Day 4: Making experts
It was fairly hard to break the news to our group that we didn’t get to go fishing on Day 4. The boats were tied up with other things and mostly, we had lots of really important stuff to go over with the group.
We started off the morning with an explanation on how Bristol Bay’s incredible fishery is sustained and managed. From there, we jumped into a discussion about how watersheds work. Students recreated their home watersheds in the gravel out by the river and learned the importance of conservation at the watershed level. We encouraged them to think about how the waters of Bristol Bay are connected and unique. As someone from Anchorage, it is always fun to watch them draw their own amazing watersheds with incredible detail, while using sticks to etch the many rivers and lakes in the sand… all by memory.
After watersheds, the group had a lesson on the components of being a good host and providing excellent customer service. We talked about how guiding is less about fishing and mostly about making people happy – problem solving, going above and beyond and even covered things like nonverbal communication cues and first impressions. We also did some role playing, which is always entertaining.
After lunch, we went over job preparedness 101: writing a good resume, how to apply for a job, learning how to find available jobs (at Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) and beyond), how to ace an interview (more role playing) and other ways to get hired.
After some casting and tying time, the students listened to a presentation on the Bristol Bay Native Place Names Project, where BBNC is working to collect, preserve and increase accessibility to Native place names across the region. After dinner, we had Fisheries Biologists from the State and University of Washington give really interesting presentations about how the fish (and how big fish, specifically) in Bristol Bay thrive and are tracked by the State and other groups.
Once again, fully expecting the students to retreat to their rooms or bed, they all fled to the leader-making area or fly tying table in order to prepare for the next trip out.
It was a big “classroom day” and they did awesome – with enthusiasm to spare.