STREAM Girls: one of the coolest programs that TU does. Of course, I’m totally biased, since it was an idea that I came up with after having a good long talk with my momma about how to get more girls and women involved in conservation and fly fishing.
The second annual STREAM Girls event was held on June 19th and 20th, in Wisconsin’s Jordan Park, along the Plover River. It is a collaborative event between Trout Unlimited and the Girl Scouts of America, and we were very excited to get our girls involved and learning about water once again!
STREAM is an acronym that is based on the STEM education emphasis: S for science, T for technology, R for recreation, E for engineering, A for arts, and M for math.
The STREAM Girls curriculum covers many topics: everything from the science behind water flow, streamside vegetation, fish habitat and water quality to fly tying and casting.
Entomology is always a BIG HIT!
We made a direct connection from the bugs in the stream to the flies that we tie, and ushered the girls to stations to tie some flies, with a fabulous 1:1 ratio of volunteers to girls. They followed a wooly bugger recipe, then were given a little creative license to make their own!
We wrapped up the first day with fly casting basics and casting games, then practicing casting into water. It really does have a totally different feel than learning on grass, so we tried to create as authentic a learning environment as we could.
TU national staff and volunteers designed and provided specialized handbooks to the scouts, outlining their activities for the program. The program is about 75% science-based and 25% angling, and it includes an at-home checklist to share with their families, evaluating their familial impact on their watershed.
We had Junior Girl Scouts for the full day of learning on Friday, and Brownies joined us on Saturday morning. The older girls took the younger girls on a streamwalk, stopping at volunteer-manned stations, sharing what they’ve learned about the stream, and answering questions along the way. Each stop earned them a charm or bead for a bracelet that they assembled at the end of the stream walk.
Channel 7 news even came out to cover the event!
It was raining on us for the majority of Saturday, but we wrapped those girls in ponchos and we braved the rain for a little shore fishing on Jordan Pond.
We had 18 graduates of the STREAM Girls program, each earning a patch for the back of their vest or sash, a certificate of completion, and a water bottle with the STREAM Girls logo.
As the girls packed up their gear, excitedly showing their parents their new patch, I found peace in my heart knowing we’d helped to create a new generation of educated observers and nature lovers.
TU volunteers came from all corners of Wisconsin to share their passion and knowledge about water, and I’m incredibly thankful for the kindness and generosity of everyone who contributed.
One of those dedicated volunteers was my friend, Mike Kuhr. We went out fishing on my home water (the Tomorrow River) Friday evening, and had a lot of fun!
Fishing in the dark is every bit as difficult as you would think it would be, but catching fish is even more rewarding, if that’s possible. It was a great time, and I caught my biggest nighttime fish yet! 🙂
After that whirlwind of a weekend, I was so thankful to get home to my pup and Mr. Mustache. I need a vacation!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Miles this year: 296.1