Adventure Arkansas: Flyfishing with Rogers High School

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Science Class is in session...but the learning takes place outside for some students at Rogers High School.

A class in Rogers talked about the lessons they learned in their outdoor classroom and attempted to show Sean Bailey how to fly fish in this week's Adventure Arkansas.

"It's my favorite class I've ever taken," said Rogers student Delaney Large.

Delaney and her Outdoor Education class tested their fly fishing skills at Roaring River State Park.

Their teacher, Jeff Belk, explained why their classroom was in the Great Outdoors.

"The concept was to teach science in a fun way and to get them outside, having fun," said Belk. "Doing fly fishing for example, and then sneaking in the science with that activity."

The outdoor adventure gave senior Gabby Trevino the chance to test out her new fly fishing skills.

"We would practice out a couple times a week, outside or in the field house," Trevino said. "We just got really good at it, which is super cool because we got to apply it and go out somewhere and try to catch fish, which is really fun."

Fly fishing isn't the only adventure on the syllabus with Belk's Outdoor C.A.R.E.

"We do a lot of things in the class -- archery and minimal impact camping and all that," Belk said. "But the field trips, we go hiking and trap shooting for our first 9 weeks, second 9 weeks we go rock climbing, third 9 weeks we go fly fishing, and fourth 9 weeks paddling and small mouth bass fishing."

The field trip also pours in a lot of science lessons along with the fly fishing fun.

Gabby 1:17-1:35 "We are also going to do water quality testing today, and that's just going to check the life, I guess, inside the river," Gabby said. "If we find certain bugs that are intolerant to pollution, that means the river is relatively healthy. So that's another skill that we've learned."

Both instructor Shawn Flannigan and Delaney tried showing Sean Bailey the ropes on how to cast and catch the fish.

Except for a fish Belk caught, the rest of the fish weren't really biting for anyone else.

Delaney and Gabby said it's more about taking their lessons outside of school.

"It's a really cool experience because you learn everything in class but then you get hands on throughout the year by getting to go out and actually do what you learn," Delaney said. "So it's a really cool opportunity and a really cool thing to get to do."

"It's so much more different because you get real world application in this class," Gabby said. "You can go out and actually do things and try new things you've learned, which is really fun because you typically don't get that in a typical math class or English class. So it's awesome and I really love this class."

Jeff said this class is a natural break from electronics.

"We just want to get them back out into nature and give them something more worthwhile to do and have a healthier lifestyle through the outdoors," Belk said.

Belk has been offering this class at Rogers High School since 1999. It's also been incorporated into other schools across Northwest Arkansas.

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