Conrad Gowell

The Resonance of Many Voices

Growing the Women for Wild Fish Circle

At Native Fish Society, our mission is most resonant when we include many voices. As an organization, we believe that we have a responsibility to create opportunities that are welcoming and supportive of people who identify as women, who act on behalf of fish, rivers, and communities.

Women For Wild Fish was created to bring the voices of women together in order to champion our wild places and wild fish. It takes dedicated people, with a deep connection to place to steward the Pacific Northwest’s native fish and our shared homewaters. We are fortunate to have an increasing circle of thoughtful, intelligent women across the Northwest building such a movement. From Port Angeles, Washington to Port Orford, Oregon, these women are taking action for their homewaters and making a run for change.

At the NFS River Steward Gathering in Forks, Washington last June, we were delighted to welcome a handful of new women to the table. Each of them brought unique knowledge and deep insights about their homewaters. It was inspiring to hear these women speak about the successes and issues in and around the Olympic Peninsula. We were also fortunate to welcome and hear a presentation from Mara Zimmerman, Executive Director for the Coast Salmon Partnership, who works to keep our salmon runs, our livelihoods, and the way of life that depends on these fish healthy in some of the last best habitats in Washington State. You go, girl!

In our current state of affairs, it is imperative that we act now, and often on the issues that affect our planet. Dr. Jane Goodall once said that “one individual cannot possibly make a difference, alone. It is individual efforts, collectively, that makes a noticeable difference—all the difference in the world!” With the vast planned changes and rollbacks of environmental protections from the current administration, there is no time more critical for our voices. From the Pebble Mine threat that will affect one of the world’s last great salmon fisheries on Bristol Bay, to the sharp increase of logging on public lands—up 31 percent from 2017—which has negative impacts on wildlife habitat and promotes the rate of erosion; from oil and gas companies gaining access to the habitat of imperiled sage grouse across the West, to the greed-driven efforts to keep the lower Snake River dams in place, which inhibit the recovery of endangered salmon and steelhead, as well as protected orca populations. This place, where we raise our children, where we live our lives, is under attack.

How can women banding together make a difference? By expanding our skill set as advocates, by not being afraid to take action OFTEN regardless of the outcome, by rejoicing in our victories and our failures, by expressing new perspectives and fresh ideas, by “individual effort, collectively” our voices become the megaphone for change.

We envision a place where our fish and watersheds are healthier because women are empowered to be the harbingers of cultural wisdom and science-based education, regenerative practices, and advocacy. Let's make our vision a reality. Welcome to our circle.

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