Community | Featured

We are TU: Bridget Moran

Image by C. Wiseman

We care about clean water, healthy fisheries and vibrant communities. We roll up our sleeves to volunteer, we sit on our boards, and we strategize as members and leaders of staff. We want you to join us.   For a discounted first-time membership, click here: https://gifts.tu.org/we-are-tu 

The aim of this blog series is to highlight our friends, in hopes of making many new friends of broad stripes. In this series you’ll meet people of diverse communities – our good ideas, what we have in common, and where we differ. Know someone we should feature? Nominate them here

Since it’s not possible to sit down and have coffee or spend an afternoon on the river to show you what we’re up to, a blog post will have to do. As you read, we hope you’ll consider joining us. We need your ideas to help make a bigger impact.   

Together, we’ll help protect the special places we love.   

Bridget’s nomination details her work volunteering to grow the programming for Trout Unlimited, specifically for women in the Bellingham, Wash., area as she pursues degrees in fisheries biology. We’re impressed with her vision (and time management skills, frankly) especially for someone under the age of 30 who is also the preside of the North Sound chapter. Her nominator said, “The Anglers—and salmon and steelhead—that call northwest Washington home are lucky to have people like Bridget around, and she is truly one of the greatest stewards of steelhead and salmon habitat that I know.” Trout Unlimited certainly shares that sentiment.  

Introducing: Bridget Moran. (Instagram @ bridgetmmoran) 

The day begins with an empty email inbox, or even better: a dead cellphone. I then open the doors of the van and drink hot coffee in a T-shirt and jorts while staring out at the waves.

Bridget Moran, on her perfect day

What is your hometown and current town: Hometown: Brier, Wash. It’s ok, people who live in Brier don’t even know where Brier is. Current town: Bellingham, Wash. 

What’s your history with conservation? I got involved with conservation projects in college when I finally learned how to focus on something other than my self-centric little world. I started taking enviro classes and the flame was lit. Since moving to Bellingham, I’ve become a board member with North Sound TU, I volunteer with Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, and I currently lead forage fish surveys for the Whatcom Marine Resources Committee. I have also put in one field season with a tribal cooperative monitoring juvenile salmonid outmigration in the Skagit River estuary and Skagit Bay, which was just as nerdy and cool as it sounds.  

What is your history with fishing/fly fishing? My dad and I spent many a stormy school night squid jigging in the Puget Sound. My idea of fishing consisted of being cold, wet, and tired. Nothing has changed since then, except that I swapped a pole for a rod and have blossomed into a fly fisherman. I’ve come to learn that steelhead and salmon also prefer their anglers to be cold, wet, and tired, but there is thankfully a lot less ink involved. I also enjoy fishing for sea run cutthroat and bull trout throughout the Salish Sea.    

What does ‘giving back’ mean to you? I used to not like the term ‘giving back’ because it implies that you first have to get something before you return the favor. I thought gifts of time and resources were just that: gifts – something you give to someone without expectation of getting something in return. Generosity without expectation is theoretically good, but it can lead us to overlook what is actually being given to us. In the case of coldwater fisheries conservation, we humans receive enormous gifts from fish – entertainment, peace, sustenance, healthy ecosystems, a connection to our natural world. They’re not always tangible, but fish give us gifts every day. Our coldwater fisheries have economic, cultural, and ecological value. When thought about in this way, it’s a no-brainer as to why we should give back to them. I want to maintain this state of reciprocity – to say ‘thanks’ for the gifts that fish give me – through my gift of time and resources, however limited they may be.  

Describe a perfect day. The day begins with an empty email inbox, or even better: a dead cellphone. I then open the doors of the van and drink hot coffee in a T-shirt and jorts while staring out at the waves. It’s low tide and there are a million intertidal creatures to discover. I strap on some water shoes, grab my binoculars, and start skipping over the rocks. My notebook fills up with seabirds, anemones, shore crabs, and maybe even some grey whales if I’m lucky. I snap a few photos of my finds before casting to the saltwater. I won’t jinx myself here. I cook my meat, cheese, and potato foil dinner in a healthy beach fire. Toasted marshmallows are a plus. I get to read my book inside a warm sleeping bag and fall asleep whenever I darn well please.  

What are your secret skills? I can spread my toes oddly far apart and can flare my nostrils really quickly. This comes in handy when a) you need to gross someone out or b) you need to make someone laugh.  

What was your first job? I’ve done a lot of odd jobs, but my first “real” job was in a shipyard. I did brightwork, grinding, bottom painting, and some basic mechanics. I was young, blonde, and the only chick, which earned me the nickname Boatyard Barbie.  

What’s your favorite book and why? The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch. I must have read this book a dozen times now. Miles (the main character) was my childhood hero. He grew up on the edge of the Puget Sound and spent all of his free time cruising the tidal flats and making wild discoveries. It was easy to relate to this weird, nerdy kid who was absolutely enchanted by the sea.  

If you could give advice to your younger self, what advice would you give? Get your head out of your ass.  

What do you want to see in the future of Trout Unlimited or in conservation? Some f*#^&*g diversity! I want more indigenous voices, POC voices, LGBTQ voices, youth voices, women’s voices! Conservation only benefits from the collaborative ideas, actions, and passion of these people. Everyone deserves a seat at this table. It’s also important to remember that we are leaving this planet in the hands of the next generation, so youth of all backgrounds is particularly important. I hope to see TU and other conservation organizations continue to teach the younger generations how to take care of their natural resources and why it is imperative.  

Name a person you admire. Why do you admire them? Well, obviously I admire Woody Harrelson because he’s a dynamite actor and total smokeshow, but I also admire my mom. You’d be hard pressed to find a woman who is more conscious of the connections that scaffold our world. She’s patient, mindful, independent, selfless, and strong. I hope to be like her if I ever grow up. 

Why Trout UnlimitedI like what TU stands and doesn’t stand for. They support projects on our home waters and they actively stand in the way of atrocities like the Pebble Mine. #nopebblemine 

If you want to join Bridget and grow the community and work of Trout Unlimited, we encourage you to join us! For a discounted first-time membership, click here: https://gifts.tu.org/we-are-tu