By Laurie Lane
Meet WSCTU board member and Conservation Chair, Alec Underwood. Alec leads the chapter’s conservation efforts by working with biologists, TU staff, and other partners to help identify high quality restoration projects that will benefit the Missoula area’s cold water fisheries. He has served on the WestSlope board since 2013.
Alec was born in Upstate New York where he cut his teeth on the high-gradient native brook trout streams of the Southern Adirondack Mountains. He arrived in Missoula in 2011 to attend college at UM where he received his degree in fisheries biology, and was also able to enjoy countless days on some of the world’s greatest trout rivers.
Alec’s father and grandfather, both lifelong anglers, taught him how to fly fish and tie flies starting at the age of seven. His hobby quickly developed into an obsession with all things fly fishing.
Alec works as a conservation policy and advocacy specialist for the Montana Wildlife Federation, to protect Montana’s fish, wildlife and public lands. Although he loves his current job, Alec says some of his most fun job experiences were working for Idaho Department of Fish and Game conducting remote snorkel surveys in the Frank Church River-of-No-Return Wilderness.
When asked about what conservation means, Alec replied: “Conservation can be both a practice and a philosophy. We are witnessing a time when conservation has become a major movement, even on social media or the platform that our elected officials choose to run on. Sadly, I think there are many people out there who label themselves “conservationists” without respect to the true meaning of conservation. To me conservation is an ethic and a dedicated, sustained lifelong effort to do what you can to preserve the resources you care about, whether it’s a particular section of your favorite trout stream, or the planet Earth.”
WestSlope Chapter TU makes a huge impact on local fisheries conservation! Through our fundraising efforts, we are able to put tens of thousands of dollars into local fisheries conservation projects that result in direct benefits to the trout we love to chase. This wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated board, volunteers, local businesses and conservation partners that work very hard to raise money for our fish.
Whether the WestSlope Chapter is your local chapter or not, there are hundreds of TU chapters across the country, many of which are accomplishing amazing things for cold water fisheries. We are fortunate to have Alec with our chapter! Thank you Alec for your service.