You may be wondering: “What has Oak Brook TU been doing lately?” I am proud to say that our chapter continues to put “runs on the board.” I’ve summarized recent OBTU accomplishments in my membership letter. In the past year Oak Brook TU conservation efforts have contributed funding and/or work days to a number of significant projects including:
- Weister Creek improvement project in the Wisconsin Driftless Area
- Beaver Creek stream improvement in the Driftless area near Sparta, WI.
- Funding of TUDARE (Driftless Area Restoration Effort)
- Coldwater River Watershed semi-annual entomology surveys and stream improvement work near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Water temperature monitoring in the Coldwater River and Coon Creek in northwest Illinois.
- Stream survey work preparing for the Dowagiac River Pucker Street Dam removal in Niles, MI.
- Funding earmarked for Great Lakes Coaster Brook Trout Restoration.
And closer to home, we recently “adopted” a Naperville section of the West DuPage River for a semi-annual stream clean-up. Hopefully many of you will join us on Saturday, May 4, from 9am to 12 noon for our first clean-up followed by an informal lunch at a local restaurant.
Oak Brook TU continues to be at the forefront of providing youth education to help develop the next generation of coldwater conservation advocates through the following programs:
- Our popular youth fly fishing classes are scheduled monthly on Saturdays from May through September. Thanks to our volunteers we have taught fly fishing basics to over 1,000 students over the past 15 years.
- Our chapter has taken a lead role in establishing and growing the “Trout-in-the-Classroom” program which is now delivered to 28 schools in Illinois. Twelve of these schools are directly managed by our chapter.
- Oak Brook TU continues to take a leadership role in the Illinois Council of Trout Unlimited’s Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Camp which takes place on Michigan’s Au Sable River each summer for 13 to 18 year-olds.
For adults, our chapter offers free adult education programs such as the Tuesday night fly rod casting instruction during the summer months and fall fly tying sessions at the Bolingbrook Bass Pro Shops store.
Our chapter also continues to advocate for coldwater conservation. Most recently, we participated in meetings with two Illinois congressional offices regarding the Asian Carp Issue. We expect the Army Core of Engineers Plan for the Brandon Roads Project to be recommended to Congress in the near future. Be on the lookout for opportunities to do some personal advocacy on this issue.
All of these good works would not be possible without strong support from many of our 1,200 members. In recent years we have had fundraising success through our Spring Donation Solicitation, Fall Rod Raffle and December Holiday Party; these programs have kept our conservation and education programs strong.
Over the past year, our publicity and communications outreach efforts have resulted in major articles in both Chicago and national publications, and our relatively new website generated over 10,000 visits—a 27% increase over 2017. And in November, we launched our Instagram account. Make sure you are signed up for it along with our Facebook page to stay abreast of other chapter news!
Due to our strong membership and some very committed Board members, Oak Brook TU continues to thrive.
The key to our success as a Trout Unlimited chapter is volunteerism, and I encourage members to contact committee chairpersons for more information on areas of personal interest. A list of all committee chairs is included in our OBTU website Leadership page.
Thank you for all that you do to “conserve, protect and restore North America’s cold water fisheries and their watersheds”.
President, Oak Brook Trout Unlimited Chapter