Pine River Students experience half-day of outdoor adventures

LEROY — Instead of going to his third hour class, 10th-grader Jake Bronsema stood in the Pine River High School gym perfecting his fly-fishing cast. Having just been instructed on casting technique by Terry Tatarchuck, of Trout Unlimited, Bronsema flicked the line through the air, following Tatarchuck’s guidance that “slack is your enemy.” Bronsema was participating in Pine River High School’s annual Outdoor Day on Sept. 19, a half-day of instruction and hands-on activities designed to teach students about outdoor activities. “I’m more of an outdoors kind of person,” Bronsema said. “I’d rather do stuff like this than sit in a classroom.” Students signed up for three activities in which to participate and rotated every 23 minutes. The experience offered students the option of learning about archery, animal trapping, carving, turkey calls, painting, violin-making, spinning yarn from sheep wool, contra-dancing, pike spearing, ice fishing and broom-making. Pine River High School shop teacher Tim Jones brought the program to Pine River more than 10 years ago as a way to broaden students’ horizons. “You hear so much talk about kids sitting inside being glued to the television, and I thought if they can experience these things, maybe we can get them outside a little more,” Jones said. With the Osceola County area packed with talented local outdoorsmen, Jones said finding individuals to present was not a challenging endeavor. “We have so much talent locally and this is a way to show that off to kids,” he said. Many presenters are county residents, but others, like Howard Taylor, came from across Michigan. Taylor recently opened a broom shop in Wellington Farm near Grayling and came to Outdoor Day to show students his work. “A lot of people buy handmade brooms for decoration and other people buy them because they are durable,” Taylor said. Jim Maturen, Osceola County turkey hunter, showed students various turkey calls and handed out turkey calls made out of a red straw. “It’s just something that kids don’t normally get exposed to,” said Kim Miller, principal of Pine River High School. “Every year, they have so much fun (during Outdoor Day).” Jones said he would like to expand Outdoor Day to include a full day of instruction and invite community members to join the students. “I get a lot of the parents asking if they can come too,” Jones said. “Ideally, it would be nice if we had 30 presenters here and we had a whole day.”
Visit the photo gallery to see more photos from the Outdoor Day.