Fishery research at Warnell School gets financial 'leg up'
Trout Unlimited will give the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural
Resources $4,000 for research.
Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 7:00 am | Updated: 9:15 am, Tue Oct 16,
Brook trout might not come across as the most loveable-looking creatures,
but the members of the local chapter of Trout Unlimited have been "backing
the brookie" financially for years by donating to student research at the
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
Trout Unlimited is a national organization dedicated to conserving and
restoring native trout and cold water fisheries. The Oconee River chapter
has more than 350 members in the Athens area and will give Warnell $4,000
Monday for research.
Every chapter is unique in the way they support cold water fishery
conservation, said Doug Brown, president of the Oconee River chapter. Some
chapters in the mountainous areas of Georgia adopt a stream to maintain and
conserve. There are no trout streams in the Athens area, so the Oconee River
chapter focuses on supporting the research done by Warnell.
"It's a partnership in service education and research," Brown said.
The $4,000 Brown will present to the school allows the endowment to reach
the $25,000 needed to start distributing money to projects for both
undergraduate and graduate students.
Most of the money for the scholarship and endowment are raised through a
fundraising banquet held in April each year, Brown said. The University
scholarships are the group's biggest financial commitment and other Georgia
chapters help contribute.
Trout Unlimited also provides an undergraduate academic scholarship for
students studying cold water fisheries.
The recipient of this year's scholarship will be chosen in the spring and
will be able to use the money in the 2013-14 school year, said Michael
Clutter, dean of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.
"We've had a great relationship with Trout Unlimited for a long time.
They're a great group to work with," Clutter said.
Clutter said Warnell has worked with chapters of Trout Unlimited in Georgia
for almost 20 years on habitat improvement and reclamation projects.
"From time to time, they help us with some of our volunteer stuff," Clutter
said. "They will also specifically fund a research project if there is
something they identify as being really important."
Brown said Trout Unlimited's biggest link is with the University American
"We work with them several times a year on projects. Like we're going to
help them with their fish fry," he said, "and they help us with projects as
The Oconee River chapter also supports the annual Envirothon, which is a
competitive program for high school students testing their environmental
knowledge. They also teach fly-fishing and fly-tying classes at the Ramsey
Many Trout unlimited projects in Georgia and the Southeast are focused on
reestablishing brook trout in their natural habitats. In many areas they are
competing with brown and rainbow trout, which were introduced in the 1980s
when brook trout numbers decreased because of poor land and water
management, Brown said.
With changing climate temperatures, trout conservation requires even more
work, Brown said, and students play an important part in his chapter.
"They bring such fresh ideas to things," Brown said.
Brown presents the endowment to Clutter at the chapter's monthly meeting
Monday at 7 p.m. at the Loco's Grill at 1985 Barnett Shoals Road.
Membership is not required to attend meetings or participate in events.
"Anybody's welcome that's either interested in conservation or in fishing or
both," Brown said.
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