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November 15, 2013

DuPage County Fifth-Graders Release Smallmouth Bass and Learn about Big Sustainable Seafood Issues


Bass in the Class

Imagine you’re a fifth-grader. You’re interested in friends, fun extracurricular activities, new movies and… how about sustainable seafood? 

At DuPage County Forest Preserve, Shedd’s Right Bite team joined the learning fun as part of a bass release program offered through the preserve, called Bass in the Class. Students from around DuPage County grew smallmouth bass in their classrooms, which will be released in a nearby recreational lake tomorrow. Drawing on the concept of raising bass for fishing, we said, “That’s a seafood issue, too!”

These energetic youngsters showed a true thirst for knowledge about sustainable seafood. As you can imagine, playing a game helped engage our visitors in a sometimes complicated and sometimes disheartening conversation about the state of the world’s fisheries.

Bass in the Class 2Asked to match an assortment of seafood cards with fishing gear types, the students worked together to solve the problem of how to best catch seafood and in the most sustainable ways—something we could learn from, right? Lining the table with plush toy animals, like dolphins and sharks, helped keep the conversation about bycatch light and fuzzy.

When asked what “sustainability” means, one student fired off his definition, which involved a fairly in-depth discourse on maximum sustainable yield. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I have a feeling the future of the world’s oceans is in good hands.

-Reid Bogert, Great Lakes and sustainability team

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