News / Inspire a kid … change a life

From the Director

Inspire a kid … change a life

by: Brian Nesvik, Director of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

If you’ve been a long-time reader of Wyoming Wildlife, it’s not a surprise the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is passionate about inspiring kids to love Wyoming’s outdoors, wildlife and recreation. We believe investing time in youth and sharing excitement for the outdoors is worth it for the future of conservation. That’s why the department has prioritized connecting with kids and families in classrooms and at events as one of its top initiatives.

Over the last three years Game and Fish facilitated 778 education and outreach programs, which reached  more than 50,000 people. That’s a lot of inspiration to explore the outdoors in Wyoming! Those programs ranged from bringing furs, pelts, antlers and tracks to a kindergarten classroom, overnight camps at Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp near Dubois and the Wyoming Outdoor Expo. 

Game and Fish believes so much in education that not even the pandemic stopped  our outreach. In 2020 our department pivoted from in-person to online and still managed to host 151 education and outreach programs and reached 9,722 people. While COVID-19 presented some big challenges, it was our duty as a department to help families get outside, pick up new hobbies and develop a reverence for the resource.

All of us at Game and Fish are invested in this mission. You’ll see everyone in our agency lending a hand to help kids learn — from wardens to office managers to biologists to education staff. We also have a hearty group of volunteers that believe in the Game and Fish mission as well as the future of our legacy. This commitment to inspiring kids is how we’re able to host large, in-person events with lots of hands-on fun. 

One example is Free Fishing Day. Annually on the first Saturday in June anyone can fish without a license in Wyoming. Game and Fish will take advantage of the holiday to host events to teach kids, families and adults how to fish to kick off the season. This year the department will host kids and family fishing days across the state — including a large event in Cheyenne thanks to the generous support of Wyoming philanthropist Maury Brown and support from the WYldlife Fund. Look for details on the Game and Fish website and plan to join us.

The chance to meet a member of Game and Fish can change a kid’s life. It did mine. I tell the story often of meeting a game warden on a hunt with family and friends as a boy. The impression stuck with me, and I became a Wyoming warden. Today there are a number of diverse jobs with the department that we want youth to aspire to fill. We have computer programmers, engineers, habitat biologists, videographers, fish culturists, accountants, graphic designers and large carnivore biologists. The people who fill these roles are just as different as the jobs themselves, but we all have one thing in common. People who work at Game and Fish love Wyoming, the outdoors and wildlife. And if we can inspire kids to do those things, Wyoming’s conservation future will be bright.

- WGFD -

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