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Teaching Environmental Science Through Fly Fishing

South Seneca Elementary students in the Extended Day program had a chance to learn about their environment by fly fishing.
Through a program called “Children in the Stream,” inspired by a training conference of the same name hosted by Dr. Michael Jabot and Alberto Rey at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, fifth grade science teacher Ms. Liz McCheyne uses fly fishing as a structure to teach environmental science and conservation.
Students learned to identify aquatic macroinvertebrates to determine the health of a body of water. Fly tying helped students learn about the stages of insect development that lures are meant to mimic. They were able to visit a local, privately owned pond to learn casting and practice fishing. Fishing supplies were provided with support from Orvis, who provided a significant discount on fly rod outfits and fly tying supplies.
The Extended Day “Children in the Stream” program is an extension of Ms. McCheyne’s fifth grade science place-based learning curriculum, which follows the theme “my place in the Finger Lakes.” Her class has been raising trout throughout the school year with the “Trout in the Classroom” program. Watching their development has provided the class an opportunity to learn about trout biology firsthand.
“This after-school group lets me share my enthusiasm and love of nature with the kids,” Ms. McCheyne said. “I want the kids to know and love our lakes, ponds and creeks along with the creatures who live there so that they will become wise and caring citizens who will make responsible environmental choices in the future.”