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Boy Scouts Learn About the Missouri River
Midwest Region, March 23, 2009
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Our office has interacted with local Boy and Girl Scout of America organizations many times. We were excited about the chance to meet with them again when contacted by a scout-master in near-by Jefferson City.

We told the scout-master that we could talk about the Missouri River and show the scouts some live fish and the gears we use to catch them. 

 

Before the event, we were able to collect a few shovelnose sturgeon from the Missouri River and transport them to their meeting location. We parked our boat trailer near the building and set a few nets up for a demonstration. After the scouts went through their greetings, we began telling the boys about the Missouri River.

Some of them had fished the river, which flows through the state’s capital, but no one knew of how the river had been changed from its natural state. We explained how dams and channelization have affected the river and its aquatic life. We discussed our office’s role in monitoring fish in the Missouri River, particularly the federally endangered pallid sturgeon.

The scouts and their leaders had many questions about fishing on the Missouri River. When the questions ran out, we went outside to see the fish.

 

When all of the scouts had surrounded the boat, we pulled out the nets and explained how the fish are entangled in the different sizes of gillnet mesh. Their interest peaked when the cover was lifted off the hauling tank.

They had all fished and seen bass and catfish, but the ancient looking sturgeon was definitely a new face for them. It was a great opportunity to talk about the differences and similarities between species of fish. Even the parents asked great questions about the fish we catch and the work we do on the Missouri River.

To round off the evening, technician Chris McLeland gave a short lecture on the upcoming Wonders of Wildlife event occurring in May. Given that some of the classes would qualify these young scouts to earn different merit badges, they were eager to listen.

 

Overall, this was another great opportunity to interact with people who will be using the local natural resources. The Columbia NFWCO is glad to partner with the Boy Scouts of America to educate children about the land and creatures around them. Action 3.3.2 in the Public Use component of the Fisheries Program’s Vision for the Future states a need for outreach and education concerning recreational fishing.  

Contact Info: Andrew Plauck, 573-234-2132 ext 175, Andrew_Plauck@fws.gov



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