BY LINDSAY AGNESS,
VP Youth Education for Trout Unlimited New York State
As a former Girl Scout many years ago and now the VP of youth education for Trout Unlimited of New York State I always dreamed about helping lead a girl scout troop to complete a fly fishing and stream conservation badge.
After retiring last year, I finally got my chance to start this program working with our local girl scout troop 61011 in Honeoye Falls-Lima. STREAM Girls is a Trout Unlimited watershed STEM program for girls that helps build confidence and breaks down barriers in science and the outdoors. The troop makes a connection to their local stream, and we adopted our local stream Honeoye Creek. The girls studied their home water through the eyes of a scientist, an artist and angler. The elements to complete the badge required the girls to observe the stream health, collect flow data & temperatures, sample & identified macroinvertebrates (aka aquatic bugs), and learn fly tying & fly-casting techniques. The girls spent time exploring their natural surroundings and recorded their thoughts, feelings & observations in their STREAM Girls Field notebooks.
After all their hard work the girls celebrated the completion of their badge in July by fly fishing on a local pond for bluegills & bass. The experience was beyond my expectations and the girls did great! Congratulations to Shannon Wisnowski the Troop leader for being the first troop in New York State to complete their STREAM Girls badge. The local Seth Green Trout Unlimited chapter also helped at each event with volunteers knowledgeable in fly fishing, conservation & fly tying. To learn more about STREAM Girls & Trout Unlimited go to https://www.tu.org/conservation/outreach-education/headwaters-youth-program/explore-watersheds/stream-girls/