Fly-Fishing for the Future: How the Michigan State University Fly Gals Are Mentoring Future Conservation Leaders
Kerryann Weaver and Tom Sadler
When considering the future of fisheries, science often dominates the conversation. While science is clearly essential to the future, the ability to encourage others to follow the professional path is often more difficult to accomplish. In this vignette, the authors provide a dialogue about an innovative approach used by Michigan State University (MSU). This nontraditional form of mentoring provides participants with an opportunity to see real-life examples and impacts of fisheries science, recreation, economics, and outdoor activity in a nonacademic setting. Most importantly, the participants build a network of colleagues that share a common experience and who can offer support and advice in the future.
The value and importance of engaging in this nontraditional mentoring experience with emerging professionals is that it brings participants back to the outdoors and nature, a place where their existing interests in fisheries likely began. We feel that, in this atmosphere, the younger generation of fisheries and conservation-minded professionals can be empowered and their sense of direction, professional goals, and interests in fisheries rekindled.