The Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, Inc. Founders Fund Scholarship
The Founders Fund currently supports an annual academic merit scholarship of $3,500 to an exceptional student in an environmental program of studies such as cold-water fisheries management, environmental law, and policy, fishery conservation, aquatic biology, natural resource management, and hydrology.
From its beginning, the Founders Fund has partnered with the Environmental Consortium of Colleges and Universities to help tap the best and the brightest students in the region. Founded in 2004, the Consortium is composed of over sixty colleges and universities in the Hudson–Mohawk River region. Its mission is to harness higher education’s intellectual and physical resources to advance regional, ecosystem-based environmental research, teaching, and learning with a special emphasis on the greater Hudson–Mohawk River watershed.
The 2020 Founders Fund Event
On November 18, 2020, TGF hosted its annual Founders Fund event—not a reception at the Union League Club, this year, regrettably, but in cyberspace via Zoom. While we missed the drinks and hors d’oeurvres and the companionship of old and new friends, we were able to include participants from around the region and around the country as we honored this year’s scholarship recipient, Megan Hazlitt, and longtime TGF member David Kramer.
Megan Hazlitt, who is currently working on an M.S. degree at the State University of New York Department of Environmental and Forest Biology in Syracuse on her way to a Ph.D. in freshwater fisheries biology, wowed everyone with an ex tempore speech that began with the origins of her interest in the field when working on brook trout restoration projects as an undergraduate and with related work in Oregon, Alaska, and in marine biology. She then explained her current work on the functional ecology of fish over a 100-year history to develop policies for stream management, and she concluded with a passionate statement on the need for the engagement of scientists with the making of public policy. She is exemplary of the students that the Founders Fund exists to support.
David Kramer was introduced by David Berman, who praised his wise counsel as a member of the TGF board of directors for over thirty years and recalled his legal work in establishing TGF as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1966. Sara Low also introduced him, recalling their first meeting at Greenwoods on the Farmington River, comparing him with humor, but also surprising accuracy, to Theodore Gordon himself, and concluding that “TGF would not exist without him.” In a short, eloquent speech, David Kramer then reflected on his more than fifty-seven years of involvement with Theodore Gordon Flyfishers, praised the current strength of the organization and its leadership, and affirmed that the Founders Fund (and recipients such as Megan Hazlitt) are “models of what America needs now and in the future.”
We hope by next November to be able to return to the wainscoted sanctum of the Union League Club, but this year, in addition to thanks to the Founders Fund Committee of Jessica Steinberg Albin, Janice Robinson, Warren Stern, Sara Low, and Bert Darrow, who chose the scholarship winner and arranged the unprecedented event, special thanks go to Steve Lieb, the Zoom host, and Jordan Antebi, IT facilitator, who together shepherded Zoom innocents through the process. The event raised $10,750 for the Founders Fund, with another $500 added on Giving Tuesday after Thanksgiving. As always, TGF is grateful for the generosity of its members in supporting this and TGF’s other programs advancing our mission of conservation and education.