Discovering Nature In The City

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

And, with a little help, each child did it.

Todd informed them that the bumble bee can be used to catch crappie, bluegill, bass and even trout.

"Can the fish see well?" asked Terry Mizener Jr., 13, while tying on the feathers.

Todd explained that bass are sight feeders, so how well they see depends on how clear the water is. After the kids added the black chenille to make the jig look like a bee, Todd explained how to do the final touch. "Tear the feather off by hand so it will look natural. If you cut it with the scissors, it won't look right."

With freshly tied jigs in hand, everyone wanted to know where to buy their own kit.

"I like to make jigs, said Ronnie Lovett, 11. "Now I know how to make lures cheaper."

The kids also learned which fish prefer certain water temperatures, a useful lesson for 10-year-old Dominick Bell.

"I'm going to put more line between the hook and the bobbers because the fish are deeper when it's hot," he said.

Another popular exercise is the fishing simulator, which lets the kids feel what it is like to have a big bass on the line. After bringing in her giant bass while she watched it on a monitor, 10-year-old Elizabeth Mizener said, "If you catch a heavy fish, you have to keep your rod up."

Those who didn't follow Elizabeth's advice watched their bass go under the boat or into the weeds. No one in this class lost their fish when it jumped out of the water, but it wasn't easy.

"I've caught little fish before, but I never had one that heavy," said Randall Wright Jr., 12. "I think I know how to catch a big one now."

Other workshops include "Nature's Palette," where students study the parts of a tree, then use native wood to create sculptures, or leaves to make prints on a printing press.

In "Woodworking for Wildlife," Education Specialist Angie Henderson teaches students about bird habitat and feeding habits, and then gives them a lesson on hammering nails. The result is that all the children return home with a bird feeder they made themselves. They also learn where to put it and what feed they need to attract their favorite birds.

"I'm going to put my feeder next to my tree," said Victor Blas, a student at Gladstone

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