Larry Stott, Waukon East Elementary 6th grade science and math teacher, received the 2011 Brass Bluegill Award at the June 9 Natural Resource Commission meeting in Des Moines.
Stott has been involved in Fish Iowa! for 10 years and established an outstanding local program that exemplifies the goals of Fish Iowa! As part of the award, Stott received a set of 24 fishing rod and reels and carrying racks from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Education Program.
"Fishing is a lifetime sport enjoyed by all ages and that is what I try to instill in our 6th graders… They take pride in learning and knowing how to fish in various ways," he said. "When they actually catch the fish, it's like the icing on the cake. They start to feel a sense for the outdoors and the different activities that they can do with their family and friends."
Over the past 38 years Stott has been teaching 6th grade using various programs to involve students in the outdoors. He also has been a hunter education instructor for 37 years and a boater education instructor for the past several years.
Stott also runs the Conservation Club at Waukon East Elementary that meets for two hours each week after school.
The club tries to do something different each week like fishing trips, testing local streams and ponds for IOWATER (volunteer water monitoring program), planting trees at their school and in the Yellow River State Forest, designing, planting and maintaining a butterfly garden at their school, and building and setting up bluebird houses.
"We live in one of the most beautiful areas of Iowa and it has so much to offer for outdoor education," Stott said. "One of my passions is getting the students outdoors and teaching them about the world around them."
The club is popular with students and parents. Stott has received an afterschool program grant, as well as grants from the Iowa DNR, and the McElroy Foundation. He has acquired a room full of equipment with the generosity of many organizations and parents.
Fish Iowa! strives to create safe anglers and responsible stewards of Iowa's aquatic resources. Fish Iowa! is supported by Sportfish Restoration Funds which are obtained from excise taxes paid on fishing tackle and related items and fishing license dollars.Each year the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Aquatic Education Program honors an individual for their efforts in helping Iowa's youth become skilled anglers and advocates of fishing and natural resources conservation.