As I write this in mid-December, it's finally started to rain here in Sacramento. The cloudy, rainy days make me think about steelhead fishing and the plans that have already been made to chase these magnificent fish with Dan, my regular fishing partner.
I'm someone that needs a plan and a goal that I am actively working on in my life. Goals give focus to my energies and thoughts and give me something to work toward and dream about as I go about my daily life. I also believe it is important for organizations to have a plan and that it is effectively communicated to all members of the group. Trout Unlimited is all about coldwater fisheries conservation. The challenge for us is to translate that into concrete actions that we take in our region to protect and improve our local fisheries.
My first goal as President is to work with the other board members to develop and communicate an action plan for 2009 in the February newsletter. The plan will be simple with a few concrete goals where we can focus our thoughts, our energies and our efforts as a group. A primary focus of the plan will be to increase the number of hands-on conservation projects that the chapter is involved with. This will mean more opportunities for all of us to make a difference in our local watersheds. Look for more detailed information in next month's newsletter!!
My 20 year old son Isaac questions whether one person can really make a difference in the larger scheme of things. He and I have discussed (my wife might say argued) this point many times. As a father I hope that he comes to understand the power of individual action. I think my other son Joshua gets my point and maybe even believes me! Given that Joshua is 18 I regard that as something of an accomplishment.
You probably already know that TU was founded 50 years ago this year by a small group of people who believed they could make a difference in the direction of the watersheds they loved and fished. They acted on the belief that individuals who care can make a difference. When I look at all TU has accomplished in the past 50 years I'd say they have done pretty well.
One of the most interesting professors I had at the university was a math instructor who was a little different than the rest. Truth be known he was a lot different than most of the professors I knew. While taking his class I came to respect and admire him and learned a great deal from him. The interesting thing is the most important lessons had absolutely nothing to do with math.
This particular professor had a habit of occasionally lecturing on things that had nothing to do with math and everything to do with life. One day he came in and started talking about California coastal redwoods. He told us the Latin name, some of the history of the tree and the threats that the tree faced. Most importantly he talked about his personal commitment to preserving coastal redwoods in his local area. The gist of his message was that he could not protect all of the redwoods everywhere, but he could protect the trees that were in his backyard, and that come hell or high water, that's what he intended to do. Now remember, this is a university math professor lecturing to a classroom full of 19 and 20 year old science and engineering students. He wanted us to be aware that we were going to need to make choices about how we were going to live our lives. His goal I think was to get us to realize we would need to make a difference, not just make a living.