By LAURIE WILHITE
For The Enterprise
The last Science, Technology, Recreation, Engineering, Art, and Math (STREAM) Explorers camp of the season ended with angle worms, bobbers, and cheers of delight at Ekone Park in Goldendale.
The successful fishing expedition was the culmination of the June 7 to 9 weekend camp at Brooks State Park and hosted by the Klickitat Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The purpose of the weekend camp was to teach youth about healthy stream habitat, casting, macroinvertebrates, fly tying, and stewardship.
As Trout Unlimited is a cold-water conservation, protection, and restoration organization, this was a perfect opportunity for Klickitat County youth to become familiar with the stream at Brooks.
A healthy stream has nine identifiable elements: water, riffles, rocks, trees, wood (logs), short plants, sky, animals, and bugs. On Saturday morning STREAM Explorers got in the East Prong of the Little Klickitat River that flows through Brooks and spent several hours wading and looking for the nine elements. In the afternoon campers used a kick screen to collect stream insect samples to identify.
Special guest instructors Jan and John Borhnsen traveled from Woodland to volunteer at camp. They are members of the International Fly Fishing Chapter of Clark and Skamania counties. Klickitat chapter members including Dick Stentz, Keith Steele, Greg Short were also on hand to teach the afternoon casting sessions.
Explorers casted their rods into hula hoops to perfect their aim and learned a variety of casting techniques.
The letter “A” in STREAM stands for art. The nature art leathercraft station helped campers create bookmarks, key chains, coasters, and wristbands to take home. Campers also had an opportunity to paint fish using a rubber mold technique taught by Jessie Steele.
Local TU chapter members Tom Fritsch, Greg Short, and Dick Stentz set up fly tying stations in the lodge and shared their expertise with the STREAM Explorers.
Most campers had never seen a fly tied before or tied one of their own, but after Fritsch’s demonstration they took a turn making a Wooly Bugger. Campers got to take home their own fly to use later this summer.
During the closing ceremony Sunday morning STREAM Explorers put on a presentation reviewing the nine elements of a healthy stream. Each camper earned a certificate and was given beads representing the nine elements to make a key chain or bracelet.