The 2019 NFS Gathering: A Weekend of Community and Wild Fish

This September, Native Fish Society brought our staff, volunteers, supporters, and conservation partners together for a weekend of community building, learning, and fun. Converging on the emerald banks of Oregon's iconic North Umpqua River, participants engaged in discussions and learning sessions about an array of topics from movement building to conservation campaign planning to river and wild fish conservation efforts currently taking place in the Umpqua basin and around the region. Folks joined us from across the northwest with some journeying from as far north as Seattle, WA and as far east as Idaho's Clearwater basin.

Plentiful sunshine and a location near the river provided a great opportunity for us to come together to connect and provide participants with a better understanding of how to be effective advocates for wild fish and our rivers. Of course, we also had the chance to enjoy one another’s company around the campfire and had some fun with a friendly game of kickball! We also provided time for folks to visit a hidden gem of the Umpqua River to see wild steelhead.

We would like to thank everyone who made the weekend a resounding success including our staff, River Stewards, Fellows, board members, and conservation partners in the basin, WaterWatch of Oregon and the Steamboaters. And a heartfelt thanks to Lee for welcoming us to his observation area.

Want to see what you missed? Here was the weekend's agenda:

Friday:

  • 4-6pm: Arrive and set up camp.
  • 6:30pm: Kickoff: welcome, introductions, and our safety orientation.
  • 7pm: Dinner
  • 8pm: Campfire discussion on building the wild fish movement led by Ryan Gallagher of Good Gallagher.

Saturday:

  • 8-9am: Breakfast
  • 9-11:30am: Our morning session will kicked off with a look at how NFS works with our advocacy communities. Local River Stewards and conservation partners including representatives from WaterWatch of Oregon and the Steamboaters then shared about the work they are undertaking to recover wild fish and river health in the Umpqua basin. North Umpqua River Steward Bryan Sohl and South Umpqua River Steward Stan Petrowski shared their perspectives and ongoing wild fish advocacy work.
  • 11:30am-1pm: Lunch and social/free time
  • 1-3:30pm: Our afternoon session provided participants with training in developing conservation campaign strategies. Staff shared the building blocks of campaign planning and small group breakouts were utilize to teach the tools of building and evaluating strong conservation campaigns.
  • 3:30-6pm: Happy Hour Kickball tournament and free time!
  • 6pm: Dinner and keynote address on the State of the Native Fish Society by Executive Director Mark Sherwood
  • Evening: Social or free time; campfire.

Sunday:

  • 8-9am: Breakfast and pack up camp
  • 9-10:30am: An opportunity for our participants to share about themselves, their homewaters, and the conservation work and advocacy they are interested in undertaking after leaving the Gathering. Staff and participants provided constructive feedback.
  • 10:30am-12pm: Trip to see the wild steelhead in the water!
  • 12pm: Weekend concluded.

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