Title of Project:
Ensign Intermediate School Fishing Club
Ensign Intermediate School
For the past 25 years Ensign Intermediate School has had a Fishing Club for the seventh and eighth graders at the school. This is the oldest fishing club in the school system in California. In 2002, Joe Fuschetti, a Physical Education teacher at Ensign, wanted to add to the schools curriculum by adding a "Fishing" class. After going to the school board and applying for a grant from the Future Fisherman's Fund, he received approval and for the past 6 years has been teaching students about all aspects of fishing as an elective course.
Joe Fuschetti recently completed his Master's thesis on "Successful Methodologies of Sustainable Fishing and Boating Programs". There are now 10 other schools in California that have adopted this fishing/marine studies curriculum on both the middle school and high school level.
Students learn to raise trout in aquariums inside the classroom, which are then released in the San Gabriel Valley. Field trips are taken to the White Sea Bass Hatchery in Carlsbad, the Coast Guard facility in Newport Beach, Scripps Research Institute, etc. They take 3-4 fishing trips a year on the "Fury" out of Dana Point to fish for rockfish, yellowtail, white seabass, and tuna. On these trips the kids learn proper techniques to successfully release fish and are taught to only keep what is needed. They also learn about the marine environment including the whales/dolphins/sea lions, tides and currents, thermo cline, etc. Students also learn to properly tie knots, identification of fish species, and fishing technique.
Permission slips are required for students attending field trips.
Depending on the field trip, Mr. Fuschetti requires at least 3-4 adult volunteers for supervision. There are 25-30 students on each excursion. These volunteers are either fellow students or parent volunteers.
Mr. Fuschetti estimates that his annual budget is $20,000-$25,000 per year. This includes 3-4 fishing trips, a 3-day field trip to Emerald Bay on Catalina Island, and numerous field trips throughout the Southern California area.
Estimated Time Requirements: This is a full time job for Mr. Fuschetti. He teaches at the school Monday thru Friday and in his spare time searches and applies for grants and participates in the extracurricular activities. Volunteers are needed throughout the year for field trips.
For the fishing trips, Shimano donates all rods/reels to the class.
Lack of funding is always a concern. If there is no funding then the kids are not able to participate in activities. Mr. Fuschetti is always looking for sources of funding to allow additional opportunities for the students. The majority of the funding comes from grants, private donations, and parent donations.
Mr. Fuschetti has been so pleased with the acceptance of this program to the school. The students, staff, and parents have all praised the success. Mr. Fuschetti has been most impressed with the passion and excitement the students have shown. Their creative ideas have inspired him to continue with this program. This year a select few are participating in a "QuikScience Challenge". This is a competition sponsored by Quiksilver, USC, and Southern California's Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. Students must complete and present a project to improve ocean science education in their school and community. Mr. Fuschetti is heading up this project with 15 students.
Students are encouraged to write up their stories from trips. Below is an example of a story submitted to Pacific Coast Sportfishing magazine.