The Sharp County Conservation District Board (SCCD) is very active in the community, often holding workshops and trainings for landowners on grazing and forest practices and each year they assist the schools training the youth in forest, soils, and surveying. The SCCD board is no stranger to promoting education and helping landowners learn about being good stewards of the land.

The SCCD Board meets once a month to discuss old and new business. Board members are Brian Neal, Bob Murphy, Charles Kunkel, John Katrosh, and Zack Baxter. During July 2021, while discussing new business and projects for the Fiscal Year 2022 Board Member Zack Baxter asked, “What do we do for the elderly? I am sure we have people who have worked with the conservation district for years and now they are in nursing homes.”

The SCCD board then realized it had probably been years or even decades since many of their seniors in nursing homes had enjoyed farm life much less just the simple pleasure of fishing. The SCCD board brainstormed how they could bring fishing to seniors in nursing homes. Secretary Cynthia Binder took the lead and wrote a grant to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Conservation Education Grant Program.

The Sharp County Conservation District’s vision came to life on May 23, 2022, with the assistance through the AG&FC grant, Cave City Nursing Home Activity Director Jenny Nash, and Stock My Pond of Lonoke. Large tanks stocked with some huge catfish were set up on the grounds of the facility and residents were supplied fishing rods, cane poles, snacks, and drinks. The residents were able to get outside and catch some fish while remaining safe and under the supervision of medical professionals.

The Cave City Nursing Home residents couldn’t have asked for a better time! Each of them took turns hooking and releasing the catfish, which brought back fond memories from their youth. For those few moments when these folks were catching fish, they were back in their childhoods and life was “normal” again.

Stock My Pond of Lonoke donated the fresh catfish, and the residents were able to enjoy fried catfish for supper Monday night. Even in semi-quarantine, these folks were having a wonderful time.

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