DWR Officers Teach Fishing to Special Needs Youth

May 28, 2021, 7:37 PM | Updated: 10:14 pm

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — Officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources took time out of their jobs to teach some valuable lessons to children with special needs.

The students showed up at a Brigham City pond Friday morning for a fishing lesson about nature and life.

Conservation Officer Trevor Doman with DWR knows through experience that fishing can take a lot of patience and time to master, though often, the sport is more about who you’re with than what you’re doing.

“It is a bonding experience,” Doman said. “Something I love about camping, being out in the wilderness with family, is doing that, and fishing is just spending time together. We love it.”

Doman was one of several conservation officers with Utah’s DWR who taught children in Box Elder High School’s Special Education program how to fish.

He spent most of his time with Tate, a junior at the school.

“I think that’s a lot of it is they enjoy us, just being here with them, communicating with them,” Doman said. “I’ve heard from some of the teachers how much when the kids get back to the classroom, they just talk about it. They’ve loved it. It’s been the greatest experience of the day, and the enjoyment it fills in their life, even if they don’t catch anything.”

The DWR has been teaming up with the high school for the activity for several years, though they missed out in 2019 because of rain, and in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Tate didn’t talk much, according to Doman, but seemed to enjoy the time, especially casting out his line, though he was excited to eventually snag a bluegill on his own.

“What’s nice is being able to teach the kids how to release a fish correctly so that you don’t kill it,” Doman explained. “That’s an important thing that we try to teach not only these guys if we can catch some fish, but also my kids and anyone that I am teaching is a proper way to be able to release a fish.”

Suzanne McBride, a special education teacher for functional skills, said though it’s nice to catch fish, the day is there as a chance for the kids to get out in their community and get to know others.

“(It’s a) great way to end the year, and it just gives them the chance to access their community and try something new,” McBride said. “It’s really important for students, particularly people with disabilities, to learn to access activities that are within their community.”

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DWR Officers Teach Fishing to Special Needs Youth