(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 16, 2017)
Pontiac, MI – Areeba Aalam of Southfield had only gone fishing once before Saturday’s Art, Fish, Fun event at Pontiac’s Beaudette Park. The young girl comes from Southfield to Pontiac for school and was excited to come to the event. “It sounded fun and entertaining,” she said. “I learned that people work and have different jobs to help the planet.” She’d only fished with classmates before on a field trip. On Saturday she was able to fish with her mother.
Deacon Edward Benson of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church brought boys from the youth ministry program. “This teaches them about fellowship, and it helps them to learn to be around each other and the diversity of people that are here,” Deacon Benson said.
Art, Fish, Fun is a free event hosted by The Art Experience, The Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, Pure Oakland Water (POW), the City of Pontiac, and the Clinton River Watershed Council.
Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash and his staff were on hand to give fishing lessons and teach children to respect the waterways. Beaudette Park has Mill Dam which is monitored by the WRC.
Other groups were there to share information and host activities, including ReRoot Pontiac, a group that does urban farming. Jon Weyhrauch, President of ReRoot Pontiac, and intern Jack Bowman of Rochester helped people implant mushroom seeds into holes in logs where they were later taken to a lot and left to grow in an orchard behind the old Pontiac Central building.
“We teach about environmental topics to students. We have native plants and an orchard with pears, plums and peaches. There’s also a wooded lot with pallets of mushrooms that people are welcome to go and pick,” Weyhrauch said. On Saturday they had seeds for oyster mushrooms and shiitakes.
It was Bowman’s first big public event. “It’s fun. I enjoy it. The kids have got it all figured out, and they can go see the mushrooms for themselves later.”
Also there was Jill Robinson of Growing Pontiac, a group that helps connect over 30 community gardens in the city. She and other volunteers helped kids make seed necklaces out of little baggies and moistened cotton balls hung with yarn.
Most exciting for Robinson, however, was telling people about the ability to buy vacant lots inexpensively to turn them into gardens. “The County is letting people buy lots and there has been some great use of those spaces,” she said.
Aaron Cooch of the Department of Health and Human Services ran a booth that taught the public about how to look online to get information about what fish are safe to eat. “If you’re going to fish for food you need to be aware of the guidelines. Some of the water in Michigan is not safe because of mercury produced by industry. So our website is a good thing to be aware of,” Cooch said. “We try to come to do outreach to different areas so communities can know this information is out there.”
The Safe Fish Guide can be found by CLICKING HERE.
To keep up with events around Oakland County, visit our Event Page at http://oaklandcounty115.com/events/.