Approximately 175 kindergarten through second grade students from Acorn Elementary School and over 150 parents and grandparents attended the Fishing Derby Day on May 4 at Janssen Park. Weather was absolutely wonderful. After several days of rain, the sun came out. As part of the Hooked on Fishing Not On Drugs program, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission had stocked the pond with hungry catfish, so students were excited to catch “the big one!”
Many dads, moms, and granddads were there to help. Mena Police Officer Steven Stout, Game Warden Bernie Soliz, City Park staff, and other police officers were there to show support and help the young anglers be successful. HOFNOD instructor Cindy Standridge’s high school students were a tremendous help. They put the hooks, lines, sinkers, and bobbers on the poles and were at the event all day to help the younger students.
Event organizer Kathy Rusert says, “It was a beautiful day for kids and their parents and grandparents go outside to relax, learn how to fish, make new friends, and see all the smiles and excitement as the kids caught ‘the big one’. It was exactly as it should be—family and teachers creating bonds to support kids in such a positive atmosphere.”
Prior to the event, the students completed many activities from the HOFNOD curriculum. This included learning the external fish anatomy, casting practice, aquatic stewardship and conservation, and aquatic habitat energy pyramids