Trout Unlimited Presents 2001 National Conservation Awards
Russ Schnitzer , , TU 608-252-8404
8/20/2001 -- Portland, Ore. -- In what has become one of the organization’s most enduring traditions, Trout Unlimited (TU) bestowed awards to publicly recognize outstanding achievements of its members, Chapters, and Councils in pursuit of TU’s coldwater resource conservation mission. TU also recognizes the contributions of individuals and groups outside the organization who have made extraordinary contributions to the cause of conserving, protecting and restoring trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. Awards were presented at an August 18, 2001 luncheon during the annual TU National Convention.
The following fifteen awards were presented by TU President Charles Gauvin to these top representatives of TU’s 130,000 members, 35 State Councils, and 450 local chapters:
TOMORROW’S TROUT – Colorado Council
This award, presented for the first time last year, recognizes the council that has been the most exemplary in its conservation work while attracting new members, mentoring volunteer leaders, and reaching out to other conservationists. The Colorado Council was selected as this year’s recipient for its ability to cultivate and inspire volunteer leaders while achieving significant conservation victories. Its recent successes include reforming Colorado's whirling disease policies to eliminate the stocking of infected fish in trout waters, developing a landmark river protection program for the South Platte River in partnership with local governments, securing expanded catch-and-release regulations, and steadily growing its membership. Tom Krol, Colorado Council Chair, was present to receive the award.
GOLD TROUT – Paul H. Young Chapter (Michigan)
The highest award given to TU chapters, the Gold Trout, recognizes the chapter that has made the most significant contribution to coldwater fisheries conservation during the previous year while remaining dedicated to the development of its volunteers and membership. The Paul H. Young Chapter of Michigan is the recipient of this year’s award, recognizing their progressive use of electronic communications in order to serve more than 1000 members, their scholarship program supporting Michigan fisheries and coldwater management students, their Annual Granting Program that matches local funding for grassroots coldwater conservation projects - $150,000 since 1991, a “legendary” annual banquet that attracts 600+ guests, and of course their own conservation projects on the very streams where Trout Unlimited was born in 1959. Ron Peckens, Chapter President, received the award.
MORTENSEN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP
The Ray Mortensen Award for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership is TU’s highest individual honor, recognizing the vital role that our volunteers play in the organization’s success. Receiving this award for 2001 is Stan Griffin, the Southwest’s Regional Vice President and dedicated Trout Unlimited volunteer leader for more than two decades. A great deal of California’s wild salmonid recovery efforts have benefited in no small part from Stan’s steadfast dedication; coldwater fisheries management in the state has evolved with the 20-plus years of Stan’s involvement. Today, Stan’s presence continues to be felt at nearly every California Water Resources Board meeting where coldwater resources are on the agenda. He is a shining example of the difference one person can make in terms of activating others, generating participation at every decision-making level, and leading by example for the just cause of wild salmonid recovery and conservation.
SILVER TROUT -- Michigan’s Copper Country Chapter
Tennessee’s Clinch River Chapter
Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks Chapter
The Silver Trout Awards are given to those chapters with outstanding conservation achievements and exemplary steps towards the pursuit of TU’s coldwater conservation mission. The three 2001 Silver Trout chapters have developed impressive conservation programs and taken steps toward achieving major victories consistent with the National Conservation Agenda.
The Copper Country Chapter, northernmost chapter in Michigan, is currently working closely with Michigan agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a comprehensive program to reintroduce Great Lakes “Coaster” brook trout. Their volunteers have dedicated a tremendous effort towards restoring spawning habitat and monitoring reintroduction efforts as part of this native fish recovery campaign. The alliances that the chapter has built include partnerships with national, international, regional, state, local, tribal and governmental agencies, sportsperson’s groups, non-profit conservancies and a university. Their volunteers’ dirty hands, sore muscles, and indelible smiles result from wading streams, planting fish and trees, and contributing thousands of volunteer hours to conserving, protecting, and restoring Northern Michigan’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Chapter President Bill Deephouse received the award.
Tennessee’s Clinch River Chapter has been the driving force behind the success of the Coal Creek Watershed Association, a collaboration of diverse interests that has restored a coldwater fishery as part of a comprehensive effort to improve the quality of life in their region. The chapter has teamed up with the Appalachian Clean Streams Initiative, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and others to form the Coal Creek Clean Stream Initiative to reclaim abandoned coal mine lands within the watershed. The tireless efforts of this chapter’s volunteers have made their tiny Appalachian streams better places for trout to live and reproduce and helped to improve the watersheds for the people living there. Their work embodies the principle “what’s good for the trout is good for the people” in every way. The award was presented to Chapter Secretary Carol Moore.
Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks Chapter has made great strides towards coldwater conservation goals while existing in a county with only two traffic lights. Despite the potential challenges that a rural locale can present, Collegiate Peaks chapter members meet monthly as they have since 1985 – keeping fishing the attraction but never losing sight of the TU mission. Walking the walk, members can boast an annual average of 1500 volunteer hours on projects that include resource work, community outreach, youth education, organizational outreach, and their annual banquet, affectionately known as the Caddis Festival. The cooperative spirit that the Collegiate Peaks Chapter brings to Colorado coldwater conservation issues is truly an asset to both the council and to the national organization. The award was received by chapter members Fred Rasmussen and Sandy Long.
BOLLINGER NEWSLETTER AWARDS
WISCONSIN COUNCIL “WISCONSIN TROUT”
NORTHWESTERN CHAPTER (North Carolina) “NEWS & VIEWS”
The title of TU’s best newsletter is shared this year to recognize excellent publications at both the state council and chapter level. 2001 Bollinger Newsletter Award honors go to the Wisconsin Council’s publication Wisconsin Trout, and North Carolina’s Northwestern Chapter’s News and Views.
The newspaper-like format of Wisconsin Trout is engaging and provides the medium for a terrific balance of articles, from how-to’s to a variety of guest columns. Wisconsin Trout’s editor, Todd Hansen, does an outstanding job of seeking out news and interesting features as well as laying out and producing this fine communications tool. Wisconsin Trout goes above and beyond the basic purpose of a newsletter and acts as a regular call-to-action, an events calendar, a means of recruiting volunteers, a policy forum, and an advertising tool that is a pleasure to read and binds the active Wisconsin Council together. Newsletter editor Todd Hansen was present to receive the award.
News and Views, the winning chapter newsletter, is a publication that incorporates a unique and tasteful layout that keeps the Northwestern Chapter in touch and active. Editor and former Chapter President James Fortner, along with a design and production team consisting of Carol Bracewell and Tera Jarrett, produces News and Views with an annual budget of around $3,000. In turn, readers enjoy learning about the affairs of TU National, the North Carolina Council, and the Southeastern Region. Fortner emphasizes that: “When kept current on issues, membership and sponsors stay informed and ready to participate in conservation gifting and project work. They become part of the team!” Mr. Fortner received the award.
PROFESSIONAL CONSERVATIONIST AWARD (for scientists and others engaged in full-time fisheries work)
Barry Nehring, a Research Biologist with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (CDOW) and leader of the Division's Coldwater Stream Ecology Research Project, is nothing less than a pioneer in the ongoing battle against whirling disease. Since 1994, when he completed the first studies demonstrating the adverse effects of whirling disease on wild trout, Barry's research has demonstrated the need for more protective stocking policies and for site-specific projects to address disease "hot spots". Before launching his work on whirling disease, Barry conducted extensive studies demonstrating the appropriate use and benefits of special regulations. Those studies continue to guide the CDOW in managing wild trout populations. Barry Nehring's dedication to wild trout resources and his ability to bring agency personnel, Wildlife Commissioners, and non-governmental organizations together to best manage their future has made him a positive model for others in his field and a deserving recipient of the 2001 TU Professional Conservationist Award.
VOLUNTEER CONSERVATION AWARD (for those whose contribution to conservation has been through volunteer efforts)
This year’s honoree for volunteer contribution to coldwater conservation goes to Pennsylvania’s Rivers Conservation and Flyfishing Youth Camp. This volunteer-staffed and operated camp has introduced the harmonious relationship between flyfishing and coldwater conservation to 32 students a year since 1995. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of TU and situated in the backyard of the Cumberland Valley Chapter, all of the staff and instructors volunteer their time and talents to help bring about a successful camp. Chapter contributions include flies, equipment, t-shirts, hats, and volunteer time as gillies and supporter roles. This camp benefits not only the young anglers who attend, but also acts to bind the Pennsylvania Council together in a spirit of true cooperation and for the long-term benefit of our coldwater resources.
Co-directors Michael Klimkos, Dick Darr, and Catherine Tucker received the award on behalf of the camp.
COMMUNICATIONS FOR COLDWATER CONSERVATION AWARD (for journalists, writers, and photographers who have contributed to broader public awareness of trout and salmon issues)
This honor goes to two individuals -- co-leaders for the Tri-County ESA Response Team‘s Public Outreach and Involvement effort in the Seattle/Tacoma metropolitan area. Eric Maia represents King County and Ron Harris-White represents the City of Seattle. Eric and Ron instituted and co-led the Salmon Information Center Advisory Committee, which has been responsible for establishing both the Salmon Information Center (SIC) and Salmon Information TV (SITV). The SIC and SITV are valuable tools for communicating information about salmon recovery to the public. Eric and Ron have distinguished themselves as friends of the salmon and have led the way for clear communication of important salmon recovery messages to the public in a world where salmon recovery is a complex issue. Mr. Maia was present to receive both his and Mr. Harris-White’s award.
WINN MEMORIAL AWARD FOR SEA-RUN FISHERIES
The Winn Memorial Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the protection and restoration of anadromous salmonids and their habitat, is presented this year to Glenn Welden of Oregon. His remarkable achievements and a dedication to the future of the resource spanning more than two decades have placed Glenn at the frontlines of efforts to preserve Pacific Northwest salmon stocks. A spokesman to the media; a familiar face to state legislators, fisheries biologists, and conservationists throughout the region, his dedicated service has made Glenn an exemplary TU leader and helped to further coldwater resource conservation throughout the Pacific Northwest. His commitment to anadromous fish and their habitat serves to motivate and challenge future advocates.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS
Distinguished Service Awards recognize TU volunteers who, day-in and day-out, give their time and effort to make TU’s conservation successes possible. The 2001 recipients are:
- Larry Meicher (Wisconsin Council, Southern Wisconsin Chapter) – The distinguishing characteristic of Larry Meicher's contributions is that not only are they numerous, but they have been done over the long haul. He has stayed involved at every level of Trout Unlimited in Wisconsin for decades, and whatever needed to be done, he did. His contributions have been nothing short of outstanding, and he is just as involved today as he was thirty years ago! Perhaps Larry’s greatest contribution to TU has been his work in developing future leaders for the organization - a commitment to investing in human capital that makes TU what it is today.
- Bob Dunnagan (Idaho Council) – TU is fortunate to have in its ranks a leader the likes of Bob Dunnagan. He has invested more than a decade of distinguished service in TU volunteer leadership positions, beginning with his successful tenure as president of the Panhandle Chapter and now as an effective state council chair. Bob’s most notable achievement over the past several years was the hugely successful relicensing agreement TU and others recently reached with Avista on its Clark Fork River dams. Bob pours his heart into his work for the future of TU, while also identifying and encouraging future leaders to follow his lead. Under Dunnagan’s leadership, the Idaho Council reached a major organizational milestone when it recently hired its first executive director.
- Hal Harper (Montana) – Montana’s coldwater resources, along with the many anglers and other enthusiasts that treasure them, owe a debt of gratitude to the long-standing contributions of former State Representative Hal Harper. Rep. Harper was distinguished as the leading conservationist and angler’s best friend in the Montana Legislature during his 25 years of public service. During his tenure, Hal’s leadership improved or protected the Montana Environmental Policy Act, the Montana Natural Streambed and Land Protection Act, the Montana Major Facility Siting Act, and the Montana Water Quality Act – all legislation that preserved instream flows, improved review of subdivisions, required more sensitive management of state trust lands, and required responsible pesticide uses near water resources.
Trout Unlimited’s mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
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