The International Game Fish Association and National Park Service Partner on Youth Education
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and the National Park Service (NPS) recently announced a partnership between the two organizations and the launch of a pilot program aimed at providing a hands-on introduction to recreational fishing and ethical angling practices for the NPS’s Junior Ranger Anglers. This project was made possible in part by a $100,000 grant from the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service.
“As we celebrate our 80th anniversary this year, we’re very excited to partner with the NPS on this project to inspire more people to enjoy the outdoors and sport of angling,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “Collaborating with reputable institutions with like-minded goals will be essential to accomplishing our goal of teaching 100,000 kids to fish by the end of 2019 and we are proud to partner with the NPS to help us achieve this important goal, while at the same time contributing to their Junior Ranger Angler program.”
Last year, the NPS collaborated with IGFA, the National Park Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation on developing the Junior Ranger: Let’s Go Fishing Activity Book that was distributed to parks across the country. This pilot program was created with the goal of providing additional, hands-on education to these Junior Ranger Anglers that had completed the activity book, along with attracting more youth and families to national parks.
“Reconnecting children and families with the outdoors through our national parks has been a fundamental component of the NPS since its inception,” said Margie Ortiz with the Office of Interpretation, Education and Volunteers of the NPS. “Hosting these learn-to-fish clinics with the help of the IGFA provides a logical avenue for educating our Junior Ranger Anglers and introducing families to the joys of the outdoors, while at the same time providing them with the knowledge and tools necessary to continue spending time outside and in our beautiful national parks.”
Over the next year, the IGFA and NPS staff and volunteers will host a total of five learn-to-fish clinics throughout the Southeast United States. The clinics will be based around the IGFA’s Passports to Fishing program that educates participants on both basic angling skills such as knot tying, casting, fish handling, as well as on the importance of conservation and environmental stewardship. In the first year of this pilot program, the IGFA and the NPS anticipate reaching at least 6,000 Junior Ranger Anglers and their families by the end of 2019.
“National parks provide some of our most spectacular fishing opportunities,” said Eric Schwaab, chief program officer at the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation is thrilled to partner with the International Game Fish Association and the National Park Service to make it possible for kids and their families to learn and enjoy this timeless sport together.”
The first two clinics have been scheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Biscayne National Park, and Saturday, April 27, 2019, at Canaveral National Seashore. The dates and locations of the three additional clinics have not yet been scheduled but will take place outside of Florida and will be announced in the near future.
About the NPS
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
About the National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and ENGAGE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.