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Tennessee’s Trout Unlimited Wins National Recognition

 

Dick Geiger, chair of the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited, shows off the brook trout carving he has just been presented during Trout Unlimited's annual meeting in Scranton, Pa. The carving signifies the council's recognition as the 2015 State Council of Excellence, one of the national organization's annual National Conservation Awards.

Dick Geiger, chair of the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited, shows off the brook trout carving he has just been presented during Trout Unlimited’s annual meeting in Scranton, Pa. The carving signifies the council’s recognition as the 2015 State Council of Excellence, one of the national organization’s annual National Conservation Awards.

The Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited (TU) and two individual members were honored during the recent TU annual meeting in Scranton, Pa.

Dick Geiger of Clinton, chair of the Tennessee Council, credited the work of members in the eight TU chapters throughout Tennessee for the national recognition. Receiving TU National Conservation Awards were:

* The Tennessee Council, which was presented the State Council Award for Excellence, a lifelike carving of a brook trout.

* Frances Oates of Norris, webmaster for the TN Council and for the Clinch River Chapter, who received a plaque representing the Distinguished Service Award for Communications.

In addition, Charlie Chmielewski of Lenoir City was cited as an outstanding volunteer during the State of TU presentation by CEO/President Chris Woods, who recognized Chmielewski for his longtime support of the effort to restore brook trout to their original range in the Smokies.

TU’s national staff, which selected the National Conservation Awards winners, cited the Tennessee Council’s continuing support for brook trout restoration and for the fisheries program in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; the council’s youth camp in the Smokies, which just finished its fifth year; and the strong partnerships the council has built with state and federal agencies and with nonprofit organizations, as shown by the council’s winning the 2015 Friends of Fisheries Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

Oates, a retired journalist, was honored not only for effective communications to her own chapter and the Tennessee Council, but also for helping other chapters in the Southeast region improve their communications.

Geiger commented that not all of what’s going on in Tennessee’s Trout Unlimited could be mentioned in the award writeup, but nonetheless it all warrants recognition.

“We’re proud of the work in southeastern Tennessee with the Forest Service and the Tennessee Aquarium in raising Southern Appalachian strain brook trout from eggs harvested from wild fish,” he said. “We’re also delighted with TU’s work in northeastern Tennessee to help the Forest Service acquire the Rocky Fork tract and protect wild brook trout streams, and with TWRA to reintroduce/restore brook trout in several mountain streams. We look forward to the future effort in central Tennessee with TWRA in mapping the Caney Fork to identify possible locations for placing trout habitat structure in the tailwater. ”

Geiger thanked all the state’s TU volunteers for their dedication, volunteer hours and hard work that made the honors possible, and for their continuing efforts to support coldwater conservation in the streams and tailwaters around Tennessee.

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