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Fishing Field Trip Puts Students in Nature

September 28, 2021 - With cooperation from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and St. Louis County Parks, students and staff from Ackerman School of Special School District were able to soak in some sunshine while going fishing. About 80 students and 60 staff members spent their day at St. Ferdinand Park casting lines and catching fish.

“These trips are important because only a handful of our students can get out and do trips, like fish and be outdoors in a safe, controlled environment,” said Jason Betancourt, art teacher and coordinator of the trip. “It can be difficult for parents to take students out and enjoy the fresh air, pond, and sunlight without additional supports. The field trip provides an opportunity for students to experience something new in a safe environment.

The fishing field trip has been an annual occurrence for over 10 years, with a short break due to COVID closures. Betancourt and all of Ackerman’s staff were excited to be able to bring students into nature once again this year for some important life lessons. “We want them to learn some self-reliance, a chance for them to put a worm on a hook, cast a line, catch a fish, and leave a better person than when they arrived,” said Betancourt.

“The fishing field trip allows students to be in nature and learn or improve their fishing skills while improving their social skills and patience,” said Principal Lisa Leonard-Sneed. “This is a field trip that is enjoyed by all, and we are excited to be back!”

The trip was partially funded by MDC, which contributed funds to help cover the buses, and additional outside funding for the purchase of new fishing equipment and lures.


A small boy smiling while holding a fishing pole.Four students and staff members smiles for the camera, while sitting under the shade of a covered park bench.A girl in a hoodie holds up the line from her fishing rod, showing off a small fish she caught.