|Katrina introduces a child to fishing. Credit: Sydney West|
Katrina Mueller serves as Fisheries Outreach Coordinator in Alaska. This means working with Field Offices and recognized Fish Habitat Partnerships to tell the public what is being done to conserve fish and their habitats. The breadth of projects and amount of media now available to tell these stories keep her on her toes. She also co-chairs the Alaska Region’s Connecting People with Nature Team and serves on the Polar Bear Recovery Team’s Communication Working Group. She and her family spend most of their free time hunting and fishing and enjoying Alaska's out-of-doors.
5 Questions for Katrina
1. What inspired you to work with young people?
Fish inspired me to work with people, including young people. Fish have endlessly interesting adaptations, are a great source of protein, support many thousands of jobs, and are the basis of many people’s ways of living, especially here in Alaska. Despite all this, nearly 40 percent of North American fishes that spend a significant portion of their lives in freshwater are imperiled because of people. Many things—including the fact that fish are largely invisible in their natural habitat—make it increasingly easy for people to be unaware of, or ignore, the plight of fish and the factors causing declines and localized extinctions. I think working with young people to develop a connection with fish (e.g., via fishing, engagement in habitat restoration and through art) is an important investment.
2. What is your favorite part of working with kids?
My favorite part is the unexpected moments of excitement. We took some urban youth on a fish-focused field trip and the highlight of the trip happened as we pulled into a parking lot that overlooks a rocky beach. To my surprise, these Alaska kids had never put their feet in the ocean. They started screeching in excitement over the crashing waves and using bits of dead seaweed as pretend-mustaches. It wasn’t on our agenda and I think they’ll remember it for a long time.