Volunteer Opportunities in the Fish & Boat Commission

The Fish & Boat Commission has opportunities for individuals or groups to volunteer their time and talents­to "give back" and provide service to the community. Each bureau may have separate requirements. Training, uniforms, education, age, allowances and travel expense reimbursement may vary. If you are interested in any of these volunteer opportunities, please contact us. The Fish & Boat Commission can supply you with a Volunteer Application. Complete the application and return it to the Personnel Office. It will be forwarded to the appropriate bureau.

The KARE Fishing Skills Instructor Program certifies those who wish to present "Fishing Skills and Aquatic Education" classes. KARE (Keystone Aquatic Resource Education) is an environmental education program concerned with water resources. These resources include our streams, lakes, rivers and their aquatic life forms. The PA Department of Education has approved this program for use in schools. The program has materials for all age groups. It is geared toward clubs, youth groups, camps and adult organizations. If you are involved with a youth organization, you might be interested in teaching these classes. The children who complete the classes learn basic aquatic ecology, safety, outdoor manners and conservation. They also learn how to fish. For more information, contact the Bureau of Boating & Education at 717-705-7833.

The Certified Fishing Skills Instructors Program promotes responsible fishing skills through the SMART program. Anyone can become a fishing skills instructor. You need not have fishing experience. You just need to have a valid PA fishing license. Rods, reels, tackle and bait can be obtained from the Fish & Boat Commission's regional offices. Training workshops are offered throughout the state. Training can also be given for your specific group. For more information, contact the Bureau of Boating & Education at 717-705-7833.


photo-WCO Derek Pritts

Deputy waterways conservation officers (DWCOs) work with waterways conservation officers. They help enforce fishing, boating and environmental rules and regulations. The state currently has some 300 volunteers working as DWCOs. The training is extensive and will aid anyone looking for future work in law enforcement. Weekend hours are a must! To apply, you must be a PA resident with a valid PA driver's license. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and reside in the district where they are interviewed. They must have 20/20 vision (or correctable to 20/20). They must have correct color vision and be able to use firearms with each hand. Applicants need to be able to swim and perform CPR. They will engage in strenuous activity, and must not have any criminal record. All applications to become a DWCO should be mailed to the regional manager of the county where the applicant resides.

Helping kid fish

photo-Art Michaels

The Volunteer Education and Information (E&I) Corps was established to assist and supplement Commission staff by educating and informing the public about Commission activities. The E&I Corps also provides services such as teaching fishing skills. Members lead casting activities for children, give presentations for civic groups and teach fishing skills. The E&I Corps also works exhibits and provides information to the public. All volunteers in the E&I Corps are reimbursed for mileage used on their private vehicles. They may participate in a Volunteer Incentive Program. The Program rewards volunteer time with points redeemable for gifts. The gifts range from educational resources to life jackets and graphite fly rods and reels. For more information, contact the Bureau of Boating & Education at 717-705-7848.

Canoe instruction

photo-Dan Martin

The Boating Safety Instructor Program was established to provide boaters with practical information. This instruction allows boaters to make more informed decisions and become safer boaters. Instructors for both classroom and in-water programs are needed. Courses include PA Basic Boating and PA Boating and Water Safety Awareness. Personal Watercraft (PWC) and Boating Safety Education Certifications are also offered. Instructors teach classroom and in-water boating courses. These classes are given to adult and youth groups. Volunteers are eligible for the Volunteer Incentive Program and are reimbursed for mileage. For more information, contact the Bureau of Boating & Education at 717-705-7833.

Stream improvement

photo-Dudley Parr

The Habitat Management section manages programs called Adopt-a-Stream and Adopt-a-Lake. These activities are well-suited to groups and organizations. They include one-time events and continuing projects. Local groups sponsor cleanups and fish habitat improvement projects, usually on a nearby waterway. The groups may also volunteer for specialty work, such as preventing stream bank erosion. Commission employees work directly with volunteers. We help investigate, initiate, administer and design projects. Assistance is given to co-manage fisheries habitat improvement projects. We also help develop restoration projects on PA waterways. For more information, contact the Habitat Management Section at 814-359-5185.

Adopt-an-Access. Many access areas are controlled by the Commission. This program can be used by a variety of groups. The groups simply adopt an access area and maintain it. Volunteers include school groups, scouts, civic groups and senior citizen groups. Volunteers keep the access area clean and report any violations to the local law enforcement office. Volunteers also conduct any other general maintenance required on the area. For more information, call 814-359-5152.

The Cooperative Nursery Program currently involves more than 150 sportsmen's groups. They help the Commission by raising fish at 184 sites across the state. The fish raised are mainly trout. Other groups also raise largemouth bass, walleyes and striped bass. These volunteer groups release the fish they raise into Commonwealth waters that are open to public fishing. For more information, call 814-359-5172.

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November/December 2000 Angler & Boater

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