Youth Fishing Day in Downtown Lewiston
August 11, 2011
For more information:
Jonathan P. LaBonte, Executive Director
Androscoggin Land Trust
(207) 782-2302, firstname.lastname@example.org
Androscoggin Land Trust expands outreach to at-risk youth in planning for future of the Androscoggin River
ALT brings together Maine IF&W and Lewiston-based Tree Street Youth to host
Youth Fishing Day at Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park this Thursday morning
Lewiston, ME – As a continuation of efforts to reconnect communities of the Androscoggin River to the recreational potential of this major Maine river, the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT), and its river and trail planning partner the National Park Service, are hosting what might be downtown Lewiston-Auburn’s first Youth Fishing Day.
Through a year-long effort to assess potential land trail and water access to the Androscoggin River between the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner and downtown Lewiston-Auburn, a series of community-based events are being coordinated by ALT to reconnect residents to the Androscoggin and solicit their feedback on the experience. Recognizing the strengths of various state and local partners, ALT has engaged with the very successful Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs program of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to bring their programming and resources to the community.
"The Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) program is the flagship youth education program of the Future Fisherman Foundation and is sponsored in Maine by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. HOFNOD uses angling skill development as a gateway to teach youth about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and how to deal with the challenges facing them in their young lives," shares Emily McCabe, Activities Coordinator for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, in describing the program.
While the event is open to the public, ALT sought a local organization that might benefit from this unique youth event to target its promotion. Tree Street Youth, a new initiative in downtown Lewiston to offer programming and summer educational support to at-risk youth living in that city, became an ideal partner, as many of these children and their families live only a few minute walk from the downtown riverfront.
Julia Sleeper, director of Tree Street Youth stated that “this fishing event is a fantastic way for these local kids to wrap up their summer program. With resources often limited for downtown families, providing a fun outdoor experience for these kids to help build pride in their community is exciting. We’re thankful to ALT for coordinating and Maine IF&W for taking the time to introduce these kids to fishing.”
Riverside trails and parks have emerged in Lewiston and Auburn over the last 15 years, but interest is now growing for more water-based activities including kayaking, canoeing and fishing. With a growing number of worn paths emerging along the banks, as local residents seek fishing spots, ALT has moved to include riverbank fishing into its river recreation study.
“We are excited to be playing this coordinating role in the community of Lewiston-Auburn,” states Jonathan LaBonte, executive director of ALT. “Both cities have made significant investments in improvement to the riverfront areas, local groups like Tree Street Youth are seeking to engage young people and empower them to set high expectations for themselves, and Maine IFW has built a great program to connect youth to Maine’s great heritage of outdoor sports. If we can help connect these dots, we are happy to do it.”
ALT was awarded a series of grants for 2011 to focus on planning for land and water trail linkages between Gulf Island Pond and the downtown commercial and residential areas of Lewiston-Auburn. This includes support from the Environmental Funders Network’s Quality of Place Initiative, the Ferguson Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, and technical support from the National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails Program.
The event, to be held starting at 9:30 AM this Thursday (8/11/2011) is open to the public. Youth aged 15 and under are asked to come with an adult or parent and loaner equipment is available for those without fishing gear.
DATE: Thursday, August 11th, 2011
TIME: 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM
LOCATION: Simard-Payne (Railroad) Park, Lewiston, Maine (meet at brick patio in northwest corner of the park)
EQUIPMENT NEEDS: Bring your own fishing pole and bait if you have it, but loaner equipment will be available