Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Boy Scout Eagle Project for the Eagles

To fulfill the requirements to achieve the highest rank in Boy Scouts, Eagle, I chose to lead my fellow Troop 2 scouts in a lead fishing tackle exchange event. We convened on a Saturday afternoon at a busy boat landing on Madison’s Lake Monona, just as rain starting clearing off, making for a good fishing afternoon. Using Loonwatch’s trifold display and handouts on the risks of lead fishing tackle to birds and free non-lead tackle samples provided by the Minnesota Department of Environmental Protection, we helped the fishermen and women learn a little more about the hazards of lead and get to experience fishing with non-lead tackle. Overall, I believe that my Eagle Project was a success in spreading awareness about why non-lead tackle performs just as well as lead tackle without the risk of causing damage to the local aquatic ecosystems. While some of the fishermen seemed bored with the information we presented them with, all of them greatly appreciated the free non-lead tackle. There was one high school student with his father who was incredibly interested in the effects of lead on birds, fish, and other aquatic species as well as the watershed. From there, we started discussing how the same problems exist with lead shot, which I didn’t know as much about, so I learned too. I really enjoyed answering the student’s questions because he took a genuine interest in something I am very passionate about. I am happy to hear that future generations of fisherman are so interested in protecting our environment. In addition to the extremely curious student, my project also caught the attention of a nearby wedding couple and even a group of Tibetan monks, both looking for a good photo location on the Madison lake. The bride and groom and a monk stopped briefly to talk, and were supportive of our work on the issue – and the groom went away with a packet of non-lead fishing tackle in his tux pocket! It was difficult to get the fishermen to look through their tackle boxes for lead gear to exchange (and for me to safely discard), but I know that that day a park ranger, a groom, a monk, and at least one guy who will be fishing for many years to come, all spent a little time thinking about the risks of lead and what they might be able to do to keep it out of our environment.

By: Robin Dein

2 comments:

ArborVitae 2.0 said...

Bravo!

Marge Gibson said...

Great work! Education begins one step at a time, and you affected many.

Marge Gibson