They fish, they hike, they help

Science teacher and club sponsor Renee Ekhoff poses with Phoenix Roberts in front of the Casting Contest table.

By Jackie Ruiz, Editor

         Students at Senior High experience fishing trips, volunteer opportunities, and more through the Outdoor Adventure Club. 

         Renee Ekhoff, the club’s sponsor, said that they focus on activities that have to do with the environment. 

         “Our club focuses a lot on family fishing events and fly fishing. We also have four community service projects and a kayak training session in the Spring,” she said.

Senior High’s Spanish teacher, Luis Fernández Ruiz, and Westridge student Noah Keister get ready to fish at Suks Lake.

         Ekhoff added that students will be learning archery and participating in hiking and tracking events as soon as the weather warms up. Students will get the chance to look at different animal tracks and droppings during their hike. 

         “We also have a few ice fishing events coming up soon, where students will get the chance to experience fishing in the Winter. We will go to the training first and then go fishing after that,” she said.

         Ekhoff explained that she became the sponsor because she is an outdoors person and had hopes of getting students outside of the classroom.

         “We had an outdoor club in the middle school, so when I moved up to the high school, I took over the program because the person that was here was leaving. I also just love hiking and fishing,” she said.

         Ekhoff added that she is a Youth Master Nationalist and volunteers for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission that helps sponsor a lot of their events and equipment.

         The Outdoor adventure club has six current members. They consist of Senior High students and middle school students that don’t have fishing clubs. Students meet in room 625b after school on Wednesdays.

Senior Salomon Perez-Reyes learns how to restore his fishing pole at the Outdoor Adventure Club.

         Senior Ethan Palma said he looks forward to kayaking in the Spring where an instructor will meet the members outside of Bader Park and teach them how to kayak. 

         “Before Winter break we did a lot of fishing and were talking about doing some kayaking soon. I would really like to learn how to kayak because it sounds really fun,” he said.

         Palma added that he encourages students to give new things a try because “they’ll never know if they like it, unless they try it.”

         Palma said that he joined the club this year and is most excited for the art contest they were recently informed about.

         Although community service is not required, the club volunteers to make their community a better place. They participate in trash pick-ups and fundraising events.

         “A lot of the time, we end up doing a lot of community service when we are doing activities outside. It’s a perfect way to preserve the area we like to be out in,” Ekoff said.

         She added that she is also excited to begin their kayak training sessions.

Aria Slattery, daughter of Senior High’s former teacher Janessa Slattery, catches a fish at the Casting Contest.

         “After we learn how to kayak, I hope I can get the students involved in kayak fishing which is a sport where they can fish independently. They have tournaments all over Nebraska and I hope students take an interest in them,” she said.

         Ekoff said she encourages students to join because going outside and getting involved is a part of social and emotional learning. 

         “Most of Grand Island has a sit and get spirit, where you go to work and come back home. This community is all that a student really knows. By going out in nature, students are learning hands-on how to take care of the land we live on,” she said.

         If students are interested in learning about the environment and going outdoors, the Outdoor Adventure Club might be the right fit.

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