The kids in the Carihi Fly Fishing program won’t call themselves heroes, so their instructor Nic Pisterzi (who himself is nominated for an award in the Educator category) will do it for them.
“They’re inspiring role models,” Pisterzi says. “They’re young conservationists at heart. Yes, they appreciate the sport of fly fishing, but they’ve gone well beyond that now and have started to acknowledge and appreciate that without a clean environment and functioning ecosystem, there wouldn’t be the opportunity for that, because there wouldn’t be those fish out there.”
They’ve cleaned up riverbanks, estuaries, streambeds and neighbourhoods. They’ve rebuilt salmon habitat, released fry, removed invasive plants and installed bird boxes.
“Basically, they’re giving a (expletive deleted) about our community,” Pisterzi says. “When most kids are sitting around playing xBox or Playstation, they’re out there picking up garbage and improving our community.
“That’s why I think they’re heroes.”