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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Kids, Seines, Waders, and Planes

Region 3, September 18, 2013
Refuge intern Christopher Wagner teaches a student how to use the seine.
Refuge intern Christopher Wagner teaches a student how to use the seine. - Photo Credit: n/a
Park Ranger Judy Geck readies the scales, tape measures, and identification guides for processing the catch.
Park Ranger Judy Geck readies the scales, tape measures, and identification guides for processing the catch. - Photo Credit: n/a
Refuge Friends Inc. President Steven Sutter readies a northern pike for dissection.  The students got to learn about the internal fish as well as the external.
Refuge Friends Inc. President Steven Sutter readies a northern pike for dissection. The students got to learn about the internal fish as well as the external. - Photo Credit: n/a
Refuge Volunteer Marcia Lewis bravely took on the duties of lead data recorder.  She helped the students measure, weigh, and identify their catch.
Refuge Volunteer Marcia Lewis bravely took on the duties of lead data recorder. She helped the students measure, weigh, and identify their catch. - Photo Credit: n/a
Refuge staff Kristin Raveling with the fish-catching crew!
Refuge staff Kristin Raveling with the fish-catching crew! - Photo Credit: n/a
The day's catch included pumpkinseed, bluegill, yellow bullhead, bowfin, and yellow perch.
The day's catch included pumpkinseed, bluegill, yellow bullhead, bowfin, and yellow perch. - Photo Credit: n/a

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge hosts a wildly popular home school program for kids aged preschool through 6th grade. In late September, 4th-6th grade students participated in the first segment of a year-long study of the vertebrate classes. Refuge staff, interns, and volunteers got kids suited up in waders and marched them into the ponds where they learned how to use a seine, how to properly handle fish, and how to process fish exactly as our fisheries biologists do. The students were actively engaged in the whole process, and the students who normally don't like to get dirty were on their hands and knees, pulling small fish out of the muck in the net so they didn't "drown."

Students learned how to record length and weight of each fish and identified the fish in their catch. They were also treated to a dissection of a Norhtern Pike and learned the internal anatomy of the fish.

The students were actively engaged at all times, even with the distracting airplanes taking off and landing right over our heads. We all had a great time, and will continue to do so with the next installation of this program: frog dissection!

Contact Info: Kristin Raveling, 952-858-0715, kristin_raveling@fws.gov