Wake-Up Call
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Wake-Up Call

Fishing For Change — And More Inspiring Conservation Stories

A roundup of feel-good environmental stories from Wake-Up Call and Orvis

Casting for Recovery

With a little help from our friends at Orvis, we featured inspiring fishing tales and nature appreciation stories in our daily Wake-Up Call newsletter (subscribe here if you haven’t already!) for the month of November. Read more to learn about organizations like Casting for Recovery, which holds fishing retreats for breast cancer patients, and the Everglades Foundation, which takes care of one of our country’s most important ecosystems. And as always, happy fishing!

November 4th, Trout Unlimited

The salmon industry in Bristol Bay, Alaska, is at risk. A proposed Pebble mine would harm the region’s wildlife and habitat, as well as its economy. Nelli Williams of Trout Unlimited is fighting against the project. She told us, “If we want thousands of American jobs and all the other qualities that makes Bristol Bay special, to continue into the future, we have a lot of work to do in the coming year.” Read more here.

November 5th, 50/50 On the Water

Fly fishing is a sport that’s long been dominated by men. But the 50/50 On the Water program is hoping to change that — by introducing more women to the sport and encouraging them to cast a line of their own. Chrissy Atkins, who co-founded the initiative, told us: “From women-specific gear development, to education and adventure experiences, to nonprofit partnerships and women-centric storytelling, 50/50 On the Water aims to inspire and celebrate women in the sport we all love.”

November 6th, Morris Animal Foundation

See those pups?️Their human parents helped raise funds for canine cancer research — by entering their pics into Orvis’s Cover Dog Contest to benefit Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit that invests in animal health. The contest has brought in over $1 million for canine cancer, which affects one in four dogs. Enter your pooch here for the chance to win a $500 gift card, appear on Orvis’s catalog cover, and help some four-legged friends.

November 7th, Everglades Foundation

Each day, 1.5 billion gallons of polluted water enters Florida’s Everglades, threatening one of the world’s most remarkable ecosystems. But the Everglades Foundation is working to help — through research and education programs. The organization’s CEO Eric Eikenberg told us: “Our successes in science, policy and advocacy have given me great hope for a restored Everglades.” Find out more here.

November 8th, Protect Our Winters

Love snow days? Nonprofit Protect Our Winters is working to make sure climate change doesn’t obliterate them. Founded by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones, POW works with the outdoors sports community to spread awareness about the warming planet. Lindsay Bourgoine, POW’s Director of Policy and Advocacy says: “It’s incredibly humbling to be a part of this fight and advocate for the thing I love most: snow.”

November 11th, Project Healing Waters

There’s nothing like the serenity of fly fishing to heal the soul and bring you a fresh perspective on life. That’s why Project Healing Waters offers fly fishing programs in 21 prime fishing destinations like Florida, Michigan, and Alaska to wounded active military service members and veterans. (Over 8,000 people participated just last year!) The president of the non-profit, Todd Desgrosseilliers, served for 31 years in Iraq and said the program truly saves lives. “It’s about fly fishing — but it isn’t.” Desgrosseilliers said. “The community and camaraderie help us recover too — both physically and emotionally. And in the end, our injuries become our strengths. We emerge healed — reborn and reconnected in ways we never thought possible.”

November 12th, Casting for Recovery

Stepping outside has been proven to do wonders for you — just ask the more than 8,000 breast cancer patients and survivors who’ve attended free fly fishing trips with Casting for Recovery. The nonprofit hosts retreats across the country, giving women the chance to catch some of the great outdoors together. As Lise Lozelle, a director at the organization, told us: “It’s a connection to the healing power of nature, to building communities… and finding the joy in not thinking about cancer for just a moment.”

November 13th, Orvis

Attention dog lovers: Today’s slice of inspiration comes from one woman’s love of her four-legged pal. In a cute new film “For The Love Of Luck,” Nancy Mackinnon reveals how her 13-year-old pup — perfectly named, Luck — gave her a new appreciation for life. Nancy said, “Even in the worst of circumstances you can find some good. Just keep trying. Keep going for it. Keep your heart in what is your passion and you’ll have a happy life. ”

November 14th, Fish for Change

We’ve highlighted some incredible men and women who have taken to fly fishing — but now we’re casting our gaze to a younger generation. The non-profit Fish For Change reels in high school and college students for week-long programs, where they take on projects like trash clean-ups and mangrove restoration. One of the group’s directors Heather Harkavy told us, “We look forward to watching the next generation of anglers and conservationists doing their part to change the world.”

November 15th, Fishheads of the San Juan

Marty Loudder has lost most of the mobility in her arms due to childhood polio, which means she’s had to get creative in life. So, when she wanted to learn how to fly fish, the Texas A&M professor turned to her toes, learning how to fish with her feet. She enjoys fishing with her 10-year-old grandson, and believes that with some persistence, you can master anything. Watch her toe-tally inspiring story…

November 18th, Petfinder Foundation

Meet Pepper, an adorable Blue Heeler who was saved by the Petfinder Foundation. Pepper was living at a Louisiana shelter, where he was due to be put down. But through the Petfinder Foundation’s help, Pepper was rescued, and placed with a loving family. The foundation works to ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home. So far, Orvis customers have raised more than $784,000, and saved an estimated 14,000 dogs just like Pepper. You can donate to the Petfinder Foundation here.

November 19th, Mayfly Project

Jess Westbrook wanted to work with foster care children — and knew that sharing his passion for fly fishing would be the perfect way to do it. Enter the Mayfly Project, his organization that helps teach vulnerable kids across the country everything from casting to tying their own knots. As Jess explained, “During some of the most trying times of my adult life, I have used a fly rod as a coping mechanism.”

November 20th, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

Bonefish populations are at risk of depletion because their habitats are being threatened. But they remain one of the most coveted species to catch for sport. Luckily, the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust works in places in the Caribbean to conserve and restore bonefish habitats, along with those of two other types of fish: the tarpon and permit. JoEllen Wilson, who works with the org, said it hopes to preserve a family tradition “for the enjoyment of our future generations.” Donate here!

November 21st, Orvis

Meet U.S. navy veteran Chad Brown’s best friend: Axe, his chocolate lab. When Chad returned from serving in the Gulf War and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, he suffered from severe PTSD that kept him up at night. But since Axe entered his life, he’s been able to get some more shut-eye. Not to mention: Axe is a great fly fishing buddy! “We don’t separate, we’re together always,” Chad said. Watch their journey here.

November 22nd, Orvis

Paul Larkin was diagnosed with brain cancer as a kid, and later, he had to undergo a lung transplant at age 24. Understandably, Paul had a hard time dealing with the aftermath. But thankfully he was able to find peace in nature while fishing with his brothers. His favorite spot? The McCloud River in Northern California. Paul said when he’s there, “nothing else matters.” Watch his touching story.

November 25th, Orvis #MomentofChill

It’s no secret that the holidays are stressful. At least 70% of Americans are stressed out this time of year due to gift-giving and time management. I also can’t help but get caught up with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. That’s why I love the Orvis #MomentofChill campaign. From now through Christmas Day, Orvis will share a de-stresser video on Instagram and Facebook — from a happy pup to a crackling fireplace. Can you say ommm?

November 26th, Orvis #MomentofChill

Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease stress hormones — making way for more happiness. Hey, there’s a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend!” Orvis is featuring relaxing videos each day through Christmas for its #MomentOfChill campaign. Today, catch this video of some furry friends while you’re waiting in an airport security line… or maybe during a break from baking a pie recipe submitted by a Wake-Up Caller.

November 27th, Orvis #MomentofChill

Take time for yourself with Orvis’ #MomentOfChill campaign. To get your mind off the weather, we’re taking you somewhere warm with this one. But skip the Jaws music: Watch this calming video of a nurse shark swimming through clear blue waters. And while we’re off for Thanksgiving, check out some of Orvis’ other videos for your #MomentOfChill.

This originally appeared in Katie Couric’s Wake-Up Call newsletter. Subscribe here.




Katie Couric and friends talk career, culture, politics, wellness, love, and money

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Katie Couric

Katie Couric

Founder, Katie Couric Media. Newscaster: Wake-Up Call. Podcaster: Next Question. Doc filmmaker. @SU2C founder.

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