Middle River Dispatches is a gumbo of posts about fly-fishing, conservation, politics and days afield.

Joining the Marine Fish Conservation Network

Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done, For Heaven and the future’s sakes. -Robert Frost

For those who have been following along with my recent move from running the Outdoor Writers Association of America to joining the Marine Fish Conservation Network the Network’s official announcement is posted below. To be paired with Mark Bauman in an announcement is a special honor. Mark as you will see below has an impressive background and I am excited to be working with him.

I have had the opportunity to work with the Network over the years and thrilled to now be part of the team. The way the Network goes about its policy work is important to me. The coalition building, the science-based policy development and the desire to see healthy oceans, productive fisheries and working waterfronts thrive has been the hallmark of the Network advocacy and education. The Network presents a measured and balanced approach. It is that approach the attracted me.

The economic impact of healthy oceans, productive fisheries and working waterfronts is an important component of our nation’s economy. The small businesses that depend on the sea and the people who live, work and play there are an important part of my life.

My mother’s side of the family came from Rhode Island and I still spend time there. I am fishing guide and board member of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. Those parts of my life have helped me form a deep and abiding interest in seeing our marine resources well cared for now, and into the future.

The ocean, its resources and the people that live, work and play there deserves a strong voice and advocate when it comes to public policy. The Network is that voice.

Marine Fish Conservation Network Welcomes Tom Sadler, New Deputy Director, and Mark Bauman, Board of Directors Member

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2016
Contact: Jo Knight, jo@conservefish.org

ARLINGTON, VA – The Marine Fish Conservation Network announced today the addition of two new members to its leadership team. Tom Sadler, outgoing executive director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), will join the Network as the organization’s deputy director. Mark Bauman, senior vice president of Smithsonian Media, has become the newest member of the Network’s Board of Directors.

“The Network is excited to have Tom Sadler and Mark Bauman become part of the leadership team that helps steer our organization toward achieving healthier oceans and productive fisheries,” said Robert C. Vandermark, executive director of the Network.

Sadler has an extensive history of promoting fisheries conservation through advocacy and communication. In 2008, he started The Middle River Group to provide strategic and tactical public and government relations assistance on conservation issues, especially those related to fish, wildlife and natural resources. He has also served as conservation director for the Izaak Walton League of America and director of program development for the Trust for Public Land. Sadler most recently lead OWAA, the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States.

“I’m excited to be getting back to my organizing and advocacy roots to push for greater conservation of our marine fisheries,” said Sadler. “I look forward to working with commercial and recreational fishermen, conservationists, and everyone who wants to ensure our fisheries are thriving well into the future.”

“Tom brings exceptional conservation experience, as well as an invaluable perspective, having worked closely with the conservation and outdoors community for most of his career,” Vandermark said. “He truly understands the needs of those who rely on our natural resources.”

Bauman is an award-winning entertainment executive with strong expertise in strategic communications across multiple platforms. In his current role, he oversees the commercial media of the Smithsonian Institution, including Smithsonian Magazine, Air and Space Magazine, Smithsonian Books and Smithsonian.com. Bauman has partnered with numerous conservation nonprofits on messaging for public environmental campaigns. He worked with Ban Ki-moon and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to produce the short film that convened the second round of Kyoto Climate Change talks. As part of the executive teams of both Smithsonian and National Geographic, Bauman has had a distinguish and successful career broadening audience reach and expanding organizational presence through digital, print and broadcast. He has earned numerous awards, including an Emmy, Cine Golden Eagles, and several film festival awards. Prior to his time at National Geographic, Bauman worked in television journalism for ABC covering news stories that spanned the globe.

“Marine conservation and the sustainable management of global fish stocks are critically important to the future of our planet,” said Bauman. “It is an honor to join this distinguished board.”

“Mark is an outstanding addition to our Board of Directors, and we are lucky to have his expertise in strategically and creatively communicating to diverse audiences throughout the country,” said Gerry Leape, chair of the Network’s Board of Directors. “We couldn’t be happier that he is joining our team.”

Link below:

Marine Fish Conservation Network Welcomes Tom Sadler, New Deputy Director, and Mark Bauman, Board of Directors Member

A Sea Change

“We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak, and to defend the causes that were for the moment unpopular.” -Edward R. Morrow

This week I let the members and supporters of the Outdoor Writers Association of America know I was leaving my position as Executive Director and going to work for the Marine Fish Conservation Network. It was a difficult decision and one I did not make hastily or lightly, but in the end my heart and Morrow’s words won out.

I need no more reason why than this…

Truth be told the future of our marine resources for my grandchildren and their grandchildren weighed on me. I didn’t want to look back on my life and think I could have done more.

Jim Range and Jean Ince (courtesy of John Ince)

Memories of an old friend, Jim Range, reminded me; “Tommy we have to protect the wild things. If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.

I still have some fight left in me and want to get back in the game more directly.

Here is what I told the OWAA members and supporters:

It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as OWAA’s executive director for almost four years, but the time has come for me to move on. On Jan. 1, 2017, I will return to the advocacy world and join the Marine Fish Conservation Network as deputy director.

I assure you my leaving OWAA has nothing to do with the organization or anyone associated with it, but is solely motivated by my desire to “get back into the fight” and use my advocacy and organizing experience to protect our marine resources and the people that depend on them.

OWAA’s mission has never been more important, but my heart lies elsewhere. I know the organization is stable, has good leaders and will continue quite well without me. With Colleen Miniuk-Sperry taking over my duties, I know the day-to-day operations will continue seamlessly and the membership will be well served. I look forward to seeing and being part of OWAA’s continued success just in a different role as a member and a supporter.

During my time at OWAA I learned that we are a tribe, a guild, the keepers of the flame and take the work as chroniclers seriously. We are, in fact, the Voice of the Outdoors. OWAA is serious about our work as journalists and will vigorously defend the First Amendment. Our Circle of Chiefs are our conservation conscience and continue to remind us of important issues facing the future of the outdoors. And our conference is the best opportunity for liked-minded journalists to gather, learn and share.

Today, more than ever in OWAA’s 90-year history, the work we do as outdoor journalists is critically important, and we need to do it as well as we possibly can. To quote Edward R. Morrow, “We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak, and to defend the causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

I hope to see many of you in Duluth, Minnesota, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, or at future conferences.

Today’s Outdoor Media

From OWAA NewsRum Chron1.2

The outdoor communication industry has a rich history of helping the America people see the outdoors even if they couldn’t get outside themselves.

Kids curled up with flashlights and sporting maga­zines under their bed covers. Adults read newspapers in leather chairs while smoking a pipe and enjoying a single malt.

Magazine articles, TV shows and outdoor columns in newspapers, transported Americans into the great outdoors.

Today, OWAA members keep that tradition alive while we, as our missions says, “set the highest ethical and communications standards.”

We bring adventure, great storytelling and enter­tainment into the homes of the public, but even more importantly, outdoor journalists continue to play a criti­cal role in helping the American people see the value in the great outdoors while also calling attention to what threatens it.

The history of outdoor writers calling attention to bad land or wildlife management actions is legendary. Journalist can point out how, without public vigilance, their elected officials will sell that heritage to the highest bidder.

One of the more significant mission tenets of OWAA is “encour­age public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources.”

Outdoor journalists show a simple equation; healthy habitat creates recreation opportunities. And recreation drives significant economic activity. That is a message that resonates in the halls of power and is strong medicine in fighting for the protection of our natural resources.

OWAA members are the voices that show the world the grandeur of America’s outdoor resources. They are the voices that share the stories — good and bad — of our waters and woods.

Land, fish and wildlife don’t have human voices, so we must be the voice to reach the American people. My job is making sure our members have the tools and opportunities to be a loud and effective voice.

OWAA is comprised of more than 800 individual outdoor communicators covering a broad spectrum of outdoor beats, from shooting to camping, fishing to kayaking and wildlife watching to backpacking. From these diverse backgrounds and disciplines, members gather beneath the OWAA ban­ner to hone skills, share philosophies, develop profitable business strategies and network with peers, conservation policymakers and industry trendsetters.

Eighty-seven years ago the men who started OWAA thought the work they were doing as chroniclers of the great outdoors was important enough to found an organization to perpetuate the craft.

Today, access to public lands is shrinking, habitat loss is increas­ing and environmental issues complex. The work we do today as outdoor journalists is as important, perhaps even more so, then it was back then.

Bring the Outdoors Indoors: OWAA 2014-15 Traveling Photo Exhibit Available

From OWAA News
Dec,. 8, 2014
MISSOULA, Mont. – Winning photographs from the 2014 Excellence in Craft Contests awarded by the Outdoor Writers Association of America are available for display throughout the spring. Contact OWAA now to reserve your dates for hosting this exhibit!

The exhibit has appeared at a variety of venues throughout the years, including sportsmen’s shows, conferences, museums and schools.

The exhibit features 21 photographs from the contest’s seven categories: action, scenic, flora, fauna, people, outdoor fun and adventure, and family participation/youth outdoor education. Each year our winners include some of America’s best-known outdoor photographers from around the country.

Pictured below, “Fighting Pheasants” by Gary Kramer of Willows, California, won the 2014 People’s Choice Award. “Kayaking Superior” by James Smedley of Wawa, Ontario, received the prestigious Presidents’ Choice Award for 2014.

eic-photo-examples

Hosting the exhibit costs only $150 plus one-way shipping of the materials. Dates are available beginning in January 2015 and throughout the spring.

To make your reservation, please contact Jessica Seitz at jseitz@owaa.org, 406-552-4047 or 406-728-7434. To ensure availability, please make your reservations by Dec. 19, 2014.

Many thanks to the 2014 sponsors:

  • Nation Rifle Association (Hunting or Shooting Sports category)
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts (Conservation category)
  • Realtree (Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education category)

The OWAA Excellence in Craft Contests are open to all OWAA members and the 2015 contests are now open. For more information on the contests, rules and sponsors, visit http://owaa.org/eic.

Bringing you the news from OWAA

As executive director of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, I know first hand how important our work is. The opportunity to be part of the leadership team at OWAA is exciting, challenging and a career highlight for me.

OWAA is comprised of more than 800 individual outdoor communicators from the broad, modern spectrum of outdoor beats, from shooting to camping, fishing to kayaking, wildlife watching to backpacking. We believe in improving the professional skills of our members, setting the highest ethical and communications standards, encouraging public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and being mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.

We do that by networking with fellow professional communicators, publishing Outdoors Unlimited magazine, offering job and editorial listings in our Outdoor Market and most notably, hosting our annual conference. We offer craft improvement advice, industry news, information on technology trends, available job openings, conservation news, and business advice.

While much of what we do is aimed at our members and supporters, we do share a fair amount of information with the public.

I will be sharing that public information here on Dispatches. My goal is to help spread the news but also to offer you a view into the world of OWAA.

If you want more information about OWAA you can find it at OWAA.org.

If you are interested in learning about joining OWAA take a look at OWAA.org/join.

Change

Time to turn the page in the Sadler career book.

As you will see below, I have joined the Outdoor Writers Association of America as their new executive director. This is a very exciting opportunity for me, aligning both personal and professional interests and creating a chance to help this storied organization move forward.

OWAA’s mission “…is to improve the professional skills of our members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and be mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.”

I bet you can see why I am really looking forward to working for them.

Our headquarters is in Missoula, Mont. and while I will be traveling there often, will remain based here in Virginia.

OWAA is comprised of more than 800 individual outdoor communicators from the broad, modern spectrum of outdoor beats, from shooting to camping, fishing to kayaking, wildlife watching to backpacking. From these diverse backgrounds and disciplines, members gather beneath the OWAA banner to hone skills, share philosophies, develop profitable business strategies and network with peers, conservation policymakers and industry trendsetters.

Want to join us?

Dispatches will continue but with a more random posting schedule. I will continue to beat the Habitat = Opportunity = Economic Activity drum, talk about tenkara, and share some insights into of life’s more entertaining moments.

Change is good and this is a good change!

OWAA taps Sadler as executive director

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Outdoor Writers Association of America announces the hiring of Tom Sadler as the organization’s executive director.

Sadler is a lifelong outdoorsman and has worked for years in both the conservation and outdoor recreation arenas. A former U.S. Navy Reserve officer and an avid angler and hunter, he lives in Verona, Va., in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Sadler replaces Robin Giner, who left OWAA at the end of 2012.

“OWAA is fortunate to find someone of Tom’s caliber to lead our organization into a demanding new era,” said Mark Taylor, OWAA president and outdoor writer for The Roanoke Times. “This era requires that we adapt to an ever-changing media landscape in order to best serve our existing membership and attract new members. Tom is more than equal to the task at hand.

“We had a number of excellent candidates, but Tom’s experience in the outdoor and conservation arenas — complemented by his vast professional network — best positions him to lead the OWAA,” continued Taylor. “I believe he will guide our group to new heights.”

Sadler owns and runs a consulting firm, The Middle River Group, where he focuses on advocating outdoor recreation and conservation. He launched the company in 2008 after moving to Verona from Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Sadler was the director of program development for the Trust for Public Land. He also served as the conservation director for the Izaak Walton League of America and was president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

Sadler has worked as an outdoor columnist for the New Virginian in Waynesboro and writes about the outdoors and conservation on his blog, Dispatches from Middle River (middleriverdispatch.com). He also works occasionally as a fly-fishing guide for Mossy Creek Fly Fishing in Harrisonburg, Va.

Sadler serves on the boards of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association and the National Fisheries Friends Partnership. He also is a member of the steering committee of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture, a National Fish Habitat Partnership.

“My passion for the outdoors and conservation are exceeded only by my desire to share those passions with others,” Sadler said.

“OWAA members are the best communicators of those passions. To be able to help OWAA do more of that by growing the membership, increasing our supporter base and helping our members and supporters become successful is really an exciting opportunity.”

OWAA is The Voice of the Outdoors®. The Outdoor Writers Association of America is the oldest and largest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. It was organized in 1927 by members of the Izaak Walton League of America and includes professional communicators dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience. OWAA’s professionals include writers, photographers, outdoors radio- and television-show hosts, book authors, videographers, lecturers and artists. The association is headquartered in Missoula, Mont. For more information, contact Outdoor Writers Association of America, 615 Oak St., Ste. 201, Missoula, Mont. 59801; 406-728-7434, info@owaa.org; www.owaa.org. [LINK]