Monterey resident enjoys refuge’s Second Saturday event
NATCHEZ — Tazman Stampley, 13, will jump at any opportunity to fish.
Because of this, the Monterey, La., resident felt right at home at the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge Saturday.
The refuge held its Second Saturday event Saturday, and it didn’t take long for Stampley to cast his nets and lines in the backwaters on Magnolia Trail.
“My mom works for Bayou Cocodrie, and comes over here every so often,” Stampley said. “Even though she works (between the refuges), this is the first time I’ve ever been out here.”
In addition to fishing the backwaters of the refuge, manager Bob Strader said the event was also supposed to include a bird and plant walk, but no one showed up for it.
“We were hoping for a better turnout, and we’ll be focusing on how we can better market the event,” Strader said.
Still, Strader said there was plenty to do at the Magnolia Trail.
“We’re just trying to catch what’s out here in these backwaters,” Strader said. “All of this is Mississippi River water, and we’re trying to see what’s out here.”
For Stampley, though, the research part is just a bonus.
“As long as I get to fish, I’m happy,” tampley said.
Tazman’s mother, Deisha Stampley, said the outdoors in general is what made her son want to enjoy his Saturday morning at the refuge.
“If I just tell him we’re going to do something outdoors, he enjoys that,” Deisha said.
“I’ve worked on refuges his whole life, and he just likes the outdoors. He’s also a die-hard fisherman — he would do this all day. It doesn’t matter if he’s catching anything or not.”
Tazman said fishing is something passed down to him from his father, but the outdoors in general is the main reason he enjoys it.
“I’ve been fishing since before I can even remember,” Tazman said. “My dad’s a big fisherman, and he’d take me out with him all the time. I like fishing, but I mainly just love the outdoors.
“I’m in Boy Scouts, and that’s one of the reasons I like scouting, because you get to go on camps and stuff. I like not being cooped up in the house and being able to move around.”
Strader said his vision of the Second Saturday event is to make more children like Tazman aware of what the refuge has to offer.
“It’s a spin-off of the city’s First Friday event,” Strader said. “It gets put on the calendar as a regular date for people to come out here and do something.
“It’s geared towards getting more people involved in the refuge. Hunters and fishers know about it, but we’re trying to get more non-consumptive users.”
When more people begin showing up, Strader said he plans to keep the event structured around taking whoever’s interested on guided bird and plant tours, and letting children fish the backwaters.
And that’s a good thing for everyone who will come in the future, Deisha Stampley said.
“Every friend that Tazman brings enjoys being out on a refuge,” she said. “There are a good number of kids in town who don’t come out to places like this, and they should, because they can explore and be on their own.
“It’s also something safe to do. Refuges open up a whole new environment for them.”