A love for education and conservation have shaped Jim Strogen’s life.
And he’s done his best to shape the lives of as many young people as possible.
On Friday, the Arizona Game & Fish Department Commission honored the Payson resident during their public meeting at Quality Inn in Payson.
“For his lifelong dedication and commitment to education, conservation and youth, Dr. Jim Strogen is recognized today with the AZGFD Commission Commendation of Achievement,” read AZGFD Commissioner James Goughnour, of Payson, from a prepared statement.
Strogen was there with his wife, Martha, to accept the commendation.
“It’s quite an honor,” Strogen said during a break in the meeting. “I really appreciate it.”
He said he’s had lots of help in projects he’s involved in.
“We have so many people that help do what we do for kids, especially,” he said. “Can’t do it without the club members that are here; and Game & Fish has helped a lot, too, coming in to work with kids.”
He spent more than 30 years in education before retiring to Payson.
“When I first went into education I thought I was going to be a fisheries biologist,” he said. “But when I got into that I was also working as a tour guide at a natural history museum working with kids and I kind of took a little bend and started dealing with elementary education. That was at the University of Michigan.
“I found that, as much as I liked working with bugs and fish, I really liked working with kids more. So that’s what I did for 30-plus years.”
“And then when I retired I was like, ‘Oh man, I can get back into fish.’”
But he hasn’t stopped educating children.
Strogen started an after-school fly tying class for Julia Randall Elementary students three years ago. His classroom program not only teaches kids how to fly fish, but to be young conservationists and appreciate the streams and riparian areas.
Strogen worked in partnership with the Town of Payson and AZGFD to secure 15 mossback fish structures which were placed in Green Valley Lake and emphasized to his students the importance of the structures for fish habitat and placement near the oxygen pumps to ensure the fish have everything they need to survive.
He’s now hoping to get wooden habitat structures built and put in the small lake at Green Valley Park.
He arranged tours of the Tonto Fish Hatchery where students and their parents were able to see how the fish are grown and released into streams throughout Rim Country.
In addition to writing a weekly fishing column for the Roundup, Strogen has had more than 70 articles published on a variety of topics related to fishing and conservation.
He is a Recreational Fishing Representative on the Technical Work Group in support of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Working Group.
Strogen works with several groups in support of the AZGFD mission statement.
He is an active member of the Mogollon Sporting Association, Payson Fly-Casters, Desert Fly-Fishers International and the Gila Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
He was recently selected as a Hero of Public Education by the Payson Unified School District.