Alaska Fisheries and Aquatics Partnerships
The BLM Alaska fisheries program partners with several organizations to expand educational events in Alaska which emphasize watershed ecology and fisheries science. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Trout Unlimited, Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment, Alaska Native Corporations, and Enivronmental organziations are just a few we partner with every year to conduct fisheries studies or fun youth educational events.
Ekwok Flyfishing Academy
The BLM-Alaska partners with Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), and the Nushagak-Mulchatna/Wood-Tikchik Land Trust in support of the cooperative Ekwok Flyfishing Academy. The academy project educates rural youth on fishing techniques and fisheries science. For a week in early August, rural students from from Western Alaska towns have the Nushagak River in Bristol Bay as their classroom. Lectures on salmon life histories, aquatic ecology, stream channel morphology, and riparian areas are presented. Academy students are introduced to aquatic ecology to illustrate how rivers function to provide aquatic habitat for salmon. Students are taught not only where to find fish in the river to catch, but also why the fish were in that area of the river. Emphasis is given on the importance of riparian and wetland areas, and how human activities can affect this habitat.
Aquatic Education Camp
The BLM Glennallen Field Office teams up with the nonprofit Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE) to offer youth an Aquatic Education Camp. The camp provides an outdoor-focused curriculum to engage students, excite their imaginations, and strongly motivate them to explore and understand natural resources through hands-on learning. The camp offers classes and outdoor laboratories in river ecology, aquatic entomology, stream geomorphology, water quality, fish biology/behavior/anatomy, and the importance of riparian areas to aquatic resources. Students learn how to collect and identify aquatic insects important to salmonids. They also learn how to take water quality measurements and how those measurements relate to a healthy watershed.
Students also learn to use a stream table (river process simulator) that realistically and dynamically simulated a wide range of river processes, including sediment transport, meander development and movement, and floodplain formation. By using this education model of demonstrating river processes on a stream table and then observing these processes on an actual river, it strongly engages the students and allowes for discussions of how rivers function to provide habitat and how human activities affect that habitat. This opens the door to interest and understanding of rivers and stream fisheries. The students also learn basic fishing skills that include casting, lure/bait selection, knot tying, and reading water.
Kid’s Ice Fishing Day
The Glennallen Field Office partners with WISE and ADFG to sponsor an annual Kid's Ice Fishing Day Event. Each year, nearly 100 people of all ages turn out for the "Kid's Ice Fishing Clinic" held at Silver Lake in late March or early April. The combination of bright smiles and enthusiasm make the perfect day for baiting hooks, hunkering down over ice holes, and catching nice, big rainbow trout! BLM sets up a tent with an underwater video camera and monitor that allow youth to observe fish behavior below the ice. When it comes time to leave, organizers are often rewarded with cries of, "Ahh, we want to fish more!" Smiling kids that have connected with nature are the end result!