HARRISBURG – Interested young anglers from across the state are invited to register, beginning March 1, for the Bass Anglers Conservation School, Pennsylvania’s unique learning experience for young students with a passion for fishing and a thirst for warm-water fishery knowledge.
The school will be offered Sunday through Thursday, July 13-17, on Lake Perez at Pennsylvania State University’s Stone Valley Recreation Area, Huntingdon County.
“We are proud to again join this cooperative educational effort giving angling youth a solid foundation in warm-water aquatic ecosystems, their management, and how they affect black bass and bass angling,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis. “Participants will improve their stewardship skills, leave the school better equipped to serve as leaders in conservation, and have a heck of a lot of fun learning.”
The five-day, four-night program will include sessions on fishery biology, fisheries management, habitat improvement, boating safety, fishing skills and techniques, fish and boating law enforcement, fisheries and conservation careers and tournament angling. Other conservation-related and hands-on activities also are planned.
Students will learn from experts and professionals in various conservation fields from across Pennsylvania and the nation. Instruction will be geared toward youth who already possess some basic outdoor skills and fishing experience but want to further develop those skills and learn more about bass angling.
“Excellent angling programs have helped create not only better anglers, but also better citizens,” said Fish and Boat Commission Executive Director Doug Austen. “Research clearly shows that good, well-structured youth fishing programs like this help kids increase their skills, fish more, and build a greater sense of aquatic stewardship and outdoor ethics.”
The Youth Bass Anglers Conservation School is a cooperative effort by DCNR’s Bureau of State Parks, the PFBC, PA Bass Federation Inc., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pennsylvania State University and Marsh Creek Bass Club. “The camp is a combination of non-stop, hands-on, fun-filled activities ranging from boat safety and basic angling skills to fish biology and habitat management,” said PA Bass Federation Conservation Director Bill Reichert. “Learning fishing skills from a dozen volunteers and introduction into aquatic science by professional staff offer the students insights into opportunities to become conservation and environmental leaders.”
A total of 20 students will be selected. Students are encouraged to seek organizational sponsorship through sporting, community or civic groups to cover the $200 enrollment fee.
The application and enrollment process for students ages 14-17 continues through April 30. Applicants must submit a one-page essay addressing: “What fishing means to me; the importance of conservation; and why I want to attend the school.” A letter of recommendation from a teacher or close associate also is required.
Enrollment applications and more details can be obtained at the PFBC’s YBACS page; or from Bureau of State Parks Environmental Education Specialist Spring Reilly at (814) 625-9369, or firstname.lastname@example.org.