(Lander, WY) – Over 100 Lander middle schoolers recently spent two weeks in their physical education class learning all about fly fishing which included stream ecology, tying flies, fish biology, and more.
Since he started working at Lander Middle School four years ago, teacher Chris Babb has worked to bring this curriculum to fruition and said it was a “roaring success.”
There is a need for students to get acquainted with skills transferable to life, he explained. And why not take advantage of the resources Wyoming has to offer by incorporating activities like fishing, hiking, and survival skills into PE classes.
This unit was made possible by volunteers and organizations all pitching in to teach the students about different aspects of fly-fishing. The organizations included the Lander Region Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Trout Unlimited’s local chapter the Popo Agie Anglers, and Lander-based NOLS Rocky Mountain.
President of the Popo Agie Anglers John Burrows shared this fits with their mission to education, restoration, and conservation. John, George Hunker and other volunteers helped them learn to cast fly rods as well as fly tying. They also took them down to the river, where they learned about stream ecology, which included identifying bugs.
It was a great success and I think the kids had fun, John noted.
NOLS Expedition Field Instructor Clair Smith helped with the fly tying portion and shared she is always excited to get people out into the outdoors doing activities and any way NOLS can help do that is fantastic. She also shared a reminder that scholarships are available to Fremont County residents through NOLS Rocky Mountain.
Game and Fish taught hands-on fish culture and biology, which included things like how to harvest eggs and fish dissection. They also provided a lot of the equipment, according to Lander Region Information and Education Specialist Rene Schell, who was glad to see the students getting to use it.
She also shared how great it is to see the community and organizations come together to make an impact and that she is excited to see students learning an inclusive lifelong sport.
The two-week unit wrapped up on a Saturday fishing at Luckey Pond with over 50 kids and their families.
Chris noted he plans to incorporate this into the yearly PE curriculum and thinks it can be a gateway to pursuing other outdoor activities like rock climbing and camping.
He also gave a big thank you to the community members who donated their time.
“I could absolutely not have done it without them,” he said.