If legislation is approved, NY high school students may soon be enjoying gym classes in the wild.
As debate over gun control continues to rage across the country, it is interesting to note two proposed bills that were introduced in the New York State Assembly and Senate last year.
The proposed measures may actually offer some of the wisest, and least controversial methods available to address the issue of gun control in NY State. If enacted, the legislation may actually provide a proactive opportunity, rather than the reactive measures, which have created so much controversy across the state in recent days.
The legislation includes, Assembly bill, A4345, sponsored by Assemblyman Will Barclay, R-Pulaski, and the Senate version, S4933 sponsored by Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mt. Hope. If approved, it would require the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to “develop an educational program for grades 9 through 12, …with information necessary for implementing an educational program encompassing outdoor opportunities for recreational and physical education purposes.”
Obviously, there are at least two politicians who believe there should be more to gym class than just basketball, baseball and football.
The measure, which is focused on high school physical education courses, has drawn wide support from the New York State Conservation Council.
If enacted, the legislation would provide school districts with a NYS Department of Education, approved high school curriculum centered on the traditional pursuits of hunting and fishing for use in physical education courses.
In many school districts, activities such as archery, Nordic skiing, mountain biking, flyfishing and orienteering are no longer part of gym class. Rather, these activities are offered as part of Health Class.
If the current legislation is enacted, students in New York schools would have and opportunity to learn about the various hunting and fishing seasons and the species that could be sought, and the numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and exercise.
Additionally, students would learn about the history and benefits of hunting and fishing in the development of New York State.
Such progressive measures would certainly put New York at the forefront of the international movement currently addressing the plight of ‘nature deficit disorder’ that afflicts children worldwide.
A key component of the curriculum would provide students with an opportunity to understand what firearms are intended for.
Hunter Safety Education takes the mystery out of firearms, and provides the necessary expertise for students to accomplish a hands-on demonstration.
New York would be a lot safer if students learn proper gun handling techniques from certified instructors, rather than by watching videos such as Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, or Resident Evil.
Recently, David Figura, an outdoor writer with The Post Standard in Syracuse, polled his readers whether public schools should be offering hunting, fishing and trapping education.
Admittedly, it wasn’t a scientific sampling considering the paper primarily serves an urban readership; but it was surprising!
The results were “All for it” 63.93%, “Are you kidding me? No way” 5.74% and “It should offered, but only as an elective. 28.69%”
Or, “Not sure. Need more information 1.64%”
One reader commented, “Give a kid a hook, and he’ll never be a crook.”
On the same topic, it is important to note SUNY-ESF’s Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb will again be hosting their popular Got Game? Series. This new program series will highlight the role that sportsmen play in conservation and game management. The events are intended to foster a connection among sportsmen and women across the Adirondacks, by providing an opportunity for them to swap stories; trades tips, and spend some time together over a bowl of chili, a beer or a hot chocolate.
The series begins on Saturday, Jan. 26 from 3-5 p.m. Admission is $5, and for further information, please call or email to register, at (518) 582-2000, or email@example.com.
Conveniently, the late afternoon start will allow participants an opportunity to put in a full day of skiing or snowshoeing before retreating to the comfortable, fireside confines of ESF’s historic Huntington Lodge in Newcomb.
The series will continue from January through April with a focus on a different game species, or an outdoor sporting skill.
The series will begin with guest speaker DEC Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Hurst leading a conversation on White-tailed Deer. Hurst is responsible for the management of New York’ whitetail population, and other big game animals.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.