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Oklahoma Sportsman Recognized For 20 Years Of Volunteer Service

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 . Oklahoma anglers interested in becoming a volunteer with the Wildlife Department’s aquatic resource education program should contact Springer at (405) 521-4603.

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