MD Launches Youth Backyard Fishing Program

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Service has selected three community ponds as test sites for a new Backyard Fishing Program. The purpose of this initiative is to create fishing opportunities for kids in easily accessible areas and to provide learning experiences to inspire natural resource stewardship.

The Fisheries Service is stocking these ponds with hybrid sunfish and will manage the areas to provide youth fishing opportunities throughout the summer months. The fish are raised by young people enrolled in the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services Aquaculture Certificate Program.

In 2009, the state provided funds to build an aquaculture and environmental science center at the Meadow Mountain Youth Center in Grantsville, Md. to support a science, math, engineering and technical (STEM) program for adjudicated youth. Watermen were hired to build the facility as part of the Governor’s program to reduce the economic impact of blue crab conservations measures.

The Fisheries Service will host the following kick-off fishing events at selected ponds:

* Grantsville Pond in Garrett County: 5 to 7 p.m. on June 22

* Boonsboro Community Pond in Washington County: 5 p.m. on June 23

* Warfield’s Park Pond in Howard County: 9 a.m. on July 2

These events are open to all, but the fishing will be reserved for anglers under the age of 16. DNR will supply the bait and will have a limited amount of fishing tackle available. Additionally, Fisheries staff will assist participants in baiting up and catching fish and will provide casting and knot-tying demonstrations and assistance.

The Backyard Fishing initiative is inspired by the Maryland Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights. “Catch a fish” is one of the rights covered by the Bill which was issued by Governor Martin O’Malley last year. The Bill is part of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, an initiative to ensure all Maryland young people have the opportunity to connect with their natural world and grow to become informed and responsible stewards.

For more information, please contact Letha Grimes, (301) 898-9724.

source: MD DNR