As a young fisherman, environmentalist, and aspiring creative, I am constantly amazed and grateful for the wonderful opportunities that are available to young people like me who are passionate about the environment and sharing its story. The perfect example of such an opportunity was the Trout Unlimited Pennsylvania Brook Trout Odyssey organized by Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited President Charlie Charlesworth—a three-week fishing-research trip focused on learning about and forming a deep connection with the native brook trout that call Pennsylvania’s waters home.
The culmination of this trip is our documentary, “Stories from the Fountain: A Native Brook Trout Odyssey”. To me, this documentary is a voice, it is lending the native brook trout of Pennsylvania a helping hand, sharing their story and how it has shaped our connection to nature. It truly captures the fragile yet breathtaking environment that searching and fishing for brook trout includes, and allows people to see the value of how one fish can bring together such a dynamic and passionate group of people. At the core, this trip taught us that brook trout are in danger and although we are to blame, we also have the power to start repairing the damage.
We hope that this documentary serves as a starting point, both for the attention towards our native fish but also as an inspiration for others. If we can get even a few states to engage their youth anglers in a similar way—giving them opportunities to create deep relationships with nature and growing their connections with the fishing community—we can begin to foster a new generation of fishermen, environmentalists and people who care for the future of our fisheries.
I believe every great thing starts with the willingness to change and we need to move beyond our common misconception that every person’s small effort won’t make a difference. So, take a moment, immerse yourself in this journey and ask yourself “What’s in my backyard?”
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