Saturday, May 3, 2014


You rarely see any entries with human beings included in the photos on this blog but every now and again I am motivated to post some small mention of human interaction along with the supporting evidence in the form of photographs.  Today is one such occasion.

I had the privilege of speaking to 200 boy scouts today in groups of around 30 scouts at a time.  Several TWRA members were assigned topics to speak about and the scouts were to use the information covered to achieve merit badges in the appropriate categories.  

I was assigned to speak about proper methods to release fish unharmed after catching them with either a spinning or fly rod, fishing flies and the insects they represent and the all important topic of "Leave No Trace" which sets guidelines for how one should act when in the wilderness.  All these topics are near and dear to my heart and I was enthusiastic about the presentations I delivered.  
My coworker, Paul Shaw, delivered some very interesting data to the scouts pertaining to invasive species to the state forests and waterways.  What great subjects to talk about!  Nothing about investments gone bad, political lies and fraud or any other subjects relating to Wall Street.  It was all animal, fish, birds, eagles, conduct in the outdoors and just plain lending a guiding hand to the next generation of sportsmen coming down the pike.
 Above and below is Paul Shaw delivering his presentation about invasive species to the scouts.  We repeated this process four times in a row as group after group of scouts rotated to our presentation area.

Above is Paul (closeup) discussing zebra muscles, an invasive species of mollusk that made its way to the great lakes from Russia and finally invaded our reservoirs here in Tennessee.  Terrorists mollusk's!
The easel below shows some of the topics covered in Paul's dissertation.
These are the "real" issues that are important to the planet.  This is the stuff politicians have no clue about, and it's a good thing they don't.
To be fair;  I have to say that the invasive species presentation was initiated by a terrific TWRA wildlife officer and Wildlife Management Area Manager, Jim Evans from Region 3 TWRA who had to leave a bit early, leaving Paul to administer the last two or three presentations.  You can see Jim below during one of his presentations.  The man knows his stuff.

Now, these kids are young but don't believe for a minute they aren't committed to learning the right way to handle things in the wilderness.  We covered a lot of material with these kids in order for them to achieve their merit badges, but more importantly we instilled in them the proper way to ethically treat the wilderness areas that are left to humanity.  Look at this kid below and note the determination - the intensity on his face.  This material is all that matters to him.
He even takes notes.  He constantly took notes.  I didn't get to meet him but I wish I did.
Boys like this are what makes what I do worth while.  It's all about them.  All of it.  These guys are the next generation of "sportsmen" to walk in the fields and streams of America.  Yes, I said sportsmen and not hunters and fishermen.  There is a difference.  These are scouts.  These are young men who have obviously been raised by parents with deep "American as well as religious" roots.  It shows.  I've never been associated with any finer young men than the Boy Scouts of America.  The fellow below is named Kensey.  I'm going to make a prediction.  I bet Kensey will achieve some great, earth shaking accomplishment or make a discovery that will rock the world of science in his lifetime.  He's that kind of personality.  This young man is the most pleasant, polite gentleman I've ever met and it was my privilege to shake his hand. 

Nice fish.  Way to go Kensey!
Everyone carries his own weight in the Boy Scouts, even their dogs.  Don't worry - he's got about a pound on each side of him.

Jim Negus, reservoir fisheries biologist launched the agency shock boat and put on a demonstration of how electrofishing works.  This part of the day was a really big hit.  Jim is shown holding some of the fish that were shocked for the scouts to see.  The shock operation simply stuns the fish and immobilizes them temperately.  They snap out of it very quickly and return to the depths unharmed --- usually.

The scouts had a great time fishing.  Many of the kids never held a fishing rod and I found it a rewarding experience when one of them came over to me and said, "Sir, could you help me get my line untangled?"  As I said, today was a great experience I'll not forget.
The Boy Scouts of America - Righteous adults guiding and teaching young men to be the stewards of our wildlife and habitat, ensuring the preservation of our wilderness places for future generations.