Along with helping young anglers learn more about fishing tackle and success on the water, the ‘Shimano Varsity’ program for high school and college anglers is now ready to help them achieve success in higher education. Announced at its special reception for high school and college bass anglers following Saturday’s weigh-in at the Bassmaster Classic in Houston, for their studies beginning in fall 2017 Shimano will award five $3,000 scholarships to select high school seniors planning to major in biology, fisheries, wildlife or natural resource fields.
“Our scholarship program is one of the keystones to our entire Varsity program,” said Shimano Youth Fishing Director Frank Hyla. “With Shimano staff at all levels, we want to form a mentor relationship, and help these anglers pursue a college degree leading to a career creating better fisheries policy and management practices.”
Over the past 20 years, there has been a critical decline in professional natural resource managers who fish and hunt. “The future of the fishing industry is based on sustainable use and proper management of our public lands and waters,” notes Phil Morlock, Vice President for Government Affairs/Advocacy at Shimano. “We hope our scholarship program helps recruits these students – who already enjoy fishing and understand the importance of conservation efforts through their involvement with B.A.S.S. to pursue a college degree in natural resource professions.”
A specially selected panel, including Shimano’s Morlock, B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland, and Chris Horton with the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation, will determine the scholarship winners. Application forms – with an May 15 deadline – are available to high school seniors in both the U.S. and Canada, and can be found on the ‘Shimano Varsity’ program web site at http://varsity.shimano.com. Winners will be notified by early June, with a special announcement planned at the B.A.S.S. 2017 High School Championship in Paris Landing, Tenn.