TU Who? Awareness is Essential to Growing Our Impact

Our work will take generations to accomplish and every chance we get to educate and inspire the broader community to care for our streams is another opportunity to raise awareness and build a larger coalition around our conservation efforts.

by Jeff Yates

If a dam tumbles down on a small, babbling brook and no-one hears it fall, did it make a sound?

Each year across the country, Trout Unlimited volunteers, chapters, council and staff make the impossible happen. From paknting thousands of trees the removing dozens of dams and culverts, to hauling tons of trash out of streams, together we are doing so much to restore and protect local streams.

By its very nature, much of our work generally takes place well out of the public eye in quiet, secluded pockets of wilderness and open space. While our priority may be ensuring the stream is restored, an organizational imperative is to make sure that everyone who should care about the work knows that it is taking place – and that they can be a part of the effort too.

As members and volunteers, all of us should be focused on spreading the word of our good work in as many ways as possible. As a member of your chapter, here are some easy ways to make sure the message is spread far and wide among anglers, conservationists and the community where you live and fish:

1) Like & Share Your Chapter’s Success:
Most TU chapters have a social media presence, and are often posting pictures of projects, links to great news articles celebrating their work or an importnat local conservation issue, and inviting people to attend or volunteer at events. As a member and supporter, you can magnify this megaphone by liking and sharing the posts. If you care about protecting rivers, chances are a good number of your friends do too. Be sure to tag people you know who should see the post.

2) Volunteer as a Poster Poster:
While digital communications have grown substantially, there’s still incredible value in those community bulletin boards you see in libraries, supermarkets, post offices, bookstores and more. If your chapter is holding volunteer activities, hosting monthly events, or planning a big community get-together, consider stepping up and offering to help hang posters around your town. If 10 people step up to help hang 10 posters in 10 different area towns, that’s 100 opportunities for thousands of people to find out about the great ways they can engage with TU locally!

3) Become a Streamside Ambassador:
Fishing is our front door and often times our target audience is already out on the streams we’re protecting, enjoying the benefits of the work we’re doing. Make sure that every angler you encounter knows about TU, understands how we’re workign to make fishing better and is invited to participate locally. Every time you bump into a stranger on the water, ask them “Are you a TU member?” if they say yes, encourage them to attend the next chapter event. If they say no, ask if you can add them to the chapter email list, and then invite them to the next chapter event.

4) Make the Most of Local Media:
Local media is always looking for good stories of local people making a difference in their communities. Your TU chapter has that story in spades, but it likely doesn’t have someone willing to spend the time to get that story together on paper and send it in for newspaper, radio or even television coverage. TU offers a range of trainings and templates to make sending press releases and news alerts fast and easy, all you need to do is raise your hand to volunteer locally.

Learn more about how you can make a difference for your local TU community by becoming part of our army of ambassadors! Sign up for Five Ways to Grow Local Publicity for Your Chapter, a special training by our Volunteer Operations Staff to help you get started spreading the word.

By Jeff Yates. A Trout Unlimited member since age 11, Jeff is a passionate conservationist and avid angler who sees opportunities to care for and recover our rivers and streams at every turn. As the Director of Volunteer Operations, Jeff and his team support, train and lead the more than 420 local chapters and state councils of TU across the country and are priveleged to work with the more than 4,000 volunteers who lead them as board and committee members. An author, fly fishing guide and avid outdoors person, Jeff lives in Connecticut with his wife Kit, and step-daughters Katie and Kat as well as their three rescue dogs, Tahoe, Sparrow and Jack. When he's not at his desk - or out in the field working with volunteers - Jeff splits his time boulder hopping along small native Brook Trout streams and hiking rocky terrain.