By Keith Krebs
The final month of school in our valley is May and CPC-TU Youth Education programs came rapid-fire in the last half of the month. Three very successful collaborative events were completed by our volunteers.
SALIDA THIRD GRADE FIELD TRIP
CPC-TU members Gene Milus, Jerry Wright and Keith Krebs joined GARNA and CPW in assisting a large group of third grade youngsters at O’Haver Lake first thing in the morning on Thursday, May 12th. The fishing station was located at the pier. Sean Shepard and Tyler Kersey from CPW met us and brought a truck-load of spin-casting reels and rods in sufficient number to provide a rod for each student to use. The five adults rigged the rods just prior to the arrival of the first rotation. “Lures” were Powerbait eggs. There were four rotations over a five-hour period of about two dozen students each. A total of 94 students participated. Casting was successful for most fishers after a short lesson.
Prior to fishing, Tyler gave a posterboard illustrated fish and conservation presentation to each rotation. There were three other stations including fish dissecting demonstrations.
Bright sunshine and bluebird skies accompanied us most of the day but so too, the blustery to gusty winds. Needless to say, the volunteers spent significant time untangling line. The fishing was enjoyed by everyone. The catching was disappointing.
BUENA VISTA HIGH SCHOOL FISHING DAY
Ms. Lea Ann Johnson’s literature class for juniors and seniors read and discussed A River Runs Through It as the last assignment for the year. For the good work they were rewarded with several hours of fishing activities on Wednesday, May 12th at Wrights Lake.
The event started with Kevin Madler, CPW District Manager who reviewed fishing regulations and wildland behavior for the teenagers present. Mr. Madler negotiated an agreement to allow all the students to fish the lake without purchasing a license – a one-day only deal. Mr. John Woolmington, the previous land owner announced that the sales deal for Wrights Lake and the adjacent wetlands closed a few days prior. This little gem is now owned and managed by CPW and will be conserved as public land in perpetuity. CPC-TU sent a letter of support for the acquisition of this property in May, 2020 with little optimism for success. Hooray! for John.
Gene Milus, Jerry Wright and Keith Krebs along with a new volunteer Tom Bell who is a certified casting instructor, provided basic rod assembly and care instructions along with a casting lesson and practice time to develop proper technique. Eleven rods with reels were provided by CPC-TU. Tom brought five more. Flies were donated by Jerry and Tom.
We broke the students into groups for better instruction efficiency. Fishing gear was shared among the groups. We were able to practice tying the basic attachment of leader/tippet-to-fly knot. Some discussion of fish handling and fisher etiquette was had with most of the group. Many students continued to fish until the wind whipped whitecaps emerged.
Ms. Johnson reported that students were very excited and talked about the outing on the bus all the way back.
BUENA VISTA SIXTH GRADE CONSERVATION CAMP
On Tuesday, May 24th six volunteers from Collegiate Peaks Chapter and one from GARNA participated in the annual conservation camp for Buena Vista Middle School sixth grade students. CPC-TU has assisted with the camp for more than a dozen years. This year, like previous years, we taught two Water Quality stations – Macroinvertebrates and Water Chemistry. Six rotations of approximately 12 students each were completed in the early afternoon for a total of 70 students.
The camp is usually held in the upper meadow of 4-mile Creek, but this year’s spring snows forced a decision to move all stations to the nature trail along Cottonwood Creek behind the school. After a few hours of weather trepidation, the camp reported success at all stations with activities that were fit into a three-hour window of nice weather.
Participants were properly engaged in the activities and expressed their thanks for an enjoyable and educational time. It’s refreshing to know that the youth of our area stand ready and willing to become the river stewards of the future.
A shout out of appreciation to the CPC-TU members Reed and Karen Dils, Gene Milus, Barb Keller (FlyGals), Bryan Ward and Keith Krebs. Also providing valuable assistance (and test kits) was Cat Anderson from GARNA.