20190421_spo_outdoors(2)

Libby Bivens, an Ashland-Greenwood elementary student, landed a lunker Thursday during the Outdoor Discovery Program.

A horde of some 2,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students descended upon Platte River State Park west of Omaha on Wednesday and Thursday.

The occasion was the 10th edition of Outdoor Discovery, an annual program sponsored by Nebraska Game and Parks.

Game and Parks staff, bolstered by dozens of volunteers, created teaching moments for the energetic students. The 38 stations ranged from zebra mussels to muzzleloaders, basic fishing to Dutch oven cooking, snakes of Nebraska, amphibian conservation, a live fish touch tank and more.

Each spring teachers are invited to choose stations for their class to visit during the day’s rotation of five 40-minute sessions. Activities are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. What teacher doesn’t want their students to have an on-the-water experience in a kayak? However, it takes more than a little luck to lock down such highly desirable activities with just five classes available each day.

Sign up for World-Herald daily sports updates

Get the headlines from Creighton, Nebraska, UNO, high schools and other area teams.

Every teacher is assigned five stations to visit with their students, and the 1,000 kids who swarm the park each day enjoy a full slate of outdoor adventure and education.

Despite the chaos, Ashland-Greenwood elementary student Libby Bivens landed a true trophy when an 11-inch bluegill chomped her worm. The fish bested the state qualifying standard for a Master Angler Award by a full inch.

To describe the daughter of Candie and Brent Bivens as ‘excited’ was to grossly understate the case. Not least of her rewards is to have bragging rights over the boys years into the future.

Larry Pape, director of youth and family fishing programs for Game and Parks, measured the fish and completed the award form, making sure to obtain the signature of certified fishing instructor and volunteer Ken Oligmueller from Fremont, who witnessed the catch.

Pape and his team of volunteers go across the state, standing ready to assist individuals and entire families at a host of free evening fishing events throughout the coming season from Omaha to Scottsbluff.

For a complete list of two-hour Community Fishing Nights in any region of the state, plus youth fishing tournaments, Carp ‘O Ramas at Branched Oak near Lincoln and Maloney Reservoir at North Platte, and other free activities visit outdoornebraska.gov and search ‘Fishing Events.’

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.