October 2, 2013

Children learn about the greatness of the outdoors

The Oskaloosa Herald

OSKALOOSA — Rain or shine? They had a bit of both.

On Saturday, the Mahaska County Conservation Board hosted their annual Youth Outdoor Field Day at Russell Wildlife Area north of Oskaloosa. Numerous outdoor education stations dotted the landscape that day, including ones devoted to archery, fishing and trapping, among others.

Barry Versteegh, a member of the Mahaska County Conservation Board for nearly 15 years, headed up the fishing education station.

Versteegh said the children that had been arriving at the fishing education station were being taught about patience. That is, getting the fishing line in the water and waiting for the fish to bite. He noted that it was fortunate that the fishing had been good as of late.

“They've picked up several fish this morning,” said Versteegh.

Versteegh was ready to accommodate large groups of children at his station. He said there were around 38 fishing poles ready for children to use. Versteegh also said around 200 children had been preregistered for this year's Youth Outdoor Field Day.

Children were being taught the fundamentals of fishing at Versteegh's station.

“Well, this is just anything to get a kid outside versus playing a video game,” said Versteegh, adding that it's an important thing for children to realize where the fish sticks they see in the grocery come from. It's also good for children to know that they can catch fish and have them as a food source, noted Versteegh.  

At another nearby outdoor education station was Splash, a six-year-old dog helping children learn about water fowl hunting. Splash was accompanied by Sarah Hodges of the Skunk River Hunting and Retrieving Association.

Hodges said it's good for children to learn about conservation through proper hunting methods.


Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at news2@oskyherald.com.