Seven years ago, I asked Marcia Woolman, the first woman to win the Ray Mortenson Award, the highest honor Trout Unlimited gives to a volunteer, what was most important for volunteers. Her response? “Chris, just say thank you.”
Today, I begin every day thinking about Marcia’s counsel. How do you properly thank over 400 chapters all around the country that last year donated more than 700,000 hours of service to the communities in which they live—helping veterans to heal through flshing and time on the water; teaching kids about the wonder of nature and preparing them to become conservation stewards and advocates; cleaning up thousands of miles of local streams?
How also to thank the incredible staff and board of TU that last year alone protected more than three million acres of land and streams, reconnected 750 miles, and restored over 310 miles? No other organization can claim such success in the good work of conserving and restoring our natural inheritance.
We live in a world of quick hits. Crises, scandals, tweets and other social media (and, yes, I realize this note will hit social media), dominate our attention, and then drift away. In the meantime, on this day of giving thanks, I celebrate the volunteers and staff of Trout Unlimited and other organizations that do the hard and patient work of protecting, reconnecting, and restoring our great country’s natural wealth. It is not sexy, it takes many years, and is often driven by personal relationships—the kind that bind the nation together—the kind that truly make America great.
— Chris Wood