More Than Fishing
By Grace Caldwell
I recently worked on a conservation project with fellow teammate, Landon Harrington. Landon had a plan to recycle Christmas trees to help form fish habitats at Sleepy Creek Lake, a West Virginia owned lake and hunting area. He set a goal of 40 trees for the project and divided the work into four days. Landon spoke with biologists and representatives from the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources to help outline the project. Some of the local tree farms were gracious enough to donate trees left over from the Christmas season to aid the cause. A few of our fellow team members helped collect them on a very cold and windy day with temperatures in the 20’s.
Once the date was planned for them to be dropped off at the high school, we were ready to set the trees. Biologists gave a presentation to the fishing team about conservation and how Landon’s project will help. Landon is a sophomore at my school and he is also a true outdoorsman. He is the 2015 West Virginia Junior State Champion and has experience fishing a national tournament. Landon spends his free time outside, fishing or hunting and excels in athletics.
Landon has a passion for the environment and is an avid conservationist. He feels that it is important to maintain our natural resources for generations to come. This project was fun to work on with him. Despite freezing temperatures, he followed through and met the quota, while helping keep the community free from degrading trees being thrown along the roadside and increasing the fish habitat at the lake. I know that this project has been successful because in the two weeks between visits to set the trees, panfish have already found the trees that were previously placed.
Fishing is so much more than just fishing. We must encourage conservation, education, and love of the sport. You may ask how? Just love what you do and conservation and education come easily. You will want to teach and save our resources. That’s right, OUR resources. It is our duty now, our generation to protect. Just as many others have done before us so that we may enjoy all the beauty that there is to offer.
I would like to thank Landon for stepping up for our team by doing what is right and encouraging others to pick a conservation project to follow through with. Please remember these words from conservationist Baba Dioum: “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.”