Brad Waltman, a board member and director of education for the local Trout Unlimited chapter, has been honored by Colorado Trout Unlimited as its 2012 volunteer of the year.
Trout Unlimited is a national organization that works for the conservation, protection and restoration of North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Waltman received the state award at Colorado Trout Unlimited’s annual awards banquet in Redstone on April 20.
Waltman, who lives in Cortez, was nominated by the Dolores River Anglers chapter for his volunteer efforts in organizing educational projects that teach fly-fishing, fly tying and conservation.
He has instituted in-school and after-school programs, organized fly-fishing derbies, clinics and a casting warm-up in the spring.
Waltman is an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 515 and volunteers at the district level of scouting as well. He serves as a volunteer coach for youth football, softball and baseball. He recently was appointed to the Cortez Parks and Recreation Advisory Board as a result of his work with the Dolores River Anglers Youth Education Program.
Waltman’s philosophy is that youths are the key to the future.
“They may not remember everything you teach them,” he said, “but the experiences they have and the mentoring they receive from adults and peer mentors become part of who they are.”
Waltman hopes that Dolores River Anglers’ educational programs will result in increased conservation efforts on the Dolores River drainage. Fishing brings more people onto the water, which leads to more interest in the health of the river. That belief meshes with TU’s philosophy: “Take care of the water and the fishing will take care of itself.”