CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces “A year of fish” at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. Fishing is a popular activity and fish play an important role in Missouri’s wild places, and an even bigger role throughout the world as a major food source. In 2019, the nature center will feature at least one program per month with information about fish, or an opportunity to learn how to fish.
“Fishing can teach us valuable lessons for life,” said Sindupa DeSilva, a MDC natural resource assistant. “At times you must sacrifice a couple worms to get a fish or a great catch can get away just within your reach. One great lesson from fishing is that patience and persistence can be very rewarding.”
January will feature two programs as part of a Year of Fish. First, the nature center will host Outdoor Cooking: Fish on Saturday, Jan. 5, from 10 a.m. to noon. The official kick-off of A Year of Fish will be Saturday, Jan. 26, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Expect games, programs, crafts, snacks, drawings, and lots of fish-focused fun. Programs will occur at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. with seating on a first come, first served basis.
“Sometimes people can forget about fish, and their importance, as we go about our daily lives,” said Angela Pierce, a MDC naturalist. “But fish and fishing are very important. People around the world survive by fishing for their food, and recreationally, fishing helps people relax and connect to nature.”
According to the World Fish Center, a sustainable approach to fisheries and aquaculture helps protect natural resources and ensures fish species remain for future generations. Over 41 million people worldwide work in fish production, providing fish as a main source of protein in many populations. Fish also play a major role in the food chain, acting as both predator and prey in their various habitats.
“As almost everything on a landscape gets washed into some body of water, fish are good indicators of ecosystem health,” DeSilva said. “Understanding this can help us recognize problems in our environment.”
The nature center will host programs throughout the year to teach fishing tips and answer questions about various fish species. All participants who attend five fish-related programs throughout the year will be entered to win a drawing for a beginner’s tackle box with two fishing poles, different types of lures, bobbers, and a fish identification guide. The prize will be drawn at the end of 2019.
“Fishing is a great way to connect with family and friends,” said Pierce, “If you’ve never fished, grab a mentor, or stop by the nature center and we’ll help get you started.”