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July 10, 2020

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July 9, 2020

Preliminary Data Shows How Much Outdoor Recreation Economy Has Been Affected by COVID-19

As part of any economic recovery effort, Congress must invest in conservation that puts Americans back to work

On our social media channels, we’ve shared plenty of news stories that highlight the enthusiastic use of public lands and even an uptick in fishing participation during this pandemic. But, of course, it’s not all good news.

The Outdoor Recreation Roundtable recently released results from a national survey of its members, and the findings make a compelling case for why lawmakers need to invest in conservation to put Americans back to work.

According to respondents from 20 national outdoor recreation trade associations representing businesses with nearly 2 million employees, 89 percent of businesses are experiencing difficulty with production and distribution. A troubling 79 percent of these businesses have laid off or furloughed a portion of their workforce. And 89 percent of these businesses are experiencing a decrease in sales.

And the outdoor sector isn’t the only one feeling the pinch. The leisure and hospitality industry has been hammered the hardest, with a loss of 7 million jobs between March and May. More than 2 million engineers and temporary workers in construction and professional services were sent home since COVID hit.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is posting monthly updates on these numbers, and even with new gains in June, these statistics are deeply concerning as businesses struggle to stay afloat and families grapple with how to pay their bills. That’s why we are calling on Congress to pass economic recovery legislation that invests in shovel-ready conservation projects and modern-day conservation jobs that put our economy back on track AND improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

These jobs will help to paint a brighter economic picture than what we are seeing today. Imagine people in hardhats building highway crossings for wildlife, engineers and technical experts designing resilient and efficient water systems for the Colorado River and Mississippi River Basins, loggers helping to actively manage our forests, and heavy equipment operators preparing the ground for wetland restoration.

When Congress pivots to drafting economic recovery legislation, we want to put Americans back to work restoring our wetlands and forests, improving our coasts and waterways, and rebuilding the crumbling pieces of our outdoor recreation infrastructure.

As hunters and anglers, we need these investments in conservation so we can continue to enjoy our outdoor activities. As Americans, we need these investments because we need to put our nation back to work.

Help us show that sportsmen and women are ready to help Congress take the next step. Take action and tell lawmakers that Conservation Works for America.

 

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July 1, 2020

Three TRCP Core Beliefs About How to Communicate With Our Members

Here is what we pledge to you as we keep you informed on all the ways to be a conservation advocate

As you get to know us, we hope you’ll find that the TRCP is a go-to resource on the complex world of conservation. Yes, we’re nerdy for policy, habitat, and wildlife management, but we also have three simple beliefs when it comes to communicating with you about it:

  1. Hunters and anglers can be counted on to understand all the complicated issues we face as a community—those that boil down to a few words (keep it public!) and those that require a few hundred words of a blog post or report to explain.
  2. But you shouldn’t have to wade through a sea of acronyms to keep up—we translate the jargon for you. In fact, at our in-person events, anyone who doesn’t say the full name of a bill, organization, or program the first time it’s mentioned makes a “donation” to the TRCP, kind of like a swear jar!
  3. If it’s not a credible threat, we won’t raise the alarm. Some groups will fundraise or create a lot of hoopla over bad bills (or even bad ideas) that will never go anywhere. Basically, we don’t B.S. or waste your time.

Check out what’s trending on our blog to get a better idea of how we talk about conservation.

 

Top photo by Kyle Mlynar.

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What it Means to “Wake the Woods”

Take up our rallying cry for sportsmen and women who step up and speak out about the things that matter most

If you’ve ever set up on a turkey roost in pitch darkness or stalked into a remote treestand before daylight, you’ve felt it: The woods coming alive with the first hopeful rays of sun and your own awareness starting to prickle.

It happens on the water, too—all is calm as your lure drifts, and suddenly there’s the faintest nudge, a slight tension, and you’re compelled to react. Or you’re scanning the open ocean, bobbing along peacefully, until you spot dozens of gulls diving at fish and you kick your engine into high gear.

The time we spend in the outdoors is split between contemplative, watchful moments and decisive periods of action—and it’s this second part that is the spirit of the TRCP’s #WakeTheWoods movement. Because there are times when it pays to be silent and stealthy, but when it comes to conservation, there are some things worth making noise about. We have to act, as sure as we do when we set the hook or squeeze the trigger.

Today, being an advocate for habitat, clean water, sportsmen’s access, and the outdoor recreation economy means doing more, digging in further, and speaking our minds. No one is going to come find you on the sidelines and ask for your perspective on conservation funding or how to combat chronic wasting disease and mismanagement of public lands.

Having seen what you’ve seen in the outdoors—closer to our lands, waters, and wildlife than many Americans ever hope to be—who could say it better than you?

Photo by Tim Lumley.

Sure, we all have busy lives. That’s why we choose to slow down and seek out the natural world the same way that hunters and anglers have been doing for generations. If you can take the time to watch the forest wake up, to wait for a long-legged critter to step into shooting range, or perhaps to attempt that drift for the 25th time… you can take the time to make sure the future of these traditions is secure.

That’s why TRCP makes communicating with key decision-makers far easier than calling in a gobbler or trading bugles with a ghost of a bull elk. On our website, sending a meaningful targeted message about a legislative priority that could affect habitat, access, or funding probably takes less time and fewer steps than renewing your hunting or fishing license.

And, while we take conservation very seriously, we tell you how legislative and public processes work in language that you can understand.

We hope you’ll trust that you can get the facts from us, but we are asking sportsmen and women to band together, whether you are a TRCP member or not. Because we know you’re not content to sit idly by. We know you have something to say. We know that, united, we can spark change and an awakening in the dimmest corners of our policymaking system. After all, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will.” Let’s get loud about the things that matter most.

That’s what it means to #WakeTheWoods.

Top photo by Neal Wellons via flickr. This was originally posted June 18, 2019 and has been updated.

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June 26, 2020

Eight Women Who Have Shaped Conservation

Highlighting standout female leaders who advanced the American conservation movement

Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, and John Muir are readily recited by many as the forefathers of the American conservation movement. And though their immense influence is something to be proud of, we’d like to recognize the often-overlooked women whose dedication has helped to shape the modern conservation landscape. Here are eight standouts.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Long before water quality in the Everglades was the subject of national news, a young society columnist by the name of Marjory Stoneman Douglas spearheaded a grassroots effort to protect Florida’s sawgrass swamps from being drained and developed. Her extensive research, and the publication of her book “The Everglades: The River of Grass”, changed public perception of this important habitat and led to the creation of Everglades National Park in 1947.

Margaret Murie

Dubbed the “Grandmother of the Conservation Movement,” Margaret “Mardy” Murie’s activism led to the passage of the Wilderness Act. A trailblazer and writer, Murie grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska, and later went on to become the first female graduate of the University of Alaska. Together with her husband, she made several trips into the Artic—the result of which was her book, “Two in the Far North”, a compelling personal account of her lifelong love of Alaska and a testimonial for the preservation of its wilderness.

Although life would eventually lead her away from the state, she never lost her love of its wild places. She organized the coalition that persuaded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to set aside 8 million acres of wilderness as the Arctic National Wildlife Range, which was later expanded and dubbed the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Rachel Carson

Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist writing radio scripts for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and eventually rose to become editor-in-chief of all publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1962, she published her seminal work “Silent Spring”, which brought widespread attention to the effects of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, an insecticide more commonly known as DDT, on bird populations. The public outcry that followed led to stricter regulations on chemical use in the environment, and Carson has since been credited with helping to launch the environmental movement.

Sylvia Earle

Dr. Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, aquanaut, author, and the first female to serve as chief scientist of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency responsible for fisheries management and coastal restoration, among other things. After developing a love for scuba diving in college, Earle went on to specialize in botany, believing that an understanding of marine plant life would be integral to ecosystem preservation.

As founder of Mission Blue, a global coalition to improve ocean protection measures and restore the world’s marine ecosystems, Earle utilizes the power of modern media to inform the public and decision-makers about the effects of overfishing, pollution, and climate change while advocating for habitat protection and restoration.

Anne LaBastille

Anne LaBastille was a woman who could have out-Thoreau-ed Thoreau himself. She built her influence through a successful writing career while living in a small cabin in a remote part of the Adirondack wilderness.

Her four-volume autobiographical series “Woodswoman”, published in 1976, has inspired decades of women to get outdoors and enjoy self-sufficient pursuits like hunting and fishing. And her 1980 book “Women and the Wilderness” addressed the historically male-dominated culture of conservation and put a spotlight on female naturalists.

A licensed wilderness guide, this Cornell graduate was also a consummate defender of the Adirondacks and served as commissioner of the Adirondack Park Agency from 1975 to 1993.

Mollie H. Beattie

Appointed as the first female director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1993 by President Clinton, Beattie fiercely opposed the dismantling and defunding of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act in Congress. She was a forester by training and put great emphasis on managing habitat and the economy by stressing the responsibility of private landowners to effectively steward forest lands.

Unfortunately, her tenure with the Service was cut short by a fatal brain tumor, but not before she oversaw the establishment of 15 national wildlife refuges, the signing of more than 100 habitat conservation plans with private landowners, and the reintroduction of the gray wolf into the northern Rocky Mountains.

Lisa P. Jackson

Jackson started her career at the Environmental Protection Agency as a staff-level scientist before working her way up to the position of Administrator over the course of her career. The fourth woman and first Black American to hold the position, Jackson has spearheaded environmental programs to protect clean water, reduce harmful emissions, and protect at-risk communities.

Jackson eventually left the EPA to join Apple Inc. and now serves as the tech company’s vice president of Environmental Policy and Social Initiatives. She oversees efforts to minimize environmental impacts of business and address climate change through renewable energy and green materials.

Rue Mapp

After growing up in an outdoor-loving family, an adult Mapp was surprised to find that she was the only African American woman in her hiking groups and bike trips. Determined to get more members of her community involved in the outdoors, Mapp founded Outdoor Afro, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting Black Americans with outdoor spaces. Mapp’s goal is to shift the visual representation of what getting out into nature in America looks like and provide outdoor leadership training for people of color.

Her work has successfully connected underrepresented communities to nature and the benefits of spending more time outdoors. She currently serves on the boards of the Outdoor Industry Association the Wilderness Society, helping to shape conservation initiatives. She has also been named a National Geographic fellow.

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.

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