On a muggy May evening, Rachel tied a pink plastic frog to her fishing line. The moment the lure hit water, a huge bass lunged for it. Rachel was so excited, she jerked the frog away before the fish could snatch it. Although she tried until sundown, she couldn’t get the big bass to strike again.
The next morning, Rachel was up with the sun. In no time, she hooked the big bass. It weighed so much, she couldn’t lift it out of the water. She yelled for her dad who waded out to unhook the lunker. “We can eat him, put him on the cabin wall, or turn him loose,” her dad said. “You caught him, Rachel. You decide.” Rachel didn’t need to think long. “Turn him loose,” she said. “Maybe we’ll catch him again.”
Like she did with the bass, Rachel always thinks of the future. She’s helped protect endangered amphibians and started a Stream Team to clean up creeks. For her birthday, Rachel asked friends to donate money to the Conservation Heritage Foundation instead of giving presents. She mailed the foundation a check for $100.
Rachel loves to tag along with her sister Lauren when their dad hunts for deer. She wants to be a herpetologist when she grows up and practices catching frogs, snakes and turtles.
To learn about the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, visit www.mochf.org. by Rachel Schumacher, 11
Nichole LeClair Terrill