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Dear Member,

In Trout Unlimited's more than 50-year history, we've watched politics come and go. TUWe've seen power shifts, party leadership changes and federal priorities and funding grow and shrink many times.

What hasn't changed, however, is our coldwater conservation mission and the belief that we can be part of the process of protecting our rivers and lands as sportsmen and women and as conservationists. Already this year, we've seen first-hand the power of the voice of anglers, hunters, outdoors enthusiasts and conservationists to sway public opinion – from Facebook and Twitter campaigns that have caused members of Congress to withdraw bad bills, to rallies, such as the pictured public lands rally in Montana that flooded the state capitol with over 1,500 people – among them many TU volunteers and members.

Whether you're from a red state or blue state, and no matter what party affiliation you hold, you can stand up with TU and know that we are all working together to protect, reconnect, restore, and sustain our coldwater rivers and streams and the wild and native trout that depend on them.

As a local volunteer leader, you play a vital role in this process and provide TU with the influence, credibility and power to drive positive change to benefit our rivers.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will reach out to and rely on you and your chapters and councils to help us make a difference on a range of issues. And we hope you will reach out to us for help as well.

To start, we invite you to learn more about our new advocacy tools and action center – Stand Up With Trout Unlimited. We hope that you, your chapters and council and your members will engage with us through this great platform to make our voices heard.

We know that "all politics is local" and the power of TU comes from the amazing grassroots base of volunteers who make our 400+ chapters and councils tick. So we're here to support you on a state and local level as well.

From public lands issues, to state bills seeking changes to stream protections, to local ordinances impacting water quality, there are many opportunities to engage your chapters, councils and members in making a difference close to home. We can provide you with support and guidance on these issues, talking points and statistics to strengthen your case and great resources like letter to the editor templates, newsletter content and more.

Whether hoping to speak up on a federal issue, looking to impact a state bill or budget, or hoping to sway local town officials to protect your favorite trout stream, please consider us your support system to help make your advocacy even stronger. Contact your Volunteer Operations Staff, or reach out to me by email at kmiller@tu.org to get started.

We look forward to working with you to make a difference!

Kate Miller
Director of Government Affairs

JOIN THE ONLINE COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: What effective strategies has your chapter employed to advocate for change at the local or state level?

EMBRACE A STREAM

Deadline to Discuss Your Project with Your Regional Representative is April 15

EASDon't forget, the deadline to discuss your potential Embrace A Stream grant application with your regional volunteer representative is April 15. If you miss this deadline, you will not be able to submit a formal application.

Since 1975, Trout Unlimited's Embrace A Stream grassroots grants program has provided over $4.5 million in grants to more than 1,000 local chapter and council conservation and education projects that are leveraged on the ground by thousands of volunteers who carry out our mission locally.

Whether your chapter has a large river restoration project planned, a youth initiative you'd like to launch or is interested in getting your feet wet with a smaller project, this program is designed to help you succeed and to provide you and your fellow volunteer leaders with the resources and support you need to bring our mission to your local waters.

Applying is easy, and your chapter will be helped every step of the way by your regional Embrace A Stream representative – a TU volunteer like you – and by our dedicated Volunteer Operations staff.

Watch this Embrace A Stream online training video for a quick overview of the program. Then download the Embrace A Stream grant application for a program overview and full details on how to apply and who to contact for help.

Key dates and deadlines to note are:

  • April 15 - Contact your regional representative
  • May 15 - Submit your draft proposal
  • July 15 - Submit your final proposal
  • Sept. 29 - Embrace A Stream grant winnners announced at TU's 2017 Annual Meeting in Roanoke, VA.
  • Nov. 6-12 - NEW THIS YEAR: Embrace A Stream Challenge Online Fundraising Competition

Two chapters or councils that apply for Embrace A Stream grants this year will walk away with a custom bamboo fly rod lovingly crafted by former Embrace A Stream committee representative Bill Lamberson! One rod will be given away in a random drawing of all eligible applications submitted by the July 15 deadline. The second rod will be given to the project, which is ranked the highest by the all-volunteer Embrace A Stream grants committee.

Don't hesitate to reach out with questions, and be sure to learn more about Embrace A Stream online at www.tu.org/eas and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EmbraceAStream.

TU CHAPTER GEAR & FUNDRAISING

New Opportunities from Temple Fork and Continued Support from L.L.Bean

We know that fundraising and community engagement are two of the core pillars that make for a successful chapter. In Volunteer Operations, we are always looking for ways to empower, encourage, and assist you and your chapters to be successful. We're pleased to announce three new opportunities that will give your chapter the edge it needs moving into the spring and allow you to make 2017 the best year yet!

TFO Added to Fundraising Program
Temple Fork OutfittersTemple Fork Outfitters has joined the heavy hitting lineup of TU Fundraising Program vendors. Now, chapters and councils have the opportunity to purchase rods and reels (including spinning and bait casting rods) from the entire TFO catalog at discounts up to 60% or more! You can view the TFO Fundraising product offerings, as well as all our other great vendors here!

Free Fly Rods from L.L.Bean
L.L.BeanEvery year, our partners at L.L.Bean help make chapter youth and veterans programs more successful by offering more than $40,000 in free Angler II fly rod outfits! These rods, which are perfect for beginners, are free for your chapter to receive. L.L.Bean's only requirement is that rods must be kept by the chapter – not given away or used for fundraising – and priority will be given to chapters using the rods for veterans service, youth education and community outreach programs.

The annual TU-L.L.Bean Gear Giveaway program is now open for applications. Your chapter president is the only one who can submit a request online before the April 21 deadline. Please limit requests to no more than 10 rods per chapter.

New Products in Leader Store
Leaders StoreAdditionally, we continue to add new items to the TU Leader Store, great products your chapter or council can purchase at our wholesale cost, plus shipping, to support your events, membership recruitment efforts and more.

Your chapter can always purchase TU stickers and decals, back issue of TROUT magazine and membership applications in the Leader Store. Additional items from our inventory are added regularly and available while supplies last! From TU hats and water bottles to croakies, coasters and more, you'll find items that are great for volunteer giveaways, incentives to attract new members and more.

To access the leader store, go to www.tu.org, login as a leader, hover over the "My TU" button and click on the "Leader Store" link in the drop down menu.

TU REGIONAL RENDEZVOUS

Participate in an Inspirational Weekend of Conservation, Community, Fishing and Fun!

Regional Rendezvous Join fellow conservationists, anglers and TU volunteers from across the country at one of four great regional rendezvous this spring.

Have fun fishing and spending time with TU members and friends like you talking about the ways the TU community can be fun, grow and drive our conservation mission forward on your local river!

Spend a weekend learning from and talking with some of TU's top staff and scientists. Share ideas and tips on protecting your local waters with other members, dedicated volunteers and partners from a range of agencies and nonprofits. Enjoy presentations on important conservation topics such as climate change and native trout as well as workshops designed to help you bring TU to your favorite stream through angler science activities, youth education projects and more.

TU's regional rendezvous are occasions to be inspired, to celebrate all we are accomplishing together and to commit ourselves to the important work ahead. They also offer opportunities for fun and camaraderie with excellent fishing opportunities, evening social activities and networking throughout.

Open to all members – and your friends – regional rendezvous are a sure way to jump start your learning, improve your conservation knowledge, accelerate your ability to help bring our mission to your favorite trout waters and to build relationships with people who share your passion for fishing and conservation.

Join hundreds of TU members like you at one of these great meetings:

Learn more about a regional meeting near you and register today online at www.tu.org/regionals.

JOIN THE ONLINE COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: Connect with volunteer from your region prior to the regional rendezvous in our special, new online communities!

VETERANS SERVICES

Nominate Veterans Engaged with Your Chapter for Our Couples Trip to Slough Creek

Veterans ServicesDoes your chapter work with a veteran who would benefit from a week-long fly fishing retreat to Silvertip Ranch along Slough Creek in Yellowstone National Park?

Then nominate them, and their spouse or partner, for the opportunity to fish, heal and build relationships with other veterans from across the country!

This all-expense paid trip offers the veteran couple a chance to experience together the superb fly fishing for Yellowstone cutthroat trout on Slough Creek, to go horseback riding and hiking, enjoy comfortable accommodations, and eat great food at a private guest ranch. More importantly, the trip offers a veteran couple the chance to spend time together, to decompress, and an opportunity to connect with other veteran couples.

TU's Veterans Service Partnership covers all expenses for travel, meals, and accommodations for the trip. We also supply all necessary fly fishing equipment too.

The trip will be held July 1-8, 2017.

Nominees for this trip should meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a veteran couple, but only one member of the couple need be a veteran. We encourage couples to fish together.
  • Must be physically capable of walking 1-2 miles per day and to go wade fishing over uneven terrain at altitude of 5,000-6,000 feet.
  • Must be a veteran from any branch of service. A VA disability is not a requirement.

If you wish to nominate a veteran couple for consideration, please contact Dave Kumlien at dkumlien@tu.org or (406) 570-0023.

JOIN THE ONLINE COMMUNITY CONVERSATION: Does your chapter have a unique way of connecting veterans to your conservation or education programs?

5 RIVERS COLLEGE CLUBS

Help Needed Creating Guide for Chapters to Work with College Students and Clubs

5 Rivers College Clubs

The Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers college program is growing rapidly, and now more than ever there are great opportunities for your chapter to partner up with your local college fishing club!

This semester, we are in the process of creating a handbook for TU chapters to better understand these partnership opportunities.

We are seeking TU chapter leaders to read our current draft of the handbook and provide content and feedback before its official launch in the Tacklebox in April.

Please email Andrew Loffredo, the TU Costa 5 Rivers Coordinator, to learn more and participate.

CALENDAR

All web conference trainings are held at 8 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted. Contact Jeff Yates to register.

IT'S IN THE TACKLEBOX

The online leader Tacklebox – www.tu.org/tacklebox – offers a wide range of resources and guides for chapter and council leaders. Some of the most often used resources include:

TRAINING VIDEOS

The online leader Training Video Library – www.tu.org/training – has recordings of past online trainings, as well as some simple "how to" videos designed to help volunteers access the online tools available to them. The training videos include:

TU OPEN FORUM

Join other volunteer leaders discussing a variety of topics in the Open Forum at community.tu.org/openforum. The first time you log in, use your membership email address and then your membership number as the password. Your settings on tu.org have not changed.

EMBRACE A STREAM

Support local stream and river restoration today by making a tax-deductible gift to Embrace A Stream, TU's oldest member-led conservation program. Since, 1975, Embrace A Stream donations have helped raise more than $4.4 million for local conservation projects led by TU chapters and volunteers.

WOMEN IN TU

Learn more about TU's efforts to involve more women in TU's mission, engage more women in volunteer leadership and increase the number of female TU members.

DOES YOUR CHAPTER OR COUNCIL'S WEBSITE NEED A REFRESH?

If so, please reach out to Doug Agee, TU's Online Community Manager at dagee@tu.org for more information on TU's new chapter/council website tools.

TU BLOG

Share your stories and opinions on TU's blog.
Visit TU's Blog »

CREATE A LEGACY OF CLEAN, COLD WATER

Including Trout Unlimited in your estate plans is one of the most simple ways to make a lasting impact for the resources and traditions you value.
Visit tu.planmygift.org to learn more about how you can leave a lasting legacy for future generations. Or call Anderson Smith at (703) 284-9421.

FUNDRAISING PROGRAM

Need auction and raffle items for your banquet? Don't forget to look here for merchandise discounted up to 50 percent.
Shop the TU Fundraising program »

Ⓒ 2017 Trout Unlimited - all rights reserved.

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