Wilkes County Summer Fun in June

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Wilkes County 4-H Tackles Fly Fishing

Wilkes County 4-H kicked off our summer programming with a Fly Fishing workshop with our friends from Alleghany County 4-H. The goal of this workshop was to introduce this method of fishing to youth who have little to no experience with this method of fishing.

Alex showing the different tools found in a fly tying kit.

Alex showing the different tools found in a fly tying kit.

Along with Wilkes 4-H Agent, Alex Kissinger, DJ Salyer, Alexander 4-H Agent, Amy Lucas, Alleghany 4-H Agent, and Blake Williams, Ashe County Horticulture Program Assistant, were on hand to help with this workshop. Youth had the opportunity to practice tying flies and casting before heading to a creek for some real world experience.

Fly tying practice

Fly tying practice

Participants were separated into two groups to ensure everyone could receive one-on-one assistance if they needed it. The tying groups started off by learning about the different tools found in the tying kit as well as how to use them. Participants in the first group tied a streamer fly called a “wooly bugger”, while the second group tied a dry fly that imitates a black beetle.

This was the first time any of the participants had tied a fly and they were all eager to learn more!

The second part of this workshop was the casting station. Learning to cast a fly rod takes tremendous patience and practice, but they did a great job! DJ and Blake worked with each participant to go over the basics of casting as well as the different parts of a fly rod. Participants used hula-hoops as targets to practice presenting their fly as you would in an actual fishing scenario.

DJ and Blake leading the casting station

The best part of the day was taking the group to spend some time at Cub Creek in North Wilkesboro to put what they had learned to the test. The stretch of Cub Creek allows easy access for beginning anglers and provides participants with the opportunity to see how their fly interacts with the current. Other obstacles such as branches were a challenge not experienced during their introduction to casting back at the office, but they handled it like champs! This group of 4-H’ers had a great time and are looking forward to more fly fishing workshops in the future!

4-H Art Party!

On June 6th, Wilkes County 4-H members joined our Administrative Assistant, Samantha Lusk, to learn about different painting techniques and to create their own masterpiece! The theme for this workshop focused on poultry, especially the anatomy of a rooster. As the participants painted each part of their rooster, Samantha and Alex talked about the anatomy of the rooster including the comb, waddles, and the different feather designations.

Samantha Lusk leading our 4-H Art Party!

Samantha Lusk leading our 4-H Art Party!

The participants had a wonderful time creating their piece of art, and were excited to engage in more painting activities in the future!

Grandfather Mountain

On June 13th, 4-H’ers from Alleghany, Yadkin, and Wilkes County made the trek to Grandfather Mountain in Linville. The group was treated to a tour of the animal exhibits at the park, where the Naturalists went into great detail about their animals and their care routine. Out of all of the habitats at the park, the river otter was the group’s favorite!

Naturalist telling our 4-H members about their Elk, Merle and Watson.

Naturalist telling our 4-H members about their Elk, Merle and Watson.

Who doesn't love a river otter?!

Who doesn’t love a river otter?!

After touring the animal exhibits, the group was transported to the Mile-High Bridge, and got to see where one of the scenes in “Forrest Gump” was filmed, where we all let out a “Run, Forrest, Run”! Those who crossed the bridge were treated to a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape.

4-H takes on the swinging bridge

4-H takes on the swinging bridge

Before departing for home, we perused the photos in the museum at the bridge to see how far the park has come in a short period of time. There were photos from back when the mountain was still owned by the Lenoir family, which is where the town of Lenoir gets its name. All in all it was a wonderful experience, and our youth learned a lot!

North Carolina Zoo

Our most recent Summer Fun excursion was to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, where we joined Alleghany, Surry, and Yadkin to learn more about their conservation efforts for their African species. We began the day with a presentation where our 4-H’ers had the opportunity to see replicas of lion skulls, antelope horns, and live insects. These items were used to educate about the different species housed at the Zoo, and there was even a time where youth could hold these specimens to appreciate them.

Zoo staff talk about their African species

Zoo staff talk about their African species

After a quick lunch, we headed out to take in the animal exhibits, which are always a big hit! The weather was a lot nicer than what was originally expected, so most of the animals were active. Although our group put several miles on our feet, we all had a great time!