We’re still riding high from the incredible story of recovery told by Shane Anderson in last week’s premier of Rising from the Ashes. Today, we’ve got another in our Meet the Team blog series and this week the spotlight is on Jenny Weis, Alaska Communications Manager for TU. Jenny is part of the team that put together content for Elwha Week and works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our members and credo signers up to date on everything TU and Wild Steelheaders United are doing for salmon, steelhead, and trout up in Alaska and across the Pacific Northwest. Huge thanks to Jenny for all she does for the WSU team. Read below to learn a little more about why Jenny loves living in Alaska and the work she does with TU.
Grew up in St. Louis Park, MN but now it’s Anchorage, AK
Home waters: Kenai River
Favorite way to catch steelhead (gear, fly, etc.)? My bare hands. Just kidding! I don’t know yet – I have a lot more fishing to do.
Boat or hike? Why?
Hike! I get antsy.
Story around the first steelhead you ever caught?
Yet to be written. Many cold toes, zero to show for it.
Most memorable steelhead camp?
A cold few days on the Kenai Peninsula’s Anchor River. I thought all the people camped out there were completely insane. Now that I know more about steelhead anglers, I’ve been able to confirm that belief.
What’s your favorite thing about wild steelhead?
That they bring us to the unique and beautiful waterways they call home, and their fight and beauty gives us a reason to band together to conserve those areas.
Other hobbies or passions besides wild steelhead?
Eating PB&J sandwiches sitting in the dirt in very pretty places with my dog.
Tell us about your career before joining Wild Steelheaders.
I mostly work to safeguard the incredible fisheries in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region and the Tongass National Forest. Before that, it was the Northwoods and driftless regions of Wisconsin.
When you think of the future of wild steelhead, what gives you a sense of hope? What makes you concerned or worried?
Alaska is lucky to have a lot of intact habitat. I worry constantly that people will mistake that as a sign that we don’t need to do anything to protect what we have. Alaska is the stronghold – it’s North America’s last chance to get the wild salmon and steelhead story right. Yet, we’re constantly facing new threats to our waterways and stunning natural places. If we keep shaving off pieces here and there, it’ll be gone.
The hope I have is how our fisheries unite us. Politically, Alaskans certainly differ, but we all know the value of our fish for our economy, our cultures and our own family traditions. I hope that by relaying what those fish need to survive and reminding folks how much they give us, people will keep coming together to keep our fisheries intact.
Anything else you want Wild Steelheaders United and Trout Unlimited readers to know?
If you love something, stay informed and make a point to take a few minutes every couple weeks to stand up for it. “Activism” requires persistence, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Taking just a few minutes to fill out a comment card, send an email to an elected official, or make a phone call actually really does help.