LDWF shows appreciation for the state's aquatic volunteer instructors

Stephanie Vidrine and Rachel Duplechain were the recipients of the two Most Outstanding Volunteer awards. Together, they volunteered 178 hours in the past year. / Aquatic Volunteer, Diane Weigand, is instructed by New Orleans Fly Fishing Club member AJ Rosenbohm during the Fly Fishing 101 continued education seminar. (LDWF)

(LDWF) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) showed their appreciation for the state’s aquatic volunteers at the Aquatic Volunteer Instructor Program (VIP) Continued Education Workshop on Saturday, November 16.

Aquatic volunteers from across the state came out to Frenier Landing in LaPlace to expand their knowledge of Louisiana’s aquatic resources.

The volunteers were offered the choice of attending three different seminars to enhance their knowledge of recreational outdoor activities and current environmental issues in Louisiana.

LDWF Biologist, Erik Lang, led a seminar discussing “Life History of Speckled Trout and Redfish in Louisiana” and how LDWF collects the data for age and growth of fish. Volunteers also had the option to attend a Fly Fishing 101 course taught by the New Orleans Fly Fishing Club or a Kayaking 101 course on Lake Pontchartrain led by Massey’s Outfitters. These seminars provided the Aquatic Volunteers with new perspectives and experiences that they can utilize when volunteering for LDWF. After the workshops, the outstanding Aquatic Volunteers were recognized over dinner.

In the past year, the Aquatic Volunteer Instructors assisted at 82 different events with over 2,000 hours of service. These events ranged from fishing clinics or tournaments, to classroom visits, church festivals and more. LDWF Aquatic Volunteers are required to volunteer at least once per year after becoming certified. However, many volunteers go above and beyond their minimum requirement. Volunteer recognition was broken down into three different categories:

2019 Most Outstanding Volunteers: Rachel Duplechain (86.5 hours) and Stephanie Vidrine (91.5 hours)

1st Tier of Top Volunteers: (at least 8 days of service and 40 hours)
• Christy Flynn
• Debrina Baham
• Ed Richards
• Eric Lacefield
• Jay Schwander
• Joe France
• Kathleen Nichols
• Nancy Walsh
• Rachel Duplechain
• Stephanie Vidrine

2nd Tier of Top Volunteers: (4 days of service and 20 hours)
• Alfred Levy
• Beth Schwander
• Bob Bateman
• Christa Dedebant
• Cory MacMenamin
• David Alphonso Jr
• Diane Weigand
• Hank Marchal
• Jeff Schaffer
• Jenn Manuel
• Joe Guinta
• Keith McDavid
• Laura Palmer
• Lonnie Kennair
• Michael Nolan
• Michael White-Lewis
• Raelyn Cavallo
• Robert Johnson
• Stephanie Clingenpeel
• Tammy McDavid

In addition to the awards and workshops, volunteers were also made aware of LDWF updates, program statistics and the future of Aquatic VIP.

A special thank you to the sponsors and partners who helped to make the event so special: Academy Sports & Outdoors, Parish Coffee, City Park of New Orleans, Louisiana Seafood, New Orleans Fly Fishing Club, Massey’s Outfitters, and Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.

Aquatic VIP is a statewide program that anyone with a passion for instructing the public about Louisiana’s great fisheries can join. Does that sound like you? Lesson plans are even attached to the activities for teachers to incorporate fishing into their classroom.

If you are interested in becoming an Aquatic Volunteer Instructor for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, please visit our website at: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/ldwf-volunteer-programs

For questions, contact Alayna McGarry at amcgarry@wlf.la.gov or (504) 286-4050.

This event is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation (LWFF). The LWFF was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.

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