Fisheries, Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America
Fisheries Conserservation for Tomorrow

The youth of today hold the future of fisheries conservation in their hands. However, several generations of Americans are unaware of the fact the natural resource agencies including the Fish and Wildlife Service canít go it alone when it comes to stewardship of our waters, aquatic species and their habitats. During the short history of fisheries and aquatic species conservation programs in this country, there has never been a greater need for passionate and empowered citizen conservationists. The US Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program in the Midwest Region is committed to engaging, educating and employing young people. We provide opportunities to learn about fish, other aquatic species and their habitats through: outdoor learning areas, field study opportunities, outdoor recreation events, and developing innovative ways of delivering science literacy programs and promoting connections with nature. The Midwest Region Fisheries Program also engages youth and adults through our Friends Groups, partnerships with States and Tribes and through various youth employment programs. In doing so all of us will better understand the world around us, as well as how to enjoy and steward it for conservationists yet to come.

Engage:

Checking out aquatic bugs is... Cool! Credit: USFWS

Microscopically Speaking… Educational Outreach Specialist, Bruce Hallman at Neosho NFH has been raising interest and awareness in schools and community events with the aid of four new microscopes. The response of viewers has been one of excitement and amazement as they view our environment, our waterways and aquatic life up close and personal. Bruce’s goal is to get as many people excited about nature as possible. See for yourself some of his amazing photography on the hatchery’s Facebook page. And if you’re in the area, by all means come by and visit the nation’s oldest operating federal fish hatchery!  

Learn:

The "What do you know about fish?" display provided by Iron River
NFH staff brought the students right in as seen here! Credit: USFWS

Conservation Education… For the past eleven years, the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth, Minnesota has hosted an Earth Tracks Day. The goal is to inspire students to be more environmentally conscientious and put thought into ways of not leaving their “tracks” on the Earth. Making its fifth appearance was the Iron River National Fish Hatchery. Carey Edwards, fish biologist from Iron River NFH, set up a booth with fish replicas and an interactive display that allowed students to quiz themselves on fish anatomy. Students also received fish tattoos or pencils for participation in the booth.

Many local businesses, organizations and government agencies were also in attendance. These groups were encouraged to set up hands-on displays where children could learn about the environment that surrounds them and explore ways of decreasing their impact on Earth.

More than 1,200 students from area elementary and middle schools visited the zoo late this spring, to take part in this "green" event.  This fun event is one of several collaborations the Iron River Hatchery has with the Lake Superior Zoo and we hope to continue this partnership in the future.

Work:

Intern Sara Dimick (kneeling left) fit in perfectly with the rest of the
hatchery crew pictured here. Credit USFW

Youth Partnership Hire… The Midwest Region Fisheries program continues to support youth employment experiences through a variety of programs and innovative opportunities.  In this case, the Friends of the Jordan River NFH hired Sara Dimick, as a summer intern.  Sara is an undergraduate student majoring in Fisheries Biology at Lake Superior State University. The friends provided this “internship” through a small grant received for capacity building and to support youth programs at the hatchery. This employment is considered a “partnership” youth hire. Sara’s work experience included working with the friends, the hatchery and in the community.

The friends’ show of support is right in line with the Service and DOI priority to employ young people in the effort to provide valuable experiences and to attract and retain our future stewards of conservation.  Sara had a wonderful summer of experiences and was a very productive member or the Jordan River NFH crew. Good Luck Sara on all of your future endeavors!

For more information about youth employment opportunities and conservation education programs within the USFWS Midwest Region Fisheries program contact Tim Smigielski, Regional Fisheries Conservation Education Coordinator at tim_smigielski@fws.gov or at (231) 584-3540.