FLATWOODS, WV (WOWK) – A physical education teacher at Braxton County Middle School spent the last several months coming up with a creative way to get students interested in enjoying the outdoors. Now her Hooked on Fishing program is really catching on.
“I wanted to take these kids and show them what nature can offer,” said physical education teacher Brittany Conley. With no field trips allowed because of COVID-19, she had to think outside the box.
Even though they don’t have a lake or stream on site she was determined to use what they do have to make it happen. Conley puts up a strip of yellow caution tape and has students stand behind it while casting toward items like hula hoops, pool floats and pie pans. There are no hooks or bait. But the lessons happen just the same.
“Some of the other things they are learning how to do besides casts is tying the knots, learning the different types of fishing the different types of lures,” Conley said.
For her this is a dream that started when she was a kid.
“It is great to be able to go from that little girl that had twine and a paper clip to being able to experience this with my kids,” she said.
Sometimes the lines get tangled or the cast doesn’t go where the kids are aiming, but the joy is hard to miss.
“It has been amazing. It has brought me to tears of how excited I am because it is not only a gift for them to learn new skills, it is a gift for me to be able to teach these skills to these kids,” Conley said. “This is a dream come true for me.”
Conley has also been able to bring in guest speakers to talk about the types of fish in West Virginia, conservation and other topics. She is hoping to eventually grow the program enough to be able to send fishing poles home with students who show an interest.