By Ronnie Weston| March 19, 2012 at 3:17 PM CDT - Updated June 26 at 6:22 PM
LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – It's not only Spring Break for most schools in Arkansas, but March 19-25 is celebrated as National Wildlife Week. Since 1938, National Wildlife Week has been a time to learn about wildlife and nature.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be sponsoring several programs at its education centers and nature centers to help Arkansans understand wildlife, conservation and the outdoors.
During the same period, the AGFC's Family and Community Fisheries Program will be presenting some unique angling opportunities at each of the four AGFC nature centers around the state. Hundreds of rainbow trout and channel catfish are being stocked to provide some exciting opportunities for families during spring break.
As an added incentive, 25 fish at each nature center location will be tagged for special prizes that can be claimed at the centers. The fish are being provided by the AGFC's hatchery system. Each of the uniquely-themed nature centers presents a great opportunity to get hands-on learning about science in the outdoors.
The fish will be stocked at the MacArthur Park Pond in Little Rock, MLK Park Pond in Pine Bluff, Craighead Forest Park Pond in Jonesboro and Well's Lake in Fort Smith.
Basic fishing classes also will be held at each of the centers. Children 15 years of age and younger will learn about basic fishing skills. Youngsters at each of the classes will get the opportunity to win one of 15 new rod-n-reel combos, just in time for spring break.
The fishing classes and the stocked fish offer a great low-cost recreational opportunity at locations that are convenient for many Arkansans. Catching a tagged fish is not only an added incentive for kids to go fishing, information provided by the tags also helps to provide some great information on angling pressure and success for fisheries managers.
The tagged and stocked fish offer a unique complement to the great educational opportunities at each of the nature centers, according to the AGFC's Family and Community Fisheries Biologist Clifton Jackson. "I hope that families will take advantage of this free spring break outing and fish and visit at least one of the four locations around the state," Jackson said.
The National Wildlife Federation is providing a host of resources to explore various wildlife species, including individual species trading cards, lessons and activities, videos, articles and webinars. Visit www.nwf.org/nationalwildlifeweek to learn more and explore the resources available to help plan your adventure with wildlife. While not everyone has a rhinoceros beetle in their backyard, NWF encourages everyone to check out the wildlife in their community. NWF's Wildlife Watch can help you identify the wildlife that calls your neck of the woods home. You can even share pictures of the wildlife you spot at www.nwf.org/wildlifewatch.