The Fishing in the Natural State Program was created in 2016 for use in any Arkansas school. The primary focus is on grades 4-12. The program can also accommodate civic clubs and organizations. Although the primary goal of the program is to create lifelong anglers, so much more is included. The curriculum provided to schools includes eight units covering fish and fishing, ecology, habitats, and the human impact on the environment. These lessons can be used in any type of classroom including, but not limited to science, math, English and physical education.
Through this program, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is striving to instill a culture of conservation and stewardship in our school age population. Each applicant is asked to complete at least one conservation program through the year and sponsor a fishing derby. To help accomplish these goals, a Fishing in the Natural State kit is provided. The kit includes rods and reels, tackle, and a classroom set of various support materials. Fishing in the Natural State Program participants are also eligible to apply for Wildlife Education Grant funds (use of fine revenue.) Funds may be used by educators to purchase any needed supplies and equipment as well as take students on field trips to AGFC Nature Centers, Conservation Education Centers and Wildlife Management Areas.
Who Can Participate?
The program is designed for groups of students in grades 4 through 12. You can be in the classroom, a 4-H club, a homeschool group, scout group or any other organized group of students.
Get as Deep Into Fishing as You Wish
The program events can be adapted to match your group's needs and level of experience. Four options currently are available to get youth involved:
- Basic Angling Skills Training with Fishing
An event or class that combines basic angler education (casting, fish ID, basic tackle, knot-tying, cleaning and cooking your catch, aquatic education, fisheries management, fisheries issues, fish anatomy etc.) with a hands-on fishing opportunity. May be small or large groups. Basic tackle often provided. May be one or multiple sessions.
- Basic Angling Skills Training without Fishing
An event or class that includes only basic angler education without on-the-water fishing experience. Great for students in grades 4 through 12.
- Advanced Angling Skills Training
An event or class that focuses on advanced fishing techniques, well beyond basic programs. May focus on specific types of fishing or species-specific fishing education. Best for students in grades 9 through 12.
- Fishing Event
A fishing derby or event with little or no education component. Basic instruction or tips may be provided while fishing.