There are many, but I’d have to say that I really enjoyed my trip to Panama with my friend Chris Fischer and my son, Reid. We went through the Panama Canal at night, fished at Tropic Star Lodge and made a trip up the Darien River to visit some native tribes – escorted by armed guards to protect us from the FARC rebels. What a great adventure.
Q: What led you to your career in conservation?
I’ve always been involved in the not-for-profit world. My dad was a college president and I studied arts management at Columbia University. Since being at Costa, I’ve had a chance to combine my love of the outdoors with my desire to get involved and protect it. I’m very fortunate in that regard.
Q: How did you get involved with the TRCP?
Whit Fosburgh and I got to know each other when he was at Trout Unlimited. He introduced me to TRCP and the great work they’re doing in fisheries management.
Q: What do you think are the most important conservation issues facing sportsmen today?
The urbanization of America is the most important issue. A greater and greater percentage of Americans are moving to urban centers. This is causing a decline in the number of people who hunt and fish and otherwise enjoy the outdoors. If people don’t enjoy the outdoors, they won’t value it, and they won’t care about protecting it. I fear the day will come when kids only experience the outdoors through reality TV and video games. Our top priority should be to instill a love of the outdoors in our youth.
Q: What are your hopes for the future of the TRCP and how can Costa and the sportfishing community help us realize those dreams?
The environmental and conservation communities must join forces and get behind practical solutions if we hope to succeed at protecting our waters and fish populations. I think that the TRCP is helping to make that happen and so I’m more optimistic about the future because of the efforts of the organization. Others can help by putting the well-being of our environment ahead of politics.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your recent award as one of Outdoor Life’s 25 Most Influential People in Hunting and Fishing.
It’s an honor to be included. Outdoor Life has a rich tradition and is one of the most respected publications in the industry. The award is as much for Costa as it is for me. Everyone at Costa is very mission driven. All of their hard work produces the revenue that allows us to give to conservation. We tell our employees that the more they sell, the more we can give. It is such a motivational message for them.