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NC State Extension

Presentation Guidelines: Fisheries & Aquatic Resources


  • To develop a deeper understanding of some aspect of our aquatic environment and how people relate to it.
  • To develop a foundation for helping society make wise decisions later in life concerning aquatic resource issues and how they affect people.
  • To develop self-confidence and public speaking skills that will serve them well in any walk of life.

Individuals or teams may compete.

  • 9-10 – 4-H’er must be 9 years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their eleventh burthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 11-13 – 4-H’er must be eleven years old prior to January 1 of the current year and not have reached their fourteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.
  • 14-18 – 4-H’er must be fourteen years of age prior to January 1 of the current year, and not have reached their nineteenth birthday before January 1 of the current year.

Presentation Ideas:

  • presentations concerning fish or other aquatic organisms
  • recreational or commercial fishing
  • aquaculture
  • habitat issues
  • human impacts on aquatic environments or any other aquatic-related topic (including social or economic issues)
  • both freshwater and marine topics are equally welcome.
  • a partial list of subjects from past district winners:
    • cleaning up oil spills
    • beach litter
    • artificial lures
    • sea turtles
    • sea-shell collecting
    • marble-painting
    • fish-printing
    • pond management
    • water pollution
    • striped bass tagging
    • proper care and preparation of fish you catch
    • SCUBA diving
    • fly tying
    • bass and trout fishing
    • crawfish aquaculture
    • setting up an aquarium

    As you can see, a wide range of topics fit into this category. Please don’t limit your thinking to these examples. I encourage Seniors to choose more “meaty” issues such as effects of pollution or overfishing on fish populations, rather than more elementary subjects like how to clean your catch. Also, I prefer to see repeat competitors present different topics, rather than using the same demonstration year after year (at least not more than twice).Some presentations eligible for other categories (like Environmental Quality) can also be used in Fisheries and Aquatic Resources. Feel free to call and discuss any presentation idea with me.


    • Publications

    • River’s Edge – includes Leader’s Curriculum Guide, Activity Sheet booklet, and the River’s Edge story.
    • Pond Management Guide (AG-424)
    • Videos

    • Managing Your Pond for Better Fishing – (23 min) A copy of this video was supplied to each county office. If you need a new copy you can get one from Visual Communications for $10.

The following materials are available for short-term loan from Jim Rice:


  • Stream Watching With Kids, An Outing Leader’s Guide – A great resource for how to organize and run an environmental education outing, with the basic information needed for nine different outings.
  • Groundwater: A Vital Resource – Twenty-three educational activities concerning the water cycle, growndwater, water quality (e.g., acid rain),and social aspects of water quality issues.
  • Aquatic Resources Education Curriculum – A thorough instructor’s manual to teach the basics of fishing and related topics.
  • Fishing is Funtastic! – A short comic book publication with information and activities introducing the basics of fishing (a limited number of copies are available for giveaway; contact Jim Rice).
  • Coastal Capers – Twenty fun and educational “capers” to teach young children about the coastal environment. Available from NC Sea Grant for $3.50 (919-515-2454, ask for publication UNC-SG-84-05).
  • WOW! – The Wonders of Wetlands – An educator’s guide to wetlands, with lots of great educational activities.
  • CATCH, An Aquatic Resources Education Program of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission – This program uses fishing as the medium to teach all sorts of fish biology, ecology, outdoor ethics, etc. It offers lots of great opportunities for after-school or club activities. The program requires some training; if interested, contact Jim Rice.
  • Aquatic WILD – Forty great indoor and outdoor activities that teach about important aquatic natural resource issues in very fun ways. Great for both clubs and after-school programs. One-day training workshop required; if interested, contact Jim Rice.
  • Videos:
    • We All Live Downstream – (28:30 min)
    • How to Clean Fish – (about 1 hr).

Linkages to Other Programs:

Environmental Quality Presentations Rules/Regulations:

  • NO LIVE ANIMALS can be used in the presentation. If preparations for the presentation will involve the use of live animals (for example, collecting observations, doing some kind of experiment, etc. that will be reported on in the presentation) please contact me in advance for guidance on the proper animal care and handling procedures to follow. Following the proper animal care and use guidelines is required for all live animal research conducted at the university, so awareness of these rules should be part of the educational experience for any 4H’er who works with live animals.

See NC 4-H Presentation Regulations
NC 4-H Presentation Scoresheet 9-13…in PDF
NC 4-H Presentation Scoresheet 14-18…in PDF

Suggestions/Helpful Hints:

    Speak loudly, clearly, and not too fast! Try to talk to your audience like you would to family or friends, rather than just reciting from memory. If you use posters, don’t put too much information on them; use large letters and just show main points or key words. You can fill in the details verbally. Use an outline, posters or props to guide you through the presentation, instead of reading a script. Dress neatly. Clothing or costume items that match your theme always seem to leave a good impression on judges. Look at your audience as much as possible, smile, and have fun!


  1. Judges will watch the presentation, ask the presenter a question or two, then fill out the standard judge’s score sheet.
  2. Once the division winners have been announced the judges will provide some positive, constructive, verbal feedback to the participants about their presentations.
  3. After Congress the score sheets will be mailed to the assisting 4-H agent so they can go over the scores and comments with the 4-H’er to help them improve their presentation skills.


District Winners: 9-10, Certificates; 11-13, 14-18 $75 scholarship to 4-H Congress for each division.

State Winners: $37.50 award for each division winner


James R. Hendricks, General Manager

Environmental Division, Duke Power Company

13339 Hagers Ferry Road

Huntersville, NC 28078

Dr. James A. Rice’s WWW page