- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

VALLEY GROVE, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Division of Natural Resources officials hope that teaching students to fish will inspire a lifelong love of outdoor activities.

The DNR partnered with Cabela’s and the Wheeling Fraternal Order of Police on April 1 for the second-annual fish stocking event at Bear Rocks Lake near Valley Grove. The event allowed 138 students from Marshall and Ohio counties to help stock and clean streams.

More than 60 volunteers from Noble Energy’s Marcellus business unit helped students from Elm Grove Elementary, Moundsville Middle and Cameron High schools stock an 8-mile stretch of Wheeling Creek, as well as Bear Rocks Lake, with nearly 5,000 pounds of trout.

A fish cleaning and casting station was also available for students to test their fishing skills. Cabela’s offered lunch and refreshments during the day and gave each student a fishing pole to take home. The FOP provided tackle boxes.

According to Steve Haines, West Virginia DNR officer, the day is an attempt to get students interested in local outdoor attractions.

“Hopefully this spurs an interest and they will get to fish all year long,” Haines said. “We hope they will continue in Wheeling Creek, here and other areas the valley has to offer.”

Mike Eskeridge, a West Virginia history and hunting safety teacher at Moundsville Middle School, said the event brings together several Ohio Valley professionals.

“It’s important for the kids to see a lot of people from the community come together to make this program available,” Eskeridge said. “Fishing is the number one sport in America and this shows them the outdoors.”

Sarah Starcovic, a senior at Cameron High School, said she hopes to pursue a degree in biology at Fairmont State University, and she enjoyed speaking with experts in the field.

“They told us there would be a wildlife biologist here, and that is something I’d like to do,” she said. “I’m interested in talking with him and seeing what he does for his job every day.”

Elm Grove Elementary School Principal Rick Dunlevy said the day was a chance for students to “disconnect” from technology and enjoy nature.

“This was an opportunity to get students away from their video games and see what nature has to offer them right here in Ohio County,” he said. “Hopefully several of them will take up the hobby of fishing.”


Information from: The Intelligencer, https://www.theintelligencer.net

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