Jerry Rekart Receives Distinguished Service Award
A big congratulations to Jerry Rekart for receiving Trout Unlimited’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award for his efforts building and sustaining our Trout in the Classroom program.
From TU’s 2010 Award Profile
“Often times, a volunteer takes an idea and runs with it, turning a project into a huge success. Jerry Rekart is an example of just that. When Jerry started the Candlewood Chapter’s Trout in the Classroom program five years ago, there was one fish tank available for use in one school. Now, there are 54 tanks in 27 schools. As a result, an estimated 1,300 children learn about trout through the program each year. Jerry has been the TIC project director for the last five years and has made it a great success. In five years, 5,000 children have participated in the Trout in the Classroom program.
As any volunteer knows, it’s often difficult to sustain a willing group of volunteers. Jerry provides the ongoing support and sustenance it takes to keep things going, always touting program successes and community benefits, keeping volunteers energized. Through his work, the chapter’s visibility has greatly increased–local newspapers have covered chapter activities more and the chapter has had a resurgence of energy. It is volunteers like Jerry who are the heart of TU. Thank you.”
The folks over at the Thames Valley Chapter posted the great article below about two Connecticut Chapter members receiving TUs Distinguished Service Award at this month’s annual meeting held in New Hampshire. You can see the complete text of that article below.
Two Trout Unlimited members from Connecticut were among 21 groups and individuals given awards at Trout Unlimited’s annual meeting in New Hampshire this year. Charles McCaughtry is a member of the Thames Valley Chapter and Jerry Rekart belongs to the Candlewood Chapter.
Charley joined TU in 1985 and rose to become a long time president of the Natchaug Chapter before that chapter merged with the Thames Valley Chapter. After the merger Charley continued his service as a board member of the Thames Valley Chapter. He is also very active as an at-large member of the state council.
Charley is on the board of his local watershed council and is quick to respond to conservation issues. There isn’t one inch of the Mount Hope, Natchaug, or Fenton Rivers that Charley’s canoe hasn’t crossed over the years. He is greatly respected for his knowledge of these rivers as stocking coordinator and advocate for live-cart dispersion of stocked trout. He is often invited to lead a narrated hike “Walking with Trout” on conservation walks. It was Charley who wslked the dry Fenton riverbed and brought awareness that the Fenton River and aquifer had been completely pumped dry by the University of Connecticut. The 2005 draining of the river was a driving force in moving stream flow regulations forward in Connecticut.
Charley is a retired teacher who volunteers his time as a mentor for Trout in the Classroom, TIC, schools and conservation events. He loves to fly fish and shares this love with students in the classroom and during streamside events. He understands the importance of teaching river stewardship to youth as well as young adults, for they will be the protectors of the future.
A well-known artist, Charley has provided countless hours making signs, posters, cards, etc. for community fundraising events. He has generously donated a framed original painting to hang at TU National headquarters. Charley also has donated prints and original artwork to chapter fundraising events. An original watercolor by Charley was auctioned off at the National Meeting to help the sponsoring Pemigewasset Chapter with the costs of putting on the national meeting.
Jerry Rekart has volunteered for several years in the Candlewood Chapter, CVTU. Some roles have been unglamorous and behind the scenes, but he has had phenomenal success during his five years as director of the TIC program. He has taken the program from one fish tank to 54 tanks in 27 schools. By serving two or three classes with each tank, dozens of teachers and an estimated 1,300 children benefit each year.
Jerry began his work in 2005 as a one-man band. He contacted schools, negotiated for equipment, trained teachers, set up tanks, obtained and delivered eggs, monitored schools, gained permits and locations for release, set time tables, created and controlled the budgets. As the program grew, Jerry developed and maintained several computer programs to track the TIC activity and recruited and trained many CVTU members to assist. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Jerry’s service has been his leadership ability. Jerry vastly broadened CVTU’s positive exposure in the community and the visibility has educated people about TU’s conservation role.
For health reasons, Jerry has had to move into an advisory role. One true mark of leadership is how a leader turns over a project he has led. In this case, Jerry turns over a solid, highly regarded program that will continue to serve TU’s mission. Jerry made a smooth transition of his contacts, files, computer programs and tricks of the trade. The demand for expansion from teachers and CVTU’s proven commitment of time and funds ensure that TIC will continue to be successful in the Candlewood Chapter.