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Old 08-23-2014, 08:02 PM
Joe Congleton Joe Congleton is offline
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Default John Thurman wins National Education award from Trout Unlimited

Thurman Honored By Trout Unlimited
As National Leader In Youth Education

John Thurman of Norris, longtime member and volunteer for the Clinch River Chapter, has been named winner of the national Youth Education Leadership Award by Trout Unlimited, recognizing his contributions to creating a new generation of conservationists.

The annual award honors a TU volunteer who demonstrates exemplary leadership and a deep passion for inspiring young people to become thoughtful, responsible stewards of North America's coldwater fisheries. It will be presented to Thurman on Sept. 5 during the TU annual meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., and will be noted in the winter issue of TROUT magazine.

Thurman first joined TU in 1970 and helped found the Clinch River Chapter in 1996. He has been chapter president and a board member—but current president Dick Geiger says Thurman's focus for more than a decade has been on developing youngsters' interest in natural aquatic systems. He has served as the chapter's Youth Education Committee chair since TU first increased its emphasis on youth programs in 2001.

Thurman holds a bachelor of science in forestry from Iowa State University and a master's in wildlife ecology from Purdue University. He worked in environmental quality and compliance for the Tennessee Valley Authority, but found his true vocation after retiring from TVA in 1994. In retirement he became an aquatic entomologist—and in that role, greatly expanded his involvement with youth.

Thurman's biggest contribution to Tennessee youth has been development, with Jack Betchick of TU's Delta Chapter in Memphis, of the Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp sponsored by the Tennessee Council of TU. Thurman developed a dual approach for the camp in which staff of the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont provide instruction in stream ecology, limnology and physics while TU volunteers teach casting, fishing and fly tying. The camp in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which has just completed its fourth year, also incorporates technical skills of staff from the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service.

In his other work with youth, Thurman has:
* Developed his own Kids in the Creek program involving area children with nature, both during the school year and during summer vacation.
* Planned and overseen construction of a natural prairie around a new pond system at Norris Elementary School.
* Made presentations to middle school and high school students that include field trips to streams.
* Helped develop the chapter's program with the Boys and Girls Club of Oak Ridge.
* Mentored Boy Scouts as they earn fishing and fly fishing merit badges.
* Helped Coal Creek Watershed Foundation develop Coal Creek Health Day at Briceville Elementary School, an annual event at which pupils study Coal Creek as it runs beside the school and compare what they must to do maintain healthy bodies with what we all need to do to maintain healthy stream ecosystems.
* Individually encouraged youngsters to continue pursuing interests sparked by chapter and camp activities. For example, a former trout camper, still in high school, has been elected to the chapter's board.

"When it comes to youth education and conservation, John Thurman is a role model we are proud to have as a resource," Geiger says.

(from a personal perspective I have been privileged to have known John for forty plus years, fished and bird hunted all over US and Canada with him, and observed his keen desire to educate others on our trout world…nobody could deserve this award more than John).

Last edited by Joe Congleton; 08-24-2014 at 07:09 AM..
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Old 08-25-2014, 03:03 PM
cockeye valdez cockeye valdez is offline
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well said Jo, John is a great guy and true ambassador for our environment and sport.
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Old 08-26-2014, 09:55 PM
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bigsur bigsur is online now
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I got the email from the Cllinch River TU chapter while on vacation about John's award and wanted to wait till I got back to congratulate him. I have had the good fortune to be a part of the Clinch chapter the last few years and was informed early on if I had a question about aquatic life than John was the man! As you can see from his acomplishments that is only one part of what he does, his service to the sport is stellar and something we can all aspire to, a big thanks to John and it is an honor to know him.
"It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

"Nothing straightens out my mind like a twisting mountain stream!"
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:08 PM
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Wilson10 Wilson10 is offline
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Location: Clinton, TN
Posts: 317

Congrats John! Very well deserved. The program he helped to start with our organization at the Boys & Girls Club has truly been great and the kids have enjoyed it.

My Blog: Fly Fish East Tennessee

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