More than 160 young anglers learned about conserving and protecting Ohio’s natural resources while experiencing the thrill of catching fish Sept. 21 during the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Marietta Take Kids Fishing Day.
Held at scenic Buckeye Park and sponsored by the Ohio AFL-CIO, the event was part of a series of free, community-based youth outreach activities organized under Work Boots on the Ground—the USA’s flagship conservation program. It was also supported by national conservation partners Plano Synergy, Provost Umphrey Law Firm, Pure Fishing and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
Nine members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 972 donated 153 hours of their time to plan, organize and put on the special event in which kids from 2 to 15 years old learned how to rig their tackle and reel in feisty bluegills, bass, and catfish.
“It was a perfect day,” said IBEW Local 972 event organizer Nathan Bail. “The weather was warm and sunny, and the kids had a wonderful time catching a lot of fish.”
Each participant received a free rod-and-reel from USA partner Pure Fishing, and afterward, they and their families were treated to a picnic-style lunch at the park.
“The USA and IBEW teaming up to host an event like this really brings to light how much local unions and their members care about the future of the community,” said Bail. “That we want kids to have an opportunity to experience things that they might not normally have a chance to enjoy, and instill in them an appreciation for nature and the outdoors.”
While community outreach is a primary goal with Take Kids Fishing Day events across the country, of equal importance is the opportunity to open doors for youngsters to a way of life that cherishes the outdoor heritage, according to USA Conservation Manager Rob Stroede.
“Research has proven that outdoor-related activities such as fishing create participatory pathways for children to experience nature and help kindle a lifelong interest in environmental conservation,” he said. “Free events such as this one help promote the importance of education a future generation of American anglers from diverse communities and backgrounds; people who will one day carry the torch in the name of conservation and the outdoor lifestyle.”
“It’s a blessing to just be a part of what the USA does for conservation and the outdoors,” Bail added. “Hopefully we can continue to work together to make a positive impact on the community of Marietta.”
Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Work Boots on the Ground (WBG): WBG is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.