Name: Steve Kline
Title: TRCP Center for Agricultural Lands Director
Location: Washington, D.C., and Centreville, Maryland
Who got you interested in the outdoors?
Luckily, I had a father and grandfather who loved to be outdoors. In the fall and winter we spent time together hunting waterfowl and deer, and when the weather got warmer we got our fishing gear out and went after everything from stripers to smallmouth bass.
What is your most memorable experience afield?
What I love about hunting and angling is that these activities afford opportunities to spend time with people you enjoy – sharing a bond that only those who hunt and fish know. Some of my greatest memories afield are of conversations had and stories told; the duck blind truly brings out the philosopher in every hunter. In a world that always seems to be in a rush, the very nature of hunting and fishing requires that you slow down. Far more than filling a tag, it is this sense of camaraderie that I cherish most about being a sportsman.
Is this why you chose to work in the conservation and sportsmen community?
I chose to work in the conservation and sportsmen community because of my affinity both for policy-making and hunting and fishing. What better way to combine my passion for being outdoors with my love of politics than to work in the sportsmen’s conservation community? It is the best of both worlds. I am fortunate that I get paid to protect the fish and wildlife habitat that millions rely on for a quality outdoor experience, including myself!
In your opinion, what are the most important issues facing agricultural lands today?
Where I live, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, agriculture is trying to hang on in the midst of an onslaught of urban sprawl. Once we lose agricultural lands to housing developments or highways, it is gone forever and any debate about how best to use those lands for habitat and a cleaner environment is moot. Naturally I believe that ensuring the future viability of our farmers and farmlands should be a national priority. Conservation should play an important role in achieving that goal.
Why is conservation so important to you?
Conservation is important to me because I think that our national quality of life is contingent upon a clean and healthy place to call home. Outdoor recreation is essential to refreshing the American psyche, whether you choose to hike or hunt. Without conservation we stand to lose fish and wildlife and the habitat on which they depend. What’s more, we stand to lose the link to the very planet that sustains us. I believe strongly that we can find a better way forward, one that ensures future generations will be able to hunt, fish and enjoy the great outdoors.
Why did you choose to work for the TRCP?
I have always respected the work of the TRCP. The sportsmen’s community has been divided up about a million different ways between the species they hunt and fish or the type of gear they prefer. But regardless of what you hunt or how you hunt it, the need for quality fish and wildlife habitat does not diminish. TRCP unites sportsmen and -women of all stripes in a powerful voice of support for conservation.
What do you hope to accomplish for the TRCP?
In my work with the TRCP, I hope to be a persuasive and creative voice on behalf of hunters and anglers for farmland habitat conservation and the protection of critical wetlands across the country. I hope to grow the Partnership’s work on my home waters, the Chesapeake Bay, where hunters and anglers have largely been silent on some of the most pressing issues. I hope to rekindle some old friendships, create a few new ones, and have a little fun in the process!