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May 14, 2011

Robin Knox

Robin Knox with a redfish. Photo courtesy of Robin Knox.

Name:  Robin Knox

Title: Coordinator, Western Native Trout Initiative

Location: Evergreen, Colorado

As coordinator of the Western Native Trout Initiative, Robin Knox gets to play with fish for a living — not bad for a guy who grew up 10 minutes outside of downtown Chicago! Learn more about Robin and the WNTI.

Q: What is your fondest hunting or angling memory?

This is tough since I have many great ones. Probably the fondest memory I have is back around 1990 or so, I took my parents fishing on a lake in southeast Colorado, and we had the best day I have ever had for white crappie fishing. We caught dozens of crappie that were 14 to 16 inches long, weighed over a pound, and both of my parents were so excited about what a great fishing trip it was. I have a great picture of them holding up a stringer of these crappies, which we later filleted and ate.

Q: What led you to your career in conservation?

I was one of seven children, and in the summer we always spent a week on a lake in northern Wisconsin. We did camping trips to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and other places, and I started to develop a love of the outdoors. I just loved to fish and was always interested in wild creatures and where they lived. After getting a bachelor’s degree in zoology, I learned that I could get a graduate degree in fisheries science and hopefully enter the fisheries management side of science. So that is what I did.

Q: Tell us a little more about the WNTI’s work to conserve native trout populations. Why are these populations important to sportsmen?

Native trout in the West are important for a number of reasons. To Native Americans they are cultural icons, and to many anglers they are a worthy quarry due to their limited distribution, their colorful bodies and hard-fighting nature. To conservationists they are indicator species that highlight the stresses placed on coldwater habitats due to population growth, resource extraction impacts, de-watering and invasive species. WNTI’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for the implementation of management actions that improve the status of the species through partnerships and cooperative efforts that result in improved habitats, better scientific information and improved recreational opportunities for anglers. WNTI works hard at increasing public knowledge and understanding of the role native trout play as we consider the best ways to conserve and improve coldwater aquatic habitats.

Q: What do you think the most important conservation issues facing sportsmen are today?

I think the key conservation issues facing sportsmen today are
a) Having a strong voice at the national level that results in good decisions about how and where energy development takes place. Important examples include supporting legislation like the Clean Water Act, ensuring funding for conservation programs and protecting wild lands.
b) Maintaining access to local lands and waters for hunting and fishing access.
c) Recruiting new anglers and hunters into the conservation community at a young age and keeping them interested in outdoor recreation until it becomes a lifelong pursuit.

Q: Why are hunters and anglers important players in the future of conservation?

For all the reasons just described above, and the fact that old farts like myself are not going to be around forever.

Q: What do you love about your job?

My job has allowed me to be a visible presence at a lot of venues where I can spread the word about native trout conservation. It allows me to stay involved at both a national as well as local level in fishery management issues that have been my life for the past 40 years. I get to interact with like-minded folks who are dedicated to protecting and improving wildlife and fisheries resources for future generations – including my grandsons. A huge plus is that I can usually figure out a way to get some angling accomplished in new and exciting places across the western United States – including Alaska every once in a while.

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April 19, 2011

Opening Day on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

How do you TRCP? We wanna see photos of you out huntin’, fishin’ or just chillin’ in your TRCP gear. We’ll feature the best shots right here each month.

Submit your photos to info@trcp.org or TRCP Facebook page.

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April 18, 2011

So-called Bad Lands

“I heartily enjoy this life, with its perfect freedom, for I am very fond of hunting, and there are few sensations I prefer to that of galloping over these rolling limitless prairies, with rifle in hand, or winding my way among the barren, fantastic and grimly picturesque deserts of the so-called Bad Lands.”

Theodore Roosevelt, letter to his sister, North Dakota, 1883.

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April 15, 2011

When T.R. ran as an independent in 1912, what did he call his party?

Send your answer to info@trcp.org or submit it on the TRCP Facebook page for your chance to win a TRCP camo hat!

Congratulations to David Kidd for winning last month’s contest!

Last month’s question: How many children did T.R. have?

The answer: 6

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April 14, 2011

Steve Kline

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!

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

$4 from each bag is donated to the TRCP, to help continue their efforts of safeguarding critical habitats, productive hunting grounds, and favorite fishing holes for future generations.

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