When I first started taking my children fishing about 17 years ago... I didn't just want to teach them to fish.
About 10 minutes before we got to the lake I would tell them not to get the fishing gear out of the van until we had cleaned up.
We would get 50 gallon trash bags and walk around the area we had selected to fish and pick up old line, plastic cups, paper etc, The children were under strict instructions not to pick up glass, hooks or anything they did not recognize... and to tell 'Daddy' if they found any of these items.
They used to moan and mope a little... especially my boy Jon Jon... all he wanted to do was fish.
We did this every time we went fishing... after a while my daughter discovered 'Barbie' and it was just Jon Jon and I. This made the clean up a little more work and thus he didn't like it much. In fact it almost reached the point where he didn't want to go fishing anymore because of the Clean up thing.
One day we were walking the bank with our trash bags and a California Fish & Game Officer walked up and asked us what we were doing. I explained that we fished there a lot and we always cleaned up before and after we started to fish. My boy Jon Jon stared at this man in the green uniform and kept looking at the badge on his chest and the gun in it's holster... The Officer tousled Jon Jons hair and told him he wished there were more fisherman like us. He explained to Jon Jon that he had just picked up a dead duck. The ducks feet and beak had become entangled with fishing line and it had starved to death.
The officer left and we finished our clean up duties and started to fish. About an hour later the officer returned. He walked up to my boy and handed him a plastic replica of a Fish & Game Badge.
The look on my boys face was nothing short of incredulous. The officer shook his hand and said, "Thank you for helping me do my job".
I pinned the badge to Jon Jon's shirt and as we fished I kept catching him out of the corner of my eye, polishing it with his shirt sleeve.
It had taken me many hours over many fishing trips, to try and explain to my children why we had to clean up after ourselves. They understood this but they had a problem understanding why we had to pick up after other people. I can still hear the moans and groans that came from the rear seat of the van.
Following the experience with the officer, I never again had to ask Jon Jon to help me clean up. In fact the first items he put into the van when were loading to go fishing, was a couple of big trash bags. When we arrived at the lake, he would spring out of the van and grab his bag and start cleaning up all by himself.
We saw the officer many times after that and until he got a bit older Jon Jon always wore his badge when we went fishing. In fact I think he still has it in his tackle box to this day.
Some people are slobs and don't think about keeping our parks and lakes clean. It is up to us to teach our children the importance of being responsible. If we don't show them... who will show our Grand children.