Heroes of Conservation
Taking inner-city kids fishing, saving trapped trout, and passing on the conservation message to the next generation
John Kidd Jr., Chicago, Ill.
Kidd and some friends started “Fishin’ Buddies!” Inc. in 1991 with inner-city youth in mind. “It’s a tremendous need,” he says. “Kids need to know about conservation.” Each year, more than 1,000 students, ages 6 to 18, participate in the group’s programs, which focus on habitat restoration and land management. Kidd, who is president of the nonprofit, organizes tree plantings, fishing derbies, and the removal of invasive species at various ponds in the area.
Bob Capron,** Cody, Wyo.
Capron has been aware of entrainment–fish becoming trapped in irrigation canals–since he was a boy. As conservation chair of Trout Unlimited’s East Yellowstone chapter, he urged the group to launch a rescue effort that involves using electroshocking to retrieve the fish. In addition to rescuing up to 4,000 trout each year, the group has also begun to install
self-cleaning screens at various sites. “We want to keep the fish in the river where they belong,” Capron says.
Dean Downer, Massena, Iowa
At CAM Middle School, Downer helped create the Man and His Environment curriculum, the focus of which is an 80-acre tract of land that the teacher was instrumental in getting donated as an outdoor classroom. The property is now designated as a wildlife refuge and includes a
4-acre wetland, where students have installed nesting structures for ducks and geese, and fishing is open to the public. “We’re trying to teach our kids to be better stewards of the land,” Downer says.