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KODIAK: Connecting People With Nature
10 Region, April 3, 2009
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Kodiak Deputy Refuge Manager Mike Getman explains the benefits of using single hooks rather than trebles for catch and release fishing. Photographer Isaac Bedingfield,3/27/2009, Kodiak, AK
Kodiak Deputy Refuge Manager Mike Getman explains the benefits of using single hooks rather than trebles for catch and release fishing. Photographer Isaac Bedingfield,3/27/2009, Kodiak, AK - Photo Credit: n/a

“Helping people to enjoy the outdoors is something I’ve always done and enjoy doing, but with my hectic schedule lately, I wasn’t doing it often enough,” mused Kodiak Deputy Refuge Manager Mike Getman. 

Connecting People with Nature is not a new concept.  I just read Even Brook Trout Get the Blues published in 1992 by the popular author and fly fisherman, John Gierach.  One of the chapters included a discussion Mr. Gierach had with his fishing buddy concerning major world issues outside their own little universes.  They concluded that, “… there’s too much distance between humans and their natural environment,” and something needs to be done about it.

Regional Director Geoff Haskett’s memo sent to all Region 7 employees in January provided the encouragement I needed to get back into the game.  This memo authorized and encouraged every employee to use at least eight hours of regular work time annually to support the Service’s national priority of “Connecting People with Nature”.

Recently, my opportunity arose when I was contacted to participate in a wellness training program on the Kodiak U. S. Coast Guard base, the largest Coast Guard base in the world.  Service members and their families are a major component of the Kodiak community and also important partners for the Refuge.  The Guard members are usually assigned to Kodiak for three-years and have a desire to maximize their Kodiak experiences, but are often unfamiliar with Alaska outdoor opportunities.  The intent of this program was to offer financial, health, and mental wellness advice to service members and their families.  I suggested to the program directors that “Connecting People with Nature” would be a great mental wellness topic. They agreed and I volunteered to present a program on Fishing the Kodiak Area.

My presentation provided the tools to better prepare them to go fishing and enjoy the great outdoors. A Coast Guard officer summed it up best with his statement “You’ll catch more fish using the right technique and the wrong fly than you will fishing the right fly incorrectly.”  His advice also included: “get out, go fishing, look, and learn!” 

At the end of this program, we all suffered from a sever case of fishing fever even though outside laid two-feet of snow and no sign of spring.  I’m sure I’ll see these people out fishing soon though.

I drove home that night with a feeling of satisfaction for doing something to encourage people to spend more time outdoors learning about nature and participating in recreational activities.  An added bonus was doing this for members of our military as a small thank you for all they do for us.


Contact Info: Michael Getman, 907-487-2600, michael_getman@fws.gov



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