Birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim and the people at the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited have to undertake riparian planting and bank stabilization projects.
That last one is less an immutable law of nature than it was a casual observation of the non-scientific variety.
The group was recently bestowed the 2016 Gold Trout Award, which for the uninitiated is essentially the same as being declared “Best in Show” — except that the “show” in this case refers to a national organization comprised of almost 400 chapters.
“It’s humbling. Some of the chapters and what they accomplish is unbelievable,” said Robert Vierck, president of the Spring Creek Chapter.
On March 25, Vierck and his merry band will host their 44th annual dinner and fundraiser, complete with a “Bid for a Cause” auction to benefit ClearWater Conservancy’s Slab Cabin Run Initiative.
For the 500 members of the Spring Creek Chapter, the event is an opportunity to bask in the glow of a productive 2016 and lay the groundwork for the years to come.
It’s humbling. Some of the chapters and what they accomplish is unbelievable.
Robert Vierck, president of the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited
The future is really what Trout Unlimited is all about — and it’s not the kind of product that comes with a lifetime guarantee. Natural resources can be exhausted, especially if they aren’t properly maintained where it counts.
“We’re at the headwaters. Most places in the world that have water are somewhere down stream,” Vierck said.
Since 2013, the Spring Creek chapter has completed eight major projects along local waters, conservation efforts that can utilize up to 70 volunteers at a time working toward both preventative and reparative ends.
Everything we do is volunteer time. It is amazing to see what can be accomplished with just enthusiastic volunteers all focused on the same mission.
Among the laundry list of accomplishments in 2016 was a partnership with Penn State’s Office of the Physical Plant to rehabilitate a dike that separates Thompson Run from the duck pond. This was in addition to the group’s ongoing veterans service program, youth outreach events and numerous planting, maintenance and cleanup efforts at other riparian sites throughout Centre County.
“Everything we do is volunteer time. It is amazing to see what can be accomplished with just enthusiastic volunteers all focused on the same mission,” said Judi Sittler, a chapter member and former president.
Sittler’s favorite event from 2016 was the Get Outdoors Family Fishing Picnic, which will enjoy an encore on June 11 at the Tussey Mountain Pond. Trout Unlimited will partner with ClearWater Conservancy to offer an afternoon of fishing, games and guided hikes.
“We had a successful first year and we have the structure down pat. It can only be better this year,” Sittler said.
If you go
What: Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited Dinner and FUNraiser
When: 5:30 p.m. March 25
Where: Ramada State College Hotel and Conference Center, 1450 S. Atherton St., State College
Info: 237-9685, firstname.lastname@example.org