Post by Jamie Short.
We can all make a meaningful difference in our communities by donating our free summer hours to local non-profit organization. Food banks, animal shelters, conservation organizations and myriad of other opportunities exist in every community. By choosing to donate our time to something we genuinely care about, or would like to learn more about, the experience is much more fulfilling to us and the organization. By choosing something the whole family can be involved in, we instill this concept in our children as an important part of our lives.
This summer I am lucky to be involved in a project sponsored in part by our local chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU). I sit on the board of our chapter and have the honor of holding the conservation chair. This summer’s project involves the monitoring of fish movement on a section of a local stream. Data is collected by trapping fish moving up and down the stream. Species, length, weight and genetic data is recorded on daily survey logs to be compiled and used for making decisions on whether or not to alter barriers and diversions that currently exist.
I chose to be involved with this organization because I am a lifelong fly-fisher and TU can help to make the rivers, streams and lakes healthier for fish. By being involved in a hands on project, I am learning much more about our local watersheds than I ever would have by simply fishing for the beautiful fish they produce. Not only have I seen the amazing variety of fish our streams support, but also animals and plants that thrive in and around the stream corridor. I see the impact that roads, ranching and recreation can have on streams and help to collaborate ideas to balance the negative impacts with positive ones.
Being able to get my family and friends involved not only allows me to spend that time with them, but also share the experience with them, seeing it through their eyes and hearing their ideas.
We can all find a local organization that sparks our interests or the interest of a family member or friend. Look into opportunities in your own community, get involved and make a difference this summer.
Jamie lives in Missoula, MT with his wife and two teenagers, all of whom have helped with the fish survey. The rivers abound in this area and fishing is his passion!