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Along with her sister Gay Grizell, Gail Grizell and her husband Dennis Knowles are actively engaged in community outreach. They lead the efforts to understand and address the flooding problems in their neighborhood.  However, Gail and Dennis are no strangers to civic engagement including their work to co-found The Fishing Foundation (TFF) in 2012. The Fishing Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to enrich people’s lives and encourage youth in the pursuit of a lifelong passion for the sport of fishing.

The project includes classroom instruction and training in five specific areas-

1. Aquatic Education

2. Casting

3. Water Safety

4. Identifying Local Fish Species

5. Fishing from Shore in a Safe and Secure Environment

TFF Impact on Youngsters Residing in Underserved Areas

Since 2012, The Fishing Foundation has touched the lives of hundreds of teens, youth, and adults. But Most importantly, The Fishing Foundation is providing youngsters residing in underserved areas a unique opportunity to connect with others, commune with nature, and expand their environmental experience. 

Through grant support, TFF provides instructional materials, a rod and reel, bait, tackle, and hands-on training by certified fishing instructors. All TFF staff and key volunteers are certified fishing instructors through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Passport to Fishing program. In addition, to expand its educational impact, TFF created a fishing manual for beginners to learn how to fish.

It’s also important to note that fostering a love for fishing supports stewardship of the environment and encourages outdoor activities. The facts are that today children spend less time in the natural world than in past generations. The increased use of computers, cell phones, iPads, and other technology contributes to a decrease in time spent outdoors. Some studies indicate that teens spend less than five hours a week outdoors.

Among minority groups in urban areas, it only gets worse. Lack of green space, access to parks, and financial constraint mean children of color often have less access to wholesome outdoor activities. This lack of outdoor exposure means a decreased understanding of the environment and the need to protect it.

Outreach to underserved populations is a major focus of The Fishing Foundation. children who otherwise might not have access, are provided with environmental education and opportunities. When children are exposed to educational programs and activities like fishing, they realize the importance of protecting the natural environment and become stewards of nature in their communities.

Why Spending Time Outdoor is Important

Spending time outdoors not only builds respect for the environment but can also provide life-long benefits as well. Connecting with green spaces such as parks and forests, and blue spaces, places with rivers and lakes, has been shown to help people get more exercise, reduce stress, build self-esteem, and overall improve a person’s quality of life.

Time outdoors not only builds respect, but People make careers out of working outdoors. This provides a positive impact on the environment and a positive influence on our youth. Opportunities exist for tending the land and water to protecting animals and wildlife. Careers extend from conservationists, scientists, foresters, and wildlife biologists, to farmers and park rangers. These are all professionals who make a living working mostly outdoors. To learn more about the work of The Fishing Foundation please visit