This morning more than 200 fifth-grade students from northern Gila County went on a field trip andad the opportunity to try their luck fishing at Green Valley Park.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department provides an outdoor education fishing programhich combines classroom activitieshat enhance the science curriculum,ollowed by a few hours of fishing at a local lake.
Our community is very fortunate to have Green Valley Lake that is managed by the Payson parks program and happens to qualify for the state-operated Urban Fishing Program. The obvious benefit is a scheduled stockinglan of catchable rainbow trout for anglers within the city limits of Payson.
The lake not only attracts fishermen but is the perfect location for field trips to study fish and birds, as well as aquatic plant life.
I can attest that being out of the classroom with a fishing rod in hand is hard to beat for students as well as teachers. For many students, this was their first time at fishing so plenty of help was available provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the local Mogollon Sporting Association, and other adults in the community who wanted to make a positive difference in the life of a youngster.
Craig McMullen, field supervisor for the AGFD, stated, "We hope to make this an annual event with the goal of providing another outlet for wholesome family recreation which can only benefit the future of our children."
atching these children catch their first fish and seeing the excitement on so many faces was indeed special.
In addition to theatchable rainbows, there were many trophy trout in the 2- to 4-pound category caught.
These bonus fish were stocked because of a very generous donation from the Mogollon Sporting Association who are continually raising money to benefit the youth of the Payson area.
This event was another example of volunteerism making a difference in the future of our youth.
Incidentally, don't miss tomorrow morning starting at 6 a.m. the Optimist Club of Payson is sponsoring the free fishing festival at Green Valley Park.
No urban fishing license is required provided that you sign up at the registration booth. There will be numerous fishing seminars and lots of raffle prizes throughout the day until 2 p.m.
Fishing equipment and bait will be provided by the AGFD with free photos of anglers and their catches.
Come join in the fun with another program sponsored in part by the Payson Parks and Recreation Department. Take a child fishing and enjoy God's creation.