I am fortunate enough to be at Wild Trout this week to interact with trout professionals from all over the US. This meeting features a broad array of talks that are mostly science focused with an occasional talk on partnerships, philosophy, and history. Today was a great kickoff, first looking backward at the history of wild trout with Bob Gresswell and Bob Carline, and then looking forward to the future with Kevin Meyer. As I listened to these talks I thought a lot about the Congress and how we might complement the good work that goes on at each of these meetings. Fortunately, Bob Carline helped me with his analysis of what things WT does well and others that may be lacking.
Bob graded a number of areas but one that was graded particularly low in his analysis (Grade C) was how well WT communicated outside the science community with educators, the media and the public. He asked for a show of hands for others outside the science community and there was one media person. I’ve often thought that we do a great job of communicating the science we do among ourselves, but many times it just doesn’t seem to get to the people outside of our circle. Certainly, the media specialists for the various agencies do a good job of communicating their important work, but it seems like the general public often doesn’t have a good idea of how the science that gets done translates to trout management. The lack of participation from folks outside the science community points to expanding the dialogue to the passionate non-scientists who make up the trout community. I believe this is where we can make a real difference; getting to hear the other voices that care about trout as deeply as we do.
As always, some great science talks from all over the country including a nice talk on conservation planning stronghold development by Jack Williams, one of our organizers. Two different talks in the afternoon included a look back at the concept of Wild Trout and where it came from by Jen Brown and an eclectic talk on “Fly Fishing through the climate change crisis” looking at the role anglers can play to be part of the conservation conversation and the future of wild trout. Both of these talks really strike me as the kinds of issues we hope to highlight in the Congress. We see the Congress as a way to expand the dialogue from science to this broader examination of art, literature, culture and conservation. The mix of posters and talks on Wild Trout and all topics trout is a great way to get us all thinking about the Congress and expanding the conversation world-wide.