Izaak Walton League of America

Aiming for Outdoor Education

The W.J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League has worked in partnership with the Duluth Retriever Club and the Hartley Nature Center for several years to offer two Youth Outdoor Expos. The events, for youth ages 7 to 17, are designed to interest kids in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities and provide a primer on required skills. The emphasis is on safety, ethics, and ecological impact.


At each event, volunteers from local conservation groups as well as state and local government agencies introduce youth to a range of outdoor activities and conservation issues. The spring Expo, held at the Hartley Nature Center, offers hands-on instruction in fly tying, bird house building, aquatic ecological health, waterfowl/upland shooting, bird watching, boating safety, knot tying, fur bearing species identification, reptile/amphibian identification, nature photography, geo-caching, and orienteering. The fall Expo, held at the Duluth Retriever Club, includes an orientation to upland and water dogs, archery, shotgunning, waterfowl cleaning, boating safety, effective use of decoys, fur bearers and their management, and other ecological issues.


About 90 to 100 youth participate every year, each accompanied by at least one adult. The events are free and include a lunch catered by W.J. McCabe Chapter volunteers. All materials and event resources are provided by commercial sponsors.


“Based on public response, it can be said that the Expo is a big success,” says W.J. McCabe Chapter president Brent Gurtek. “Thank goodness, since the fate of the environment and the safe, ethical pursuit of game greatly depends upon such mentoring initiatives.”


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Izaak Walton League of America
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