To bring accessible fishing opportunities and environmental education to local military families, Timucuan Parks Foundation recently teamed up with the National Park Service Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve for a Junior Ranger Angler Fishing Clinic for Blue Star Families Jacksonville. About 25 families from Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay participated in the event at William Sheffield Regional Park on the Northside in coordination with the City of Jacksonville.
The Junior Ranger Angler program encourages kids and their families to enjoy the vast recreational opportunities of our parks and preserves. NPS rangers and Timucuan Parks Foundation volunteers taught the Blue Star youth ranging in age from 3 to 16 how to properly use angling equipment, including fishing poles, hooks, lures and nets. They learned about knot tying, baiting, casting, and ethical catching and releasing. Two of the girls participating even caught a fish – a bass, according to the ranger. In addition, the youth engaged in a fun relay activity to learn about Leave No Trace principles and how to be good environmental stewards.
Blue Star Families is a national nonprofit that supports military families through community connection. It works under a cooperative agreement with NPS with support from Timucuan Parks Foundation. Additional programming will be offered to Blue Star families through the spring.
The Junior Ranger Angler Fishing Clinic kicked off the “Outdoor Explorers” series of programs to introduce and connect underserved military youth and their families to Jacksonville’s wilderness parks and preserves. The series is designed to provide Blue Star Families Jacksonville with recreational and educational programming to bring awareness and appreciation for Jacksonville’s history and the ecology of the local waterways and coastal ecosystems.