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A Fondness for Fishing

Written by Erick Anderson
    Wednesday, 14 June 2017
A Fondness for Fishing

One of my very first memories, from when I was three or four years old, was of me fishing with my dad. He had taken me camping up in the Chequamegon-Nicolet national forest. I remember only bits and pieces of riding in the truck, sleeping in a tent, and sitting around a campfire. But being out on a lake in the boat, that I remember quite vividly.

I remember stringing rubber waxworms onto my hook, "Mr. Twisters" my dad called them. And I remember the excitement of watching my bobber go down and feeling the tug on my line. The fish were biting like crazy that day! We pulled out panfish after panfish. They almost certainly were tiny, but to three year old me they were gigantic! That afternoon fishing with my father made a huge impact on me.


We have more family fishing programs than ever planned at the Urban Ecology Center this summer! Click the button for a list of what we have in store.


For the past four years, I’ve been supervising interns through the DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood program. When I’m training them, I always tell them that story to reinforce why their job matters. Research shows that significant experiences in nature influence a child growing up to become an environmentally-responsible adult. I credit that fishing trip with my father for leading me down the path to becoming an environmental educator. It’s hard to overstate how much fun it is for a kid to pull a fish out of the water, and see it up close. I’ve been fishing for my whole life, and that’s where I started. In that boat, with my dad. And now I have a son who is the same age as I was when I started fishing, and watching his excitement to cast his fishing pole makes me happier than just about anything else in the world.

Erick fishing blog 2017 Arlo Kara Anderson resize
The author and his son. Photo: Kara Anderson

In almost ten years, staff at our Washington Park branch have had the opportunity to fish with thousands of kids and parents. Neighborhood volunteer E.B. Garner launched the annual Fishing Day and the Wednesday Fishing Club twenty years ago. And with the help of our DNR interns (or finterns, as they’re known affectionately here at the Center), we’ve been able to help those programs grow and serve more kids every year.

I’d love to see many more families have a chance to fish in the Washington Park lagoon with us, and many more children grow up to remember fishing fondly as a kid. This summer, we will be offering more fishing programs than we ever have, and working hard to get people of all ages enjoying the outdoors and learning the art of angling.

Erick fishing blog 2017 child hands
Learning how to bait a hook in Washington Park from local angler E.B. Garner.

Summer Fishing Programs

Fishing is a wonderful way to connect people of all ages with both nature and their community, and here at the Center we offer some great ways for seasoned and aspiring anglers alike to get involved!

And don't forget, if you've sampled our programs and want to have your own angling adventure, fishing equipment is available to borrow at all three of our branches free for contributing memebers of the Center.

Remember: All adults and children over 16 need a valid fishing license to legally fish in Wisconsin. A great location to purchase a license is at the Milwaukee Natural Resources Department located at 2300 N Dr Martin Luther King, Milwaukee. Call (414) 263-8500 with questions. You can get more license information and even order one online by clicking here!

Wednesday Fishing Club in Washington Park - (multiple dates)

Friday Fishing Club in the Menomonee Valley - (multiple dates)

Family Fishing Adventure - June 24

Family Fish and Paddle - July 8

Family Fishing Adventure - July 22

Fishing for Dinner Series - starts August 3

Family Fishing Adventure - August 19

Erick Anderson

Erick Anderson

Plan A for Erick’s life was to become a high school science teacher. But after graduating from Waukesha’s Carroll University in 2006 with degrees in Chemistry and Secondary Education, he found himself stumbling upon a much more intriguing Plan B. Joining the national program Lutheran Volunteer Corps, he spent the next two years placed as a full-time Environmental Educator at the Riverside Park Branch and was given the opportunity to stay on for three more years. In 2011, he began Plan C as Community Program Coordinator at the Washington Park Branch, focusing particularly on the Young Scientists Club program. He looks forward to finding out what plans D through Z will have in store.

Upcoming Events

Event Listings

Monarch Larva Monitoring Survey - Washington Park

Washington Park

Monday, July 24th

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

More Details...

Ojibwe Language Study Group

Riverside Park

Monday, July 24th

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

More Details...

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