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.
Kelly’s nomination talked about her energy and enthusiasm for fostering inclusive community within TU’s conservation mission. It said, “By creating space, supporting diverse representation and asking tough questions, Kelly has encouraged chapters and councils to better reflect their communities across the country.”
In keeping with our ongoing equity practice, the “We are TU” series is focusing more directly on the need to foster a more equitable, diverse and inclusive fishing and conservation community. We have updated the questions as such. If we are to protect, conserve and restore our rivers and streams, we will need all voices at the table and all hands on deck.
Introducing Kelly Buchta: (@kebuchta)
Trout fishing is only part of TU. The larger work is the conservation end. All communities have water in their backyards. We need to do better to partner with all communities, offer assistance when needed and show up to uphold the organizational mission to protect cold, clean fishable water.Kelly Buchta
What’s your hometown and current town? Hometown: Norwalk, Conn. Current town: Roscoe/Livingston Manor, N.Y.
What’s your history with conservation? An innate connection to water since I was a kid. A passion to protect and preserve our resources for the future.
What is your history with fishing? Been fishing my whole life and fly fishing for over 15 years. My father, Milton F. Buchta, (a Mianus TU member) has been my go-to source for angling adventures and conservation education. I currently co-own a fly shop (Dette Flies), so fly fishing is my life!
Our membership and representation aren’t reflective of the diversity in the fishing and river-loving communities. How has the lack of diversity in fishing and conservation impacted your enjoyment of those activities? I am fortunate enough to have the ability to enjoy fishing and the outdoors. I see the TU membership as caretakers to ensure that membership grows in a way to reflect the current population, with no boundaries based on ability, age, economics, race or gender. We have not always taken on this role in the past, and it is necessary for TU members to reflect on their path to angling and conservation and understand that not everyone has walked similar paths and act on ways to help clear the paths for others.
What does ‘giving back’ mean to you? Giving back is making sure others have an equal or better experience than you had.
What was your first job? My first job was in a public library — my fiance Joe Fox calls me a literati as I continue to be enamored with books!
What’s your favorite book and why? A Sand County Almanac and Hamlet — both are critical books about our connection to the environment, our connection with each other and our place in the world.
Optional: Are you willing to share ideas for ways your average TU member can show up as an ally to communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the fishing and conservation world? The average TU member can be understanding to the paths of others and not make assumptions of people. It’s not how a person arrives to the organization, but that they are there, to be included and involved — that is the most important. This is where some of our long time members get hung up. Trout fishing is only part of TU. The larger work is the conservation end. All communities have water in their backyards. We need to do better to partner with all communities, offer assistance when needed and show up to uphold the organizational mission to protect cold, clean fishable water.
What is an example of something awesome you’ve seen that helps make conservation or fishing more inclusive to new groups of people? The changing faces of angling and environmental stewardship are empowering to all folks. We relate to seeing ourselves in others, and when there are more sizes, shapes, colors, abilities and ages to encompass many faces, it becomes easy to advocate and get behind it.
Name a person you admire. Why do you admire them? My mother, known as Memere. She is the embodiment of grace, diligence, strength and beauty. We are total opposites in many ways such as style and tastes, however the more I move through our world, I see how we share the same principles of understanding, empowerment and support. She is probably flabbergasted at reading this — surprise — but in many ways I strive to have her grace and her business sense.
Why Trout Unlimited? TU utilizes the efforts of members who care for the places they love, the sport they engage in and work to make it better for the next generation. The ability to be involved on so many levels — members, volunteer leader, office position as well as a variety of activities, like clean ups, community events and social activities are available to members to take part and make a difference.
If you want to join Kelly 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