January 29, 2009
An Oklahoma City man recently was recognized by the Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife Conservation for his work over the last 20
years — work that has impacted the lives of thousands of people.
Recently, Joe McCrary, affectionately referred to as “Big Joe,”
was recognized by the Wildlife Department for his 20 years as a
volunteer with the Department’s aquatic resource education
program. “He has put a lot of volunteer time into the program, and
he loves what he does,” said Damon Springer, aquatic education
coordinator for the Wildlife Department. “His volunteer work has
been a positive thing for Oklahoma for a long time and we hope for
a long time to come.” McCrary’s volunteer work has included over
500 events over the years.
The Aquatic Resources Education Program is one of the Department's
tools to promote the sport of fishing and aquatic resource
awareness as well as a way to give youth an opportunity to learn
about Oklahoma's aquatic environments and how to fish.
“The main thing I like about this and why I’ve been so involved in
it for so many years is I feel we’re making a positive influence
on young peoples’ lives,” McCrary said.
Developed in 1988, the program's objectives are to increase the
understanding, appreciation, and awareness of Oklahoma's aquatic
resources while teaching basic angling skills and ethics.
Additionally, the program is used to promote sportfishing
opportunities in the state, enhance urban fishing opportunities;
develop adult fishing clinics and seminars and provide information
on fishing techniques.
These one-day events present information on such topics as fish
identification, knot-tying, fish cleaning and cooking, fishing
tackle selection and use, outdoor ethics and more. Most clinics
include fishing at a nearby pond or lake.
For more information about the aquatic resources education
program, log on to the Department’s Web site at
www.wildlifedepartment.com . Oklahoma anglers interested in
becoming a volunteer with the Wildlife Department’s aquatic
resource education program should contact Springer at (405)