I wasn’t born into a fishing family, so the origin of my fishing obsession is a family mystery. But this fixation was evident the moment my parents read me my first fish tale at age three. From then on hardly an hour would pass without me pestering them with “I wanna catch a trout.” After repeating this mantra hundreds of times, my parents took me on my first fishing trip to a stocked trout pond in Bucksnort, Tennessee. Whipping the bamboo rod and piece of corn back and forth (apparently my preference for fly fishing was clear at an early age), I caught my first fish – a chunky rainbow trout. That fish was all it took – I was hooked.
An avid fisherman and outdoorsman, I translate my love for nature into preserving our natural resources and protecting critical environmental laws. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in the spring of 2008, I packed up my life and moved to Washington DC to serve as an environmental policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation. After fourteen months I left DOT to take a position in the U.S. House of Representatives managing the energy, environment, and transportation work for my hometown member, Congressman Steve Cohen.
Working in the epicenter of some of the most significant and contentious energy debates in recent history, I learned how to navigate the labyrinth of U.S. environmental policy. Where I really cut my teeth was leading a coalition of more than forty Members of Congress attempting to mitigate the potential environmental and human consequences of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
After four and a half years in DC, I resigned from my job to launch “An Upstream Journey” and embarked on a six month, 28,220 mile road trip that took me from the Florida Keys to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Along the way, I fished some of the continent’s most ecologically significant waters and worked to raise awareness about the upstream battle to protect wild fish and their habitat.
Seven days after concluding my journey, I hopped on a plane bound for Dublin to pursue a Master’s degree in Environmental Resource Management as a Mitchell Scholar at University College Dublin. So now An Upstream Journey goes Irish! I hope you continue to follow along as I spend the next year traversing Ireland in search of wild fish and exploring how Ireland has maintained its incredible fisheries for centuries.