What do fly fishing and Western Libraries have in common? You might be surprised at the connections between these two seemingly incongruous things!
Professor Paul Piper, who is also Western Libraries librarian for Special Collections, is teaching a Library 320 Class this quarter, “Fly Fishing in American Literature and Culture.” This class explores both the sport and art of ﬂy ﬁshing in American literature and culture, and considers the implications of fly ﬁshing as a cultural phenomenon on gender, race, and environmental concerns by utilizing the ﬂy ﬁshing collection in Special Collections.
After a student in the class mentioned that he had never actually done any fly fishing and thought he could benefit from understanding something of the physical experience, Piper spoke with two professors who are also sitting in and contributing to the class, Woodring College of Education Human Services Professor Dr. Stan Goto, and Huxley College Environmental Sciences Professor Dr. Leo Bodensteiner, about arranging a time for students to experience what it feels like to cast a flyrod.
One sunny Thursday afternoon presented itself as the perfect opportunity for the class to engage in some experiential learning activities to help enrich their classroom experiences. Here are some photos of students gathered together on the lawn in from of Old Main first learning some tips from Bodensteiner, and then practicing their casting skills.
“The students seemed thrilled by the kinesthetic experience of holding and handling a fly rod. In subsequent discussion they talked about how it made the conceptual more real. Several students said they wanted to further pursue it," said Piper.
To see more pictures from Thursday's class, check out the Libraries Facebook page. To learn more about Western Libraries fly fishing collections, which includes: books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, artworks, audio and video personal interviews and histories, and fly fishing artifacts such as rods, reels, flies, and fly tying materials, contact: Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu.