posted in: In the Arena

April 22, 2024

In the Arena: Edgar Diaz

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.

Edgar Diaz

Hometown: Austin, Texas
Occupation: Founder of Sight Line Provisions.
Conservation credentials: Championing conservation efforts on-the-ground and through his company.

Edgar Diaz’s lifelong connection to the outdoors, shaped by childhood adventures in Baja and Southern California, led him to found Sight Line Provisions—a brand deeply committed to conservation. With a blend of personal passion and professional dedication, Edgar advocates for responsible stewardship of our wild spaces, inspiring others to join him in protecting the outdoors for years to come. 

Here is his story.

From my earliest memories, the outdoors has been my sanctuary. Those family vacations to the beaches of Baja and the mountains of Southern California are etched in my mind like the lines my father used to make on our old powder blue tent marking each destination we visited as a family. Camping on bluffs in Ensenada and by the Kern River, I found solace and excitement in nature, especially when paired with my father’s love for fishing.

Edgar has always been called by the ocean and mountains where he developed his love of fishing, mountain biking, and birding. His connection to the outdoors started with these activities.

Today, if I could pick any place to hunt or fish, it would undoubtedly be Baja California. The allure of chasing California quail in the morning, followed by the exhilaration of pursuing roosterfish, fills my dreams. I recall a particularly memorable fishing trip where I stumbled upon a California quail —and it was a perfect blend of my passions. I know this trip would be an epic cast and blast.

Conservation has become more than just a cause; it’s a way of life for me. As the founder of Sight Line Provisions, I’ve woven conservation into the fabric of our brand. Preserving our natural resources isn’t just a duty; it’s essential for our enjoyment of the outdoors. Here in Central Texas, I’ve personally witnessed the impact of conservation efforts, especially through organizations like Guadalupe Trout Unlimited, which has transformed our local fishery into a gem for our community.

Yet, despite the progress, challenges loom large, none more pressing than water conservation. Here in the Texas Hill Country, water is a precious resource, one that’s often wasted, diverted, or even stolen. It’s a battle we must fight together as a community, safeguarding our natural treasures for future generations.

For me, being involved in conservation isn’t just about reducing my footprint—it’s about leaving a legacy. It’s about ensuring that the wild places I love remain for those who come after me. Through Sight Line Provisions, I strive to support the very organizations and efforts that protect the landscapes and waters that have shaped me.

Sight Line Provisions partners with organizations like Captains for Clean Water, Trout Unlimited, The Mayfly Project, and the F-Y-S-H Project to raise funds and awareness for issues important to the sporting community.

But conservation isn’t just about protecting nature; it’s about preserving a way of life. It’s about passing on the tradition to the next generation of hunters and anglers. In a world where progress threatens to overshadow the simple joys of the outdoors, it’s our responsibility to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to connect with nature that we’ve had. It’s about staying informed, acting responsibly, and most importantly, getting that younger generation into the great outdoors. After all, they are the stewards of tomorrow, and it’s up to us to equip them with the knowledge and passion necessary to protect our wild spaces for generations to come.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org

The TRCP is your no-B.S. resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now.

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posted in: In the Arena

April 17, 2024

In the Arena: Ward Burton

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.

Ward Burton

Hometown: Halifax, Virginia
Occupation: Former NASCAR driver.
Conservation credentials: Founder of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation.

Ward Burton’s NASCAR driving career stretched across most of two decades. He won five Cup Series races, including the 2002 Daytona 500, 2001 Southern 500, and four Xfinity races before retiring in 2007. 

As an avid sportsman and conservationist, he founded the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation in 1996. A quarter century later, the organization oversees more than 10,000 acres in Virginia and Pennsylvania and has helped landowners in Virginia and Pennsylvania conserve over 45,000 acres of land by developing conservation models aimed at sustainable habitat management, wise forestry management, stream water mitigation practices, and other tools to focus on preserving the integrity of the land and its wildlife.

Here is his story.

Ward Burton, a former NASCAR driver turned conservationist, has a deep-rooted connection to the outdoors that stems from his upbringing in Halifax, Virginia. Introduced to hunting, fishing, and nature by his grandfather, Burton’s childhood experiences instilled a lifelong passion for wildlife and land stewardship. Burton’s work ethic and unwavering persistence in spending time outdoors paved the way for his profound appreciation of nature’s wonders and ultimately led to the founding of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation in 1996.

The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation has helped landowners in Virginia and Pennsylvania conserve over 45,000 acres of land and owns and manages over 10,000 acres.

“I’ve never felt it was a choice,” said Burton, “I believe strongly that conservation is an inherent responsibility and I hope that my, and my foundation’s, efforts to share that message have helped impart that to our future generations.”

But his passion for the outdoors extends far beyond his home state.

“Being from the east coast, I am enthusiastic about learning what different habitats support different types of wildlife and hunting and fishing opportunities. I’ve spent time in a lot of cool places, British Columbia, Wyoming, Montana, the Florida Everglades, all for fishing and hunting. Hoping to get back to all of those areas soon.

Burton’s journey as a conservationist began amidst his racing career, inspired by conversations with influential figures in wildlife management. In collaboration with like-minded individuals, he founded the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, driven by a shared commitment to conservation.

The mission of the WBWF is to promote the sustainability of our nation’s natural resources through conservation, land management, outdoor outreach, and educational practices.  Since their inception, the foundation has helped landowners in Virginia and Pennsylvania conserve over 45,000 acres of land and owns and manages over 10,000 acres.

The foundation develops and sustains their conservation models by managing habitat for endangered species, practicing wise forestry management, stream water mitigation, and prescribed burns to control non-native growth, and other tools to preserve the integrity of the land. Through partnerships with local, state, and federal organizations, and by working directly with landowners, the WBWF shares and advocates for conservation and land management best practices nationwide. 

Recognizing the critical role of conservation in preserving outdoor pursuits for future generations, Burton emphasizes the importance of habitat protection and wildlife management. He advocates for finding a balance between rural preservation and sustainable development, ensuring the longevity of natural resources.

“Giving land a voice and weaving conservation best practices into my day to day has become second nature,” said Burton, “Being conservation-minded has enhanced my love and appreciation for the outdoors – it’s our responsibility to sustain our natural resources and be stewards of our land and wildlife.”

Through his foundation, Burton actively engages in habitat restoration projects, leveraging programs like the Farm Bill to support his foundation projects as well as fellow landowners in enhancing and restoring wildlife habitats. His hands-on approach, from wetland restoration to prescribed burns, exemplifies his dedication to leaving a positive impact on the land.

Without good conservation practices, the activities we all enjoy outdoors are at risk. Without habitat protection and efforts to maintain and grow healthy wildlife populations, the hunting and fishing opportunities we hope to share with the next generation may not be there.”

Ward Burton

Burton stridently believes that hunters and anglers are the original conservationists, emphasizing the ethical responsibility of stewardship for future generations. He underscores the interconnectedness of habitat conservation, wildlife populations, and outdoor recreation, emphasizing the need for collective action in safeguarding natural resources.

Today, he finds the most joy in sharing these experiences with his children and grandchildren, passing down cherished traditions and values.

With this focus on education and outreach, Burton strives to inspire the next generation of conservationists, urging sportsmen and women to serve as role models and foster a love for the outdoors. He believes that by sharing the joys of nature and instilling a sense of responsibility, future generations will carry forward the legacy of conservation.

“You really need to let them experience the joys, the adventures, and the challenges. It’s through those experiences that they’ll develop a passion for nature and wildlife. I had the great benefit of my grandfather as a very, very strong role model in my life. My mom and dad gave me a lot of freedom as a child. Maybe too much! Once they got used to me not coming in right after dark, they knew I was okay and that I was out in the forest or in the woods. It’s from this that I developed my passion for conservation.”

Looking ahead, Burton remains committed to expanding his conservation efforts, advocating for policy changes, and fostering partnerships to protect natural habitats. His unwavering dedication to conservation serves as a beacon of hope for the future of wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org

The TRCP is your no-B.S. resource for all things conservation. In our weekly Roosevelt Report, you’ll receive the latest news on emerging habitat threats, legislation and proposals on the move, public land access solutions we’re spearheading, and opportunities for hunters and anglers to take action. Sign up now.


posted in: In the Arena

March 27, 2024

In the Arena: Lindsay Agness

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.

Lindsay Agness

Hometown: Honeoye Falls, New York
Occupation: Retired. Previously an IT Director for Eastman Kodak Co. and Project Director for a local health care system.
Conservation credentials: VP of Youth Education, New York State Council Trout Unlimited; Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers program volunteer; Girls Scouts STREAM Girls Program volunteer; New York State Fishing Guide.

Lindsay Agness is an angler, conservationist, and passionate outdoor educator. Introduced to the outdoors by her grandparents, Agness has effectively used her passion for fly fishing to engage youth, teens, and college students on the importance of conservation and stream health to ensure that the joy of fishing carries on for future generations. Agness was inducted into the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame in 2022 for her fisheries and conservation focused volunteer work.

Here is her story.

I was blessed to be born into a hunting and fishing family.  My grandparents were born in Germany in 1902 and then came to the U.S. They introduced me to the outdoors— we had a lot of woods to run and play in.  My grandfather, an avid deer hunter and fisherman, owned a summer cottage on Honeoye Lake in upstate New York, and he and my grandmother taught me about fishing there. My grandmother was a great role model for me, and she is the one who taught me to love the outdoors.

Today, my favorite place to fish is in the hills of Potter County, Pennsylvania in the Susquehannock State Forest area for wild brook trout. These small mountain streams are so pristine, and the mountains are fun to explore. The wild book trout there are so beautiful. I can spend hours fishing and just get lost in nature. There is little cell phone reception, so you are completely off the grid and the evening hatches are unbelievably spectacular!

My most memorable outdoor adventure was fishing for arctic char in Bristol Bay, Alaska. I did a trip with The Lodge at 58 North and guides Kate and Justin Crump.  We started each day with an early morning fly-out on a float plan to the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge and fished in gorgeous scenery for beautiful arctic char. It is my favorite fishing memory and the excitement of that day is still with me.

Where I live in New York, the biggest conservation challenge is low water levels and higher than normal water temperatures. They are stressing out our trout species. These challenging conditions, over extended periods of time, can be lethal for our brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. I believe that the survival of these species is critical, and it will ensure that future generations enjoy the sport of fly fishing. Our fisheries cannot take care of themselves, and I believe that our actions can speak for the trout. We need to champion our local watersheds for future generations.

I currently serve as the Vice President for Youth Education on the New York State Council for Trout Unlimited.  As a volunteer, I work with youth, teens, and college clubs to teach about conservation, stream health, fishing and how to be stream ambassadors through a variety of initiatives. Our youth and teens need to be engaged and exposed to the joy of the outdoors and nature — and I believe that these experiences also improve their physical and mental health.

Through the Stream Explorer programs like Trout in the Classroom, which put aquariums in schools to raise trout for release into local streams, we have partnered with over 272 schools in New York, educating over 21,828 students on cold water conservation.  We also help educate teens through Girls Scouts STREAM Girls programs and the Scouts BSA merit badge — teaching the basics of stream ecology, stream science and fly fishing. Additionally, we engage with the local college fishing clubs across 10 college campuses in New York through the Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers programs, fostering the involvement of students in local conservation work near their college campuses.

Conservation is a huge part of my outdoor life.  I love fly fishing for trout and being an ambassador for my local waters is essential to the efforts of maintaining a healthy population of fish. I am steadfastly committed to keeping our local streams and trails litter free and supporting our local Trout Unlimited chapter in tree planting and stream conservation work.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org

Hunters and anglers have always been the unsung heroes of conservation in America, quietly paying it forward every time we buy a license, a box of ammo, or a tank of boat fuel. We know you’re not satisfied with simply going hunting or fishing and then going home—so go the extra distance.

Click here and help us wake the woods by taking action on the conservation issues that matter right now.


posted in: In the Arena

March 13, 2024

In the Arena: Bill Cooksey, National Wildlife Federation

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.

Bill Cooksey

Hometown: Jackson, TN
Occupation: Senior Sportsmen Outreach Coordinator for the Vanishing Paradise Program of the National Wildlife Federation, and NWF Director of Conservation Partnerships for Tennessee.
Conservation credentials: Outreach and partnership coordination expert who has ties across the conservation spectrum for his ability to drive cooperative efforts, a direct but amicable personality, and prowess as a waterfowl hunter.

Inducted into the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2022, Bill Cooksey is a well-known and well-respected Tennessee duck and turkey hunter and freshwater angler who is involved in conservation issues throughout the Southeast. Like his father, who was a trustee emeritus for Ducks Unlimited, Cooksey is highly regarded by the sporting community. As NWF’s Senior Sportsmen Outreach Coordinator for the Vanishing Paradise program, Cooksey currently works with TRCP and other partners to address coastal restoration and water flow/quality issues from Texas to the Mississippi River Delta to the Florida Everglades, and is now also setting his sights on conservation efforts farther up the Mighty Mississippi.

Here is his story.

Photo Credit: Bill Buckley

I don’t really recall my introduction to hunting and fishing because my father began taking me when I was very young. I know I caught my first fish at age three and began dove and duck hunting with him when I was four. I can only recall snippets from those experiences, but they obviously inspired me in the direction my adult life would take.

According to both parents, I’d cry if my father said he was going hunting or fishing without me, and I’d cry when he said it was time to go home. Some would call it child abuse, but Dad would tie a hookless Christmas Tree Bomber on my Zebco rod and reel and let me throw that sucker all day long. My wife says I’m not much smarter today.

My first real “outdoor” memory was of a Ducks Unlimited Rally (precursor to the banquet) in Jackson, Tenn., in 1971. It was in the Civic Center, and I can recall a man on stage holding a shotgun and blowing a duck call. Suddenly, a mallard was flying through the air, and it fell when he shot. Three-year-old me had no idea it was a shackled duck and blanks. To me it was just the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Conservation was always part of my dad’s life, culminating in Trustee Emeritus at Ducks Unlimited, with many accolades along the way. Thus, conservation was always just part of the experience for me. I suppose you could say I just don’t really know another way.

Photo Credit: Bill Buckley

I’ve been blessed to hunt with so many incredible people and in so many wonderful places it’s an embarrassment of riches. It’s impossible to say which adventures are my favorites, because as one memory rises to the top another comes to mind. But I’d say the various “firsts” for my sons, and their first turkeys especially, might just take the cake. They were killed 17 years and 100 yards apart. When my youngest killed his, I recall crying on the drive home. Our oldest had passed away ten years prior, and my father died just a month before turkey season. The two people I most wanted to call and share Bill’s accomplishment with were gone.

I live where I do for a reason. I love duck hunting the southern half of the Mississippi Flyway. I mean, I love everything about it. Sadly, the trend here appears to be going the wrong way, and I’m very concerned about the future. Changes in weather patterns, habitat and even production in the Prairie Pothole Region are taking a toll on waterfowl hunting in my home range. 

Photo Credit: Ron Wong

Here in western Tennessee, I can step out my door and hit Kentucky Lake with a rock, so the biggest conservation challenge in my backyard is invasive Asian carp, but that’s just the most obvious. More frequent, and sustained, flooding is wreaking havoc in all of our reservoirs and bottomlands. Late spring and early summer floods scour our reservoirs and kill the grass that our native fish – and waterfowl in the winter – need, and sustained spring flooding is killing huge tracts of bottomland hardwoods.   

These are challenges we face. But because of my dad, I don’t really know how not to be involved in conservation and efforts to address these sorts of threats. If nothing else, being involved helps me understand what’s happening with our wildlife, and, surprisingly to some, it makes me a better hunter and fisherman. Keeping it light, being involved also helps fill the time between hunting seasons with something related to them. It’s really not so very different from hunters shooting clays or running retriever hunt tests. Being involved in conservation means being involved in my favorite sports.

Being involved in conservation has allowed me to connect with incredible sportsmen and conservation leaders around the country, while learning far more about places I care about. When the national news features an environmental catastrophe in south Florida, it’s likely to be about red tide. Rarely will they explain the common link between red tide, algal blooms, and fish kills with needed Everglades restoration. How many times have you seen coverage of a hurricane or tropical storm approaching Louisiana and heard mention of the fact the marshes are disappearing at the rate of a football field every 100 minutes, and that sediment diversions are the best way to restore the coast? When was the last time you heard about the rapid loss of bottomland hardwoods in the southern Mississippi flyway?

Photo Credit: Bill Cooksey

Without sportsmen and conservation organizations pushing out important information at every opportunity, nothing happens. And successful conservation is the only way the next generation of hunters and anglers will have anything approaching the experiences I’ve enjoyed.  

Click here to help protect and restore Everglades habitat.

Read more about Mississippi River Delta restoration efforts here.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org


posted in: In the Arena

November 8, 2023

In the Arena: Brian Flynn, Two Wolf Foundation

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.

Brian Flynn

Hometown: Hamilton, Montana
Occupation: U.S. Army Special Forces | Founder and Executive Director of the Two Wolf Foundation.
Conservation credentials: Through his leadership at the Two Wolf Foundation, Brian provides Veterans a chance to serve together again with purpose through conservation and stewardship projects on America’s public lands.

Following a distinguished career in the U.S. Army, lifelong outdoorsman Brian Flynn returned home from a deployment in Afghanistan and struggled with the challenges of transitioning to civilian life. Hunting, fishing, and the natural beauty of America’s public lands helped propel him through his darkest days and launched a personal journey of healing that ultimately led to the founding of the Two Wolf Foundation and a new mission to bring meaning and purpose to his fellow Veterans through conservation and land stewardship projects. We are inspired by his commitment to empowering and healing others through these experiences, and we’re proud to share his words with you.

Here is his story.

“Once the uniform comes off, it can feel like it’s just you, left to scrap it out alone. In the creation of Two Wolf Foundation, I saw conservation and land stewardship as a new mission, one that would need a team to accomplish it. This new mission would give us a chance to continue to serve together again with meaning and purpose.” 

Brian Flynn

My introduction to the outdoors began with weekend fishing adventures for largemouth bass with my father. Early childhood was a difficult time in my life, my parents divorced when I was very young, and I struggled as most do, trying to make sense of it all. Around the age of 8, I moved to southern California to live with my dad — not far from the world-famous largemouth bass haven of Lake Casitas. Every Saturday morning before the sun had time to rise over the Topatopa Mountains, we would head to the lake with a bag full of PB&J sandwiches and our spinning reels. Those early days of my life fishing for the next world record largemouth would become the foundation of my love for the outdoors. Fishing would serve as the primary outlet in my life, allowing me to disconnect from the stress and noise of a chaotic world while keeping me curious about each body of water I would encounter. 

Twenty years later, and what felt like a lifetime of war as a U.S. Army Green Beret (Special Forces), I returned home from a deployment in Afghanistan and found myself struggling with posttraumatic stress (which I wouldn’t admit until years later) and the laundry list of associated mental health struggles including depression, anxiety, and a general loss of joy in my life. One of my closest friends, and Special Forces teammate, recognized the bad shape I was in and took me to a local bow shop and said, “pick one out, we’re going deer hunting.”

I had fished nearly all my life, and hunting was totally new, yet I appreciated the challenge that archery hunting whitetail deer presented. I walked out of that shop with a brand-new Mathews ZXT, a handful of arrows, and a practice target. I had a lot to learn in a hurry and I became fully consumed by crafting a new set of skills that were necessary for a successful harvest in the woods of Tennessee and Kentucky.

It is hard to explain, but I believe that over the following years, hunting is what pulled me through one of the darkest times of my life. It brought me closer to people that I cared for, it gave me necessary solitude in nature to decompress, and it provided me with unparalleled moments of gratitude surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes filled with incredible sunrises and sunsets that I might not have ever seen.

On my personal journey of healing from the invisible wounds of war and the common struggles associated with transition from military service (loss of purpose, loss of identity, and loss of belonging) I was on a mission to relocate my family from the southeastern United States to the mountains and woods of the West.

On a scouting trip to Montana, my wife and I took a day trip to Bowman Lake, a remote alpine lake in Glacier National Park. After making the trek from Columbia Falls, down more than 40 miles of washboard dirt roads, we arrived at a small campground right on the lake. It was the most breathtaking view I have ever witnessed. Standing there on the shoreline, I was so overcome with joy, amazement, and awe from the towering mountains ascending straight from the water’s edge. My life’s calling was revealed. My new purpose would be to create moments like I was experiencing — a joyful and healing connection to nature — for my fellow warriors struggling with PTSD and associated mental health issues. The work to establish Two Wolf Foundation began immediately. 

The Two Wolf Foundation is a military veteran founded 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that organizes small teams of military veterans and former first responders to connect, serve, and grow stronger together in the accomplishment of a new mission: the conservation and stewardship of our public lands. 

I am very grateful to now call western Montana home. It is truly an outdoorsman’s paradise. Its abundant hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities provide more for me than I will ever be able to describe. I very recently started to fly fish, and now I would say that my dream day is hiking along a small mountain stream catching native Westslope Cutthroat trout right here in Montana. I am planning a trip next year with some friends to fish for native California Golden Trout in the Eastern Sierra. Ask me this question again in a year and I might have to change my answer…

Being involved in conservation and stewardship of our public lands has brought a whole new level of appreciation and meaning to the time that I spent outdoors. The power of nature and outdoor recreation to promote healing is undeniable. Time spent outdoors has proven measurable positive impacts on our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Being able to give back to these outdoor spaces that provide us with so much is incredibly special to me. Through participation in conservation and stewardship, I find myself cultivating a much deeper connection to the land and a sense of pride knowing that I am doing my part to ensure that these healing spaces will still be accessible for future generations.

One of the most impacting elements of Two Wolf Foundation’s Warrior Stewardship program is being able to serve again as a member of a team. It fosters a renewed sense of belonging. The transition from military service can be extremely difficult and very lonely as life in the military is built on the framework of community. Throughout a military career, you will rarely do anything alone, there is always a “battle buddy” — the squad, the platoon, the company, and so on. In my case, the SFOD-A (Special Forces Operational Detachment-Alpha), a twelve-man Special Forces team, was the hardest thing to lose. The bond and friendships built during deployment, training, and in the team room give you the greatest sense of belonging achievable. But once the uniform comes off, it can feel like it’s just you, left to scrap it out alone. In the creation of Two Wolf Foundation, I saw conservation and land stewardship as a new mission, one that would need a team to accomplish it. This new mission would give us a chance to continue to serve together again with meaning and purpose. 

Two Wolf Foundation piloted their first Warrior Stewardship Team in October 2022, putting together a team of six combat veterans that embarked on a 1,100-mile overland adventure from Montana to Arizona with a mission to assist the Arizona Trail Association and the AZT VETS program with badly needed trail maintenance on the Arizona National Scenic Trail within the Four Peaks Wilderness. Over the course of the 11-day expedition, the team camped and explored public lands across 4 different states and successfully improved 12 miles of the Arizona National Scenic Trail and contributed 369 volunteer hours. 

The health of our public lands is impacted by many things including habitat degradation, invasive species, and climate change. I know there are amazing people, and organizations like the TRCP, working daily to develop solutions to protect the land and wildlife. But the biggest problem I see every day within every recreationist’s control is litter and pollution. You don’t need to be a biodiversity scientist or wildlife biologist to have an immediate and positive impact on these natural ecosystems. You just need to be responsible enough to pack out your trash. Responsible recreation is everyone’s job. It is increasingly frustrating and sad to see trash left behind at every campsite, to see every forest trail littered with soda and beer cans.  

It is my commitment to give back to what pulled me through the darkest moments of my life. For years, I relied on one “treatment” to deal with the mental health struggles that I faced: self-medication (alcohol abuse and dependency). In that time, I had lost my connection to nature and the peace that it brings the mind, body, and spirit. I only focused on numbing whatever pain, sadness, and stress was plaguing me and booze was the self-destructive “easy button. With the unwavering support of my wife and a few amazing friends, I was able to rediscover how beneficial the outdoors was. Pretty simply, I realized that a sober day afield hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping simply made me feel better! Committing my renewed life to conservation and stewardship service is in the hope of sustaining this incredible resource for others who may find themselves struggling the way that I was.

The outdoors is the ultimate classroom and provides so many valuable life lessons. Whether hunting or fishing, you must be totally present and aware of your surroundings. The woods and the water teach patience, critical thinking, safety, and responsibility. As important as it is to learn these skills in austere environments, it is equally important that the next generation of hunters and anglers understand how their actions impact this invaluable natural resource. We must lead by example, knowing that one day the responsibility of caring for these special places will lie in their hands. In every wonderful memory created by an outdoor experience, the next generation’s commitment to conservation will ensure those same opportunities exist for generations to come. 

In the last year, Two Wolf Foundation has organized three additional Warrior Stewardship Teams that have participated in public land stewardship and conservation projects in Utah, Idaho, and Montana in collaboration with their 2023 stewardship partner, Tread Lightly!  

Learn more about the Two Wolf Foundation by visiting Two Wolf Foundation | The One You Feed 

Click here to learn more about TRCP’s commitment to habitat and clean water.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org



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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