There is nothing like fishing with your best friend.
And on Thursday at the Hall Lake kids fishing pond in East Kelowna, kids from several area elementary schools had the chance to do just that thanks to a program called Get to Know and its Wild Festival for Youth.
Kids from area schools were bused to the Hall Road fishing pond and to Okanagan College to get tips on fishing, build birdhouses, learn about birds of prey and get an overall education on the great outdoors.
“The Get to Know Program has been inspiring connections between children and nature in the outdoors for over a decade,” explained Jenna Smith with Get to Know. “The festival is a time for school age youth from across the Okanagan to discover regional wildlife, explore trails and to get kids engaged with the outdoors.”
At the Hall Road pond, kids were engaged with several activities, from nature hikes to fishing in the pond, stocked as a kids fishing pond by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.
Friends Zoe and Angelina, Grade 4 students at Chute Lake elementary, certainly were engaged with the fishing activity as they exchanged casts out into the pond and waited for a nibble.
“It’s fun because I get to do it with my best friend,” said Zoe after looping a long cast into the middle of the pond, which was also ripe with swimming turtles. “It’s going to be cool if I catch a fish because I’ve only caught one other one before.”
Students were taught the basics of casting with the spin-casting rods by summer students with the Freshwater Fisheries Society, the group in charge of B.C.’s fish stocking programs.
Jordan D’sa, a criminology and environmental studies student, says its rewarding to be able to teach kids about the outdoors.
“It’s fun once you get through all the tangles,” he said of the ancient fishing problem of tangled line. “To see the smiles on their faces is priceless. A lot of the kids here are experienced because the Okanagan is such an outdoorsy place.”
The Get to Know organization was founded in 1999 by renowned naturalist and painter Robert Bateman and current director Mary Krupa-Clark in Kelowna with a mandate to promote environmental education for youth, teaching them how their positive interaction with their local wildlife can help preserve our natural wonders for generations to come.
There is more information online at get-to-know.org.