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Senator Bennet, Representative Conaway, and philanthropist Liz Storer were recognized at the organization’s 11th Annual Capital Conservation Awards Dinner
The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership was honored to celebrate three conservation champions from Capitol Hill and the private sector last night at the organization’s 11th Annual Capital Conservation Awards Dinner and gala fundraising event.
Liz Storer, president and CEO of the George B. Storer Foundation and a longtime conservation advocate, received TRCP’s 2019 Conservation Achievement Award for her impact on Western conservation issues. This includes consistent support for the development and implementation of comprehensive sage grouse conservation plans and the research, mapping, and protection of big game migration corridors. Storer has also been proud to serve on the TRCP Board of Directors for the last nine years.
Storer’s award was presented by Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who received a TRCP award in 2016.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Representative Michael Conaway (R-Texas) were each presented with the 2019 James D. Range Conservation Award—named for TRCP’s co-founder, a conservation visionary, and given to one Democrat and one Republican each year.
Sen. Bennet was recognized for championing both public and private lands and waters, through his support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and as a conservation leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee during Farm Bill negotiations. He is also the Democratic lead on legislation to improve federal science on chronic wasting disease.
Bennet’s award was presented by Erik Glenn, executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.
Rep. Conaway was recognized for his leadership on the 2018 Farm Bill, which clinched many victories for wildlife habitat, water quality, and sportsmen’s access. He is the ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture and a member of the Sportsmen’s Caucus and International Conservation Caucus.
Conaway’s award was presented by Representative Marc Veasey (D-Texas.)
“Like TRCP founder Jim Range, Michael Bennet, Mike Conaway, and Liz Storer are pragmatic conservationists who understand that people are a part of the land and believe that we are duty-bound to leave a natural legacy to future generations,” said Whit Fosburgh, TRCP’s president and CEO. “They also understand that conservation is not a partisan issue—it is something that should connect us all as Americans. We were proud to honor that spirit by bringing together more than 500 conservation luminaries, individual supporters, corporate sponsors, policymakers, and media professionals at this event.”
Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) teamed up with Representative Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) to deliver the ceremony’s opening remarks about the value of conservation, before an exciting live auction featuring auctioneer Johnna Wells. TRCP Board Chairman Rod Nelson gave closing remarks.
Thank you to our event sponsors:
Coca-Cola, George B. Storer Foundation, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, Schlumberger, Shell, Yamaha, Altria, American Sportfishing Association, Baker Botts, Bass Pro Shops, Boone & Crockett, Matt Cook, The High Lonesome Ranch, Kirby, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, Pure Fishing, Range Resources, Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, Tod Sedgwick, Simms Fishing Products, SITKA Gear, Archery Trade Association, The Baird Group, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Costa, Everglades Foundation, Federal Premium, Natural Resource Results, The Nature Conservancy, Orvis, Outdoor Research, Peak Design, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever, PotlatchDeltic, REI, Sorini Samet & Associates, Southern Company, Weyerhaueser, Williams, YETI, AFL-CIO, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Baker Donelson, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Browning, Captains for Clean Water, The Conservation Fund, Ducks Unlimited, Elliotsville Plantation, First Lite, Forbes-Tate, Fly Fishers International, Jonah Energy, Land Trust Alliance, Leupold, NEMO Equipment, National Wild Turkey Federation, PERC, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Union Roofers, Upper Green River Conservancy, American Forest Foundation, American Iron & Steel Institute, Brookover Land Enterprises, The Cypress Group, Erdle Consulting Group, Filson, National Park Foundation, National Wildlife Refuge Association, New Belgium Brewing, New Belgium Family Foundation, Pisces Foundation, Sage, Terlato Wine Group, Turner Foundation, Vortex Optics, and Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America.
The 12th Annual Capital Conservation Awards Dinner will be held on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Washington, DC.
TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation
Hometown: Benton, Arkansas
Occupation: Fishing guide, founder of the Mayfly Project
Conservation credentials: Taking foster children flyfishing to create meaningful connections in the outdoors and share the value of clean water
As a lifelong sportsman and former Alaska fishing guide, Jess Westbrook recognized that the stress-mitigating benefits of the outdoors that he’d experienced could help at-risk youth to find the solace and self-esteem they need. That’s why he started the Mayfly Project, a nonprofit that connects foster kids with flyfishing mentors who help them forge deeper bonds on the water.
Here’s his story.
I was introduced to the outdoors as a young kid by my father. We were always spending time together on the weekends hunting and fishing in Arkansas, where we had access to some of the best duck hunting and trout fishing in the U.S.
The summer before my senior year of college, I had my most memorable outdoor adventure to date: guiding in Alaska. Through that experience, I learned a lot about myself, my capabilities as a guide, and what it means to live in a place that is still vastly untouched. This opened my eyes to the effects that humans have on our planet and the need to preserve wild places for future generations to enjoy.
Even years later, if I could fish anywhere in the world it would be back in Bristol Bay. I’ve landed four of the five species of salmon that return to Alaska each year—sockeye, coho, pink, and chum—all on a fly, but I have yet to land a King!
I have struggled with anxiety, and the outdoors is a place where I am able to unplug. So, getting outside is critical for my mental health. The stresses of everyday life are lost when I step into a river with my fly rod. And conservation ensures that there are places for me to seek out healing.
That’s why conservation is an integral part of the Mayfly Project. We give foster kids their first taste of flyfishing to teach them a fun, rewarding hobby, make them feel supported, and give them a chance to develop meaningful connections with, and in, the outdoors.
The Mayfly Project’s standard program is to mentor a foster child through five “stages” based on the life cycle of a Mayfly. Within these stages, the children learn line management, casting techniques, knot tying, entomology, river safety, mending tactics, hook setting, catch and release ethics, and the value of conservation. At the end of the five stages the child is given his or her very own fly rod, reel, pack, fly box, flies, tippet, and indicators. Our hope is for the child to continue to pursue flyfishing and have the tools they need to make the outdoors more accessible.
We focus a lot on the value of our local water ecosystems and keeping rivers clean by picking up trash on every outing. One of the biggest conservation issues where I live is the spread of invasive species in warm-water and cold-water fisheries, so we also share with the kids why it’s important for us to wash our gear and boats before moving from one body of water to another.
Studies show that 42 percent of foster children will be convicted of a crime. But flyfishing offers opportunities for youth to build character and self-esteem. These kids are the future, and they will be the ones to ensure that their children have a place to fish. But we have to make them care enough to fight that fight.
Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a questionnaire.
The organization scores high on transparency, financial accountability, and effectiveness
The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, the arm of the well-known nonprofit that helps donors make informed giving decisions, has again recognized the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership as an accredited charity worthy of donor recognition.
The TRCP meets WGA’s 20 standards for charity accountability, including appropriate Board oversight, prudent spending, clearly defined measures of success, and transparent communication of policies and disclosures. The organization also earned a fresh Platinum Seal from Guidestar and its sixth four-star rating from Charity Navigator this spring.
“We are proud to uphold the highest standards across all our operations, but especially when it comes to wise spending of individual donations and foundation funding,” says Whit Fosburgh, TRCP’s president and CEO. “We hope this recognition, our top marks from other charity watchdogs, and the effectiveness of our advocacy all make American sportsmen and women confident that the TRCP is worthy of their hard-earned dollars.”
A perfect download for your next road trip, tune in to learn how wildlife use enhanced highway over- and underpasses
Photo by Wyoming Department of Transportation
In the last two years, policymakers have committed to significant investments in conservation, infrastructure, and reversing climate change. Hunters and anglers continue to be vocal about the opportunity to create conservation jobs, restore habitat, and boost fish and wildlife populations. Support solutions now.Learn More