Future Angler Foundation (FAF) Executive Director, Robert “Nick” Schmal gave a 20 minute overview last week in Kansas City, MO on how the foundation partnerships work to “Create New Anglers”. The presentation was part of a three day special symposium entitled: “An Examination into Influencing the Future of Angling Participation to Sustain Conservation support.” The symposium was scheduled during the 146th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society.
Schmal’s presentation focused on the integration of existing conservation messages and handouts from non-profit partners and the importance of the passion exhibited by National Professional Angler Association (NPAA) angler educators during hosted fishing clinics. He and his co-authors also pointed out that NPAA events with FAF support are considered important ”Learning Centers” in the country helping to the grow the sport of fishing. Co-authors included Patrick Neu, NPAA Executive Director and President of FAF; Greg Karch, President of Learn 2 Fish With Us, NPAA member, and Certified Angler Instructor; and Henry Koltz, Board of Directors, Southeast Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and National Board of Trustees for Trout Unlimited.
Besides discussing the growth of NPAA hosted events since its formation in 2012 (see Figure 1), Nick also pointed out the importance of strong partner relationships for education and outreach efforts and highlighted a recently signed agreement between FAF and USDA Forest Service national headquarters in Washington, D.C. FAF and NPAA will be participating in a major youth fishing event in the nation’s capital in June, 2017. Urban American Outdoors hosts and may televise next years event.
Figure 1. Number of National Professional Angler Association hosted youth fishing clinics before and after founding of the Future Angler Foundation in 2012.
The overall goals of the symposium were to examine a multitude of issues surrounding angler participation, provide a reference of current understanding of issues and recent developments from research (especially human dimensions research), and establish a reference to help increase the rate of angling participation in the future. Included in the symposium were presentations on education and urban/community fisheries programs, marketing research, angler recruitment and retention, aquatic barriers to participation, use of partnerships, fishing license packaging impacts, communication strategies, and the influence of regulation on angling participation. Schmal was one of 44 speakers from private industry, non-profits, and state and federal agencies.
Schmal is scheduled to participate and highlight FAF programs with NPAA professional anglers in two October events. He will be part of an expert panel (includes Jimmy Bell and Barry Chouinard) during the Aquatic Invaders Summit in St. Cloud, MN October 5-6th and at the Aquatic Resource Education Association conference in Shepherdstown, WV October 22-27th.