Garrett Hanks, Colorado TU Youth Education Coordinator

I work to achieve the goals of Colorado Trout Unlimited through the engagement of Colorado’s youth. Raised on the Front Range, I was fortunate to be taken into the outdoors frequently growing up. I had family and friends who taught me not only the beauty of these places but also their value. These experiences shaped who I am and what I have chosen to do with my education and career. I am excited to give back some of those experiences to the next generation of conservation stewards. It is through them that the hard work we do now will have the greatest impact. My job takes me state wide in support of our Chapter’s efforts to engage their local youth. Outreach in schools is one way we provide youth education. The Trout in the Classroom program has been a proven success and is expanding every year to provide aquariums with trout to be raised by students then released into the wild. New initiatives like the Stream Explorers have been extremely successful in engaging students in hands on conservation and fishing, while hopefully providing a continued experience year after year.

The Outdoor Mentors is a program designed to provide youth a chance to get outdoors that would not otherwise have family or friends capable of taking them. Colorado Trout Unlimited partners with local and national organizations and other outdoor focused groups to give as many kids as possible a quality an outdoor experience. Opportunities also exist for families to learn to fish together, no matter the previous skill level, in our family fishing camp.

Each year Colorado Trout Unlimited puts on a week long fly fishing youth camp. Campers from ages 14 to 18 engage in conservation and science based classes in between time on the water. The camp hopes to provide a direct connection to a possible future in natural resources. Many of the campers go on to be successful in their continued education, and we hope as the next generation of leaders in coldwater conservation.

The first annual CTU Intercollegiate Fly Fishing Tournament was held this year in Steamboat Springs, CO. In an attempt to bring together new and old Five Rivers Chapters, six teams from four different colleges across the state participated. The tournament scoring was structured such that the team had to complete different challenges to earn points, rather than simply the most and the biggest fish taking home the trophy. The true message of the tournament however, was conservation and camaraderie for the individuals who will soon be the ones making the decisions on how our river’s resources are stewarded.

For more information on Youth Education programs in your area, or to get involved, contact Garrett Hanks at 720-354-2646 or