional outdoor sports. (See http://www.stepoutside.org  for more information).  During the months of March through May, area retailers will help encourage you to take a friend, family member or coworker outdoors to share your favorite outdoor pursuits.  Pick up the information at selected retailers, or get it on-line (www.njfishandwildlife.com), and then STEP OUTSIDE.  Look for displays at Ramsey Outdoor (all locations), Busnardo’s Sportsmen’s Center (Bridgeton), Sportsmen’s Center (Bordentown), Side by Side Firearms (Denville), Fishing Plus (Parsippany), Efinger’s Sports (Bound Brook), Harry’s Army & Navy (Robbinsville) and Bob Kislin’s, Inc. (Toms River).  When you complete the registration form and return it to your favorite retailer, they will give you 10% off your purchase.  This discount can be used to get your new hunting or fishing buddy started.  Of course, the real reward will be the satisfaction you get in cultivating a new outdoors enthusiast.


On February 28th in Camden, New Jersey about 50 children from 4 to 14 years of age learned about the “Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs” program.  Dr. Eleanor Bochenek assisted Wayne Tonnesen, NJ HOFNOD Coordinator and taught 5th and 6th graders about fish habitat and fish biology.  The program was introduced to inner-city youth and will be reinforced throughout the summer months