By Jim Dickens
I spent the first two thirds of June doing a little more of the usual. I played golf with great friends in Pittsburgh and Cleveland at their clubs. Thank you Andy and John. Then came home and detoxified myself.
Next, I went with some of the officers of the local Trout Unlimited Chapter, Willie, Dale and Dave to the driftless area of Wisconsin. The driftless area is the area that was not covered with glaciers during the last ice age and has a nice rolling hill topography with cool spring fed streams. We had a great time there catching lots of trout and inspecting some restoration work we were involved in.
So in addition to travel, skiing, fishing, and golf I have been spending some time getting involved with a couple of non profits. It’s something more than the usual. I am currently helping raise funds for Trout Unlimited, TU. TU restores streams flowing out of the mountains and springs improving the water and surrounding habitat making it healthier. Most of the USA is downstream of these initiatives and the water you live on is better because of it.
When I moved to Chicago over 30 years ago, none of the streams we fished would have had trout in them. This is because they used to be polluted, muddy and warm. The introduction of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts combined with improved environmental science, government funds and volunteerism are what keeps us living in a safe clean world unlike many other countries. It is really nice to be part of improvement not just hanging on to what we have.
Farmers, townships, federal grants and contractors catalyzed by TU have improved hundreds of miles of driftless area spring fed streams making them healthy. With the exception of mining pollution, most streams can be turned around. I think we can and should keep improving our environment. And, I think it is high time the USA does much more by adding real climate change mitigation to the Clean Air and Clean Water efforts.
Among the first few non profits I have contacted, TU has turned out to be a good fit for me. I am looking for one more non profit to be involved in and am open to suggestions. Look for a sober account of a drunken week spent in Santa Rosa, CA (wine country) next.