DULUTH, MInnesota ----- January 4, 2015 MinnAqua, a state aquatic resources and fishing education program, has won a national award for teaching youth about their natural environment through fishing.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources program recently received the Outstanding Aquatic Education Program Award at the national 2014 Aquatic Resources Education Association biannual conference in Traverse City, Michigan.
The award recognizes association members who increase public appreciation for aquatic resources and promote fishing opportunities. MinnAqua staff members Deborah Groebner, Michelle Kelly, Nadine Meyer and, posthumously, Roland Sigurdson, received the award.
“The MinnAqua team has a well-earned national reputation for developing and delivering some of the best aquatic and fishing education in the nation,” said C.B. Bylander, DNR outreach section chief. “It was honor to be recognized by peers.”
Sigurdson, who died unexpectedly in April, was further acknowledged by having AREA’s Outstanding Aquatic Education Program award named in his honor. In the future, the award will be called the Roland Sigurdson Outstanding Aquatic Education Program Award.
“Roland embodied what educators admire and kids appreciate,” Bylander said. “He made lessons about our natural world come alive, and he did so with warmth, patience and a depth of knowledge few possess.”
For 23 years, MinnAqua has partnered with organizations and individuals to introduce youth and families to angling. The program developed a curriculum called “Fishing: Get in the Habitat!” that helps educators address Minnesota academic standards in math, language arts, history and science.
The curriculum, available to those who have an interest sharing aquatic and fishing education, received national awards from the National Association for Interpretation and American Fisheries Society.
Photo cutline: From left: Michelle Kelly, Deborah Groebner, Nadine Meyer and C.B. Bylander receive the Outstanding Aquatic Education Program Award at the national 2014 Aquatic Resources Education Association biannual conference in Traverse City, Michigan. They stand near a display featuring the late Roland Sigurdson, who was MinnAqua aquatic education coordinator. The award will in the future be named the Roland Sigurdson Outstanding Aquatic Education Program Award.