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USA Partners with Worldwide Trophy Adventures

October 16, 2017 in Press Release

October 19, 2017

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Worldwide Trophy Adventures (WTA) recently teamed up to provide USA members with better access to quality hunting and fishing destinations, while raising funds to support the USA’s conservation mission.

As part of the partnership, WTA will offer USA members a 10% discount when they apply for a game tag through its TAGS service, exclusive hunting and fishing opportunities, and informative articles in the USA’s magazine. WTA also will donate a portion of any trip booked by a USA member back to the USA to support its conservation mission.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Union Sportsmen’s Alliance,” said WTA owner Mark Peterson. “Both the USA and WTA share the same vision of conservation through education and engagement with the outdoors, ensuring the heritage of hunting and fishing is passed on for generations to come. We look forward to providing top quality service and specials for USA members and hope to help spread the word about all they do for everyone who enjoys the outdoors.”

A non-profit organization created in 2007, the USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. With a membership of more than 200,000 union members who share a passion for the outdoors, the USA will celebrate its 100th community-based conservation project near Washington, D.C., in November with a free, youth fishing event.

“The latest U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey shows that the U.S. has experienced a net loss of two million hunters in the last five years.  This is an alarming decline, and it should make all of us stop and take notice.  Lack of access for quality hunting experiences and limited time to hunt are two of the biggest reasons hunters stop hunting,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance. “We are excited to improve our members’ hunting and fishing opportunities by partnering with WTA and connecting them with the outstanding opportunities they provide.”

To help support the USA’s mission, WTA will be fully integrated into the organization through its popular shooting tour, conservation dinners, magazine and website. In addition, WTA will support the USA’s annual fundraising calendar.

As the USA continues to gain momentum among its peers, new partners – including Pure Fishing, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Realtree and now WTA –  are noticing and committing to help the organization become a greater force for conservation, fueled by skilled union volunteers.

Hurricane Irma Relief Effort at Florida House on Capitol Hill

September 12, 2017 in General, Press Release

CONTACT: Jordan Pic/ Manager of Operations, Florida House on Capitol Hill
202-546-1555 or jordan.pic@floridahousedc.org

Connie Parker/Director of Stewardship and Government Relations, Pure Fishing
703-624-1811 or csparker@purefishing.com

Florida House on Capitol Hill, Pure Fishing and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance are organizing an effort to collect and transport supplies for the Hurricane Irma relief effort.

Florida House will collect items from Tuesday, September 12th until Friday, September 15th. Supplies can also be shipped to Florida House via Amazon Prime. The items will depart Washington, D.C. for Orlando, FL on Saturday, September 16th.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management and Volunteer Florida have identified the following items as most essential:

• Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash
• Buckets and mops
• Garbage bags
• Toilet paper
• Baby Diapers
• Pediasure and Ensure
• Feminine care products

Drop off for donations will be from 9am to 6pm Tuesday, September 12th to Friday, September 15th. Volunteers interested in helping box and load supplies can reach out at the contact information above. Please feel free to share with those who are interested in helping Florida.

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Florida House on Capitol Hill is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), nonpartisan organization that provides cultural, social, educational and economic resources; showcases Florida’s culture and diversity; maintains and operates Florida House; and provides opportunities for Floridians to enrich their appreciation and knowledge of our nation’s government. www.floridahousedc.org

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Communications Team Grows to Meet Mission Needs

August 25, 2017 in Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. —The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is pleased to announce its recent hire of Courtney Miller as Communications Coordinator, adding to its growing team of dedicated conservationists.

Created by and dedicated to union members and their families, the non-profit conservation organization is escalating its conservation efforts, partnerships and memberships and expanding internally to keep pace.

USA

Courtney Miller

“The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is committed to growing our community of union members who share our passion for hunting, fishing, shooting and the great outdoors,” said Brian Dowler, the USA’s director of membership, marketing and communications. “There’s no better way for us to push forward in this effort than by growing our staff of outdoorsmen and women. As we work to bring greater awareness to the good work of USA volunteers, we are confident Courtney’s strong background in conservation will help support our communications department.”

Miller brings a versatile background to the USA, having previously served as an editor for a marketing firm specializing in the outdoor industry. She’s worked with numerous leading outdoor brands and has a strong background in public relations and marketing, offering expertise in content creation, magazine production, editing and social media management.

“I’m excited to join a team so passionate about preserving North America’s outdoor heritage and for the opportunity to help expand the USA’s communications reach,” said Miller. “I’m especially interested in utilizing social media marketing to grow an organization’s brand and community and look forward to applying my skills in that area at the USA.”

Born and raised in a family of conservationists, Miller has always been committed to supporting efforts aimed at making a better future for wildlife, increasing public land access, and keeping those efforts alive by introducing future generations of hunters, anglers and trappers to the outdoors. Miller has volunteered for a number of conservation organizations, using her communications background to grow social media presence and manage events by organizing and executing fundraisers, banquets and trade shows.

Miller, a passionate hunter, angler, camper, and second amendment advocate, joins the USA from central Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Miller can be reached at courtneym@unionsportsmen.org.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Grows Conservation Team

July 6, 2017 in Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. —The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) has hired Robert Stroede as its new conservation manager, adding to its growing conservation team.

Created by and dedicated to union members and their families, the non-profit conservation organization is escalating its conservation efforts, partnerships and memberships and expanding internally to keep pace.

Robert Stroede

Most recently, Stroede served as the National Archery in the Schools Program State Coordinator/Facility Manager/Biologist Supervisor for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). During his five years with LDWF, Stroede’s responsibilities included the administration, growth, fundraising, facilitation, training and event planning of the statewide Archery in Louisiana Schools (ALAS) program as well as management and use of the state-owned Outdoor Education Center and Shooting Range. Stroede increased participation in the ALAS program from 30 to 200 schools, increased public use of the Woodworth Shooting Range from 2,000 to 10,000 users per year and developed both the ALAS equipment grant and scholarship programs.

Prior to working for LDWF, Stroede spent five years as a union laborer with Laborers’ Locals 464 and 2 working gas/oil pipeline construction in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Louisiana. During that time, he worked as an environmental compliance laborer and straw boss.

In his role as conservation manager, Stroede will support the Director of Conservation & Community Outreach by working closely with wildlife resource conservation staff, local officials and union volunteers to identify, organize and execute USA conservation projects across the country. He will also develop and evolve the USA’s conservation programs and policies, funding sources, partnerships and volunteer recruitment and retention programs.

“As we celebrate the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s 10th anniversary and look toward the future, we are committed to growing our conservation impact by expanding the scope of our Work Boots on the Ground program and connecting more local communities to conservation through outreach events,” said Scott Vance, the USA’s CEO and executive director. “With his background in union construction, conservation, program development and management and outreach, Stroede makes a great addition to our conservation team and will help propel that expansion.”

Born and raised in a union household in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, Stroede is an avid fisherman and hunter with a passion for bow hunting. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Resource Management/Biology. He currently lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife, Jessica, and 12-year-old son, Jackson.

Stroede can be reached at roberts@unionsportsmen.org.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Hosts Family Campout at Montgomery Bell State Park

June 20, 2017 in Conservation News, General, Press Release

More than 200 youth and adults turned out for a weekend packed with outdoor activities at the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) first Family Campout at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, Tenn., on June 10 and 11.

According to the Outdoor Foundation’s study on youth participation in the outdoors, the U.S. is facing an unprecedented public health and conservation problem as the American childhood has rapidly moved indoors amidst changing technological and social landscapes. Reconnecting youth with the outdoors is critical to the health of future generations as well as the health of our natural landscapes.

The USA’s Family Campout engaged both youth and adults in hands-on activities including a youth fishing derby, wildlife calling contest, snake and birds of prey exhibition and conservation education. Many youth got the chance to shoot a bow for the first time thanks to a mobile archery unit provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Participants also enjoyed delicious meals, and youth received fishing gear and t-shirts.

The free, public event was made possible with support from the Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, Pure Fishing, Montgomery Bell State Park and the TWRA. Nashville BCTC President Anthony Nicholson and Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council President Billy Dycus were instrumental in the success of the event from promotion to volunteer recruitment to coordination.

“As we grow our community outreach programs, we want to create fun, safe learning environments that enable families to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors,” said Scott Vance, CEO & Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Our first Family Campout at Montgomery Bell State Park accomplished just that. We’re thrilled to have brought together more than 200 youth and adults for activities that will leave a lasting impression and inspire a love of the great outdoors.”

Less than an hour drive west of Nashville, Montgomery Bell State Park has been the site of several USA Work Boots on the Ground projects, which bring together union volunteers to tackle conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, wildlife habitats and outdoor experiences for communities across America. In 2013, USA volunteers rebuilt a bridge at the park that was washed away in the 2010 flood, and in 2015, they restored a cabin utilized by local Boy Scouts that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937.

Click HERE for more photos.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance to Host Family Campout at Montgomery Bell State Park

June 7, 2017 in Press Release

MEDIA ADVISORY

WHAT:
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and a team of union volunteers will host a free family campout at Tennessee’s Montgomery Bell State Park packed with outdoor activities including a youth fishing derby, wildlife calling contest, snake and birds of prey exhibition and conservation education. Meals will be provided, and youth will receive free t-shirts and fishing gear while supplies last.

WHEN:
June 10 – 11, 2017
Check in: June 10 at 9 a.m.
Check out: June 11 at Noon

WHERE:
Montgomery Bell State Park
Group Camp No. 1
1020 Jackson Hill Rd.
Burns, TN  37029

WHO:
This free, public event is made possible by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council, Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council, Pure Fishing, Montgomery Bell State Park and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

WHY:  
According to the Outdoor Foundation’s study on youth participation in the outdoors, the U.S. is facing an unprecedented public health and conservation problem as the American childhood has rapidly moved indoors amidst changing technological and social landscapes. Reconnecting youth with the outdoors is critical to the health of future generations as well as the health of our natural landscapes. The USA’s Family Campout will engage both youth and adults in hands-on outdoor activities that leave a lasting impression and inspire a love of the outdoors to help ensure the future of America’s outdoor heritage.

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Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance  (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union  community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

USA and Kentucky American Water Dedicate New Pier with Ribbon Cutting & Family Fishing Day

May 16, 2017 in Conservation News, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Franklin, TN — More than 180 youth wet their lines at a fishing event at Jacobson Park in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 13 hosted by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Kentucky American Water to celebrate the park’s volunteer-constructed fishing pier, which was dedicated on May 12.

The new handicap accessible/ADA compliant pier and sidewalk, valued at more than $33,500, was a joint effort between the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) program and the American Water Charitable Foundation’s (AWCF) Building Better Communities Initiative. The pier is one of six projects funded through a $150,000 grant from AWCF to support USA volunteer projects that improve access to water-based recreation activities.

Union volunteers from the National Conference of Fireman and Oilers (NCFO) Local 32BJ SEIU, Central Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) and Laborers Local 189 donated approximately 414 hours to excavate and form the site, pour concrete, assemble the pier sections and install handrails, wrapping up the project in December 2016.

On Friday, USA, Kentucky American Water and Lexington Parks and Recreation staff along with union volunteers gathered under a pavilion, due to heavy rain, to dedicate the fishing pier with a speaking presentation, ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling.

“The ribbon cutting marked the completion of the fourth project the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance completed with funding from American Water Charitable Foundation,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance. “USA conservation projects and accompanying community outreach events like the free family fishing day allow union members to give back to their local communities – something they are passionate about.”

On Saturday morning, youth and adults from across the community lined the banks of Jacobson Park reservoir to cast for channel catfish and trout with new fishing rods and reels, tackle and tackle boxes provided free to all the kids who attended through the USA’s partnership with Pure Fishing. USA, Kentucky American Water and Lexington Park and Recreation staff along with volunteers from Kentucky Laborers’ District Council and LIUNA Local 189 provided instruction and assistance to participants, including many first-time anglers.

As the USA celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it is nearing its 100th WBG project. The WBG program brings together skilled union volunteers to tackle community-based conservation projects that improve public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitats, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The fishing event at Jacobson Park marked the USA’s 15th youth fishing event and the first in Kentucky.

“Kentucky American Water is committed not only to providing safe, clean drinking water to its customers but also to being a good corporate citizen,” said Nick Rowe, president of Kentucky American Water and senior vice president of American Water’s Southeast Division. “We appreciate the unique partnership we’ve had with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, the American Water Charitable Foundation and our employees in making the new fishing pier at Jacobson Park a reality and hosting the Kentucky Fishing Derby. Our collaboration will have a positive impact on the community for many years to come.”

“The new pier provides safe and easy access for citizens with handicaps and families to enjoy the fishing available at Jacobson Park,” said Brian Rogers, deputy director of Parks and Rec, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. “We are so thankful to the USA, Kentucky American Water and the union volunteers who donated their time and skills to complete the project and organize the event that introduced families throughout Lexington to the joy of fishing.”

Speakers at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony:
Mike d’Oliveira, USA Deputy Director
Nick Rowe, President of Kentucky American Water
Michelle Kosieniak, Lexington Parks and Recreation Superintendent of Planning & Design
Jeremy Jenkins, Business Manager of Laborers Local 189
David Winer, Chief Union Steward for National Conference of Firemen & Oilers Local 32BJ SEIU
Robert Akin, Central Kentucky Building & Construction Trades Council President
Mark Isaacs, Kentucky Laborers’ District Council President/Business Manager

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT.

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Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Work Boots on the Ground (WBG): Work Boots on the Ground is the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.

Kentucky American Water:Kentucky American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately half a million people. The company earned Best Place to Work in Kentucky honors in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. For more information, visit www.kentuckyamwater.com.

American Water Charitable Foundation:Established in 2010 with a founding contribution from American Water, the American Water Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a formal way to demonstrate the company’s ongoing commitment to being a good neighbor, citizen, and contributor to the communities where American Water and its employees live, work and operate. The Foundation helps support American Water employee-identified nonprofit endeavors. More information can be found at www.amwater.com.

Competition & Camaraderie Through the Years

April 6, 2017 in General, Press Release

The 6th Annual Roofers & Waterproofers Shoot set an attendance record with 228 shooters.

By: Kate Nation

USA Events connect union leadership, like retired IAMAW International President R. Thomas Buffenbarger (front) with members.

When we held our first sporting clays shoot in Maryland in 2009, 152 shooters were chased to the pavilion by a torrential downpour. Instead of dampening spirits, it set the bar for the USA’s highly successful events program. Whether the sun is out, it’s pouring rain, the wind is blowing or there’s snow on the ground, union members show up at our shooting events for fellowship and fun. Bringing together everyone from veteran to novice shooters, union presidents to apprentices, retirees to children, service members and the occasional Super Bowl champion, shoots are one of our most effective tools for uniting the union community and fundraising.

In 2013, the USA shooting tour raised more than $1 million, and it has continued to grow. New records set last year include most funds raised (single event) at the Boilermakers’ shoot in Kansas City with $159,000 and highest attendance (single event) at the Roofers’ shoot in Minnesota with 228 shooters.

The Des Moines Area Conservation Dinner raised the bar in 2016 with 663 guests and raised $148,000.

The introduction of conservation dinners in 2012 bolstered the USA’s events program not only as a critical funding source, but also as a foundation for USA’s local conservation projects. Organized by union volunteers with support from USA staff, the dinners are a true testament to the dedication of USA members and volunteers. The conservation dinner season broke the $1 million milestone in 2015, and the program has grown from three dinners in 2012 to 22 dinners in 2016. Last year, the Des Moines dinner hosted 663 guests and raised a record $148,000.

As staples in the USA community, shoots and dinners raise critical funds to support our mission and operations while educating union members about the organization and recruiting volunteers for conservation projects. The growth of USA events in the past eight years has been nothing short of amazing thanks to our members, volunteers, sponsors and friends.

Union Members Volunteer to Tackle Conservation Infrastructure Crisis

April 3, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Kate Nation

Watching Old Faithful blast boiling water more than 150 feet into the air at Yellowstone National Park or listening to the thunderous roar of 3,160 tons of water per second pouring over Niagara Falls State Park are experiences you will never forget. If you haven’t visited America’s first national park or oldest state park, there is still a good chance you’ve spent time exploring one or more of America’s 59 national parks or 6,624 state parks. The U.S. national system of parks is the envy of the world and part of our national heritage, yet it’s easy to take for granted the natural beauty, diverse wildlife and recreational opportunities those parks provide without giving thought to the impact of more than a billion annual visits.

America’s National Park Service turned 100 years old last August. While that is reason to celebrate, we must face the reality that the infrastructure of our national and state parks is deteriorating faster than it can be fixed. For more than a decade, Congress has declined to provide adequate funding for national park infrastructure, resulting in a $12 billion maintenance backlog. State parks face a similar funding crisis – $18.5 billion in unmet repairs – as spending on education, health care and corrections takes priority over “nice-to-have” amenities.

For the public to enjoy the natural beauty of America’s parks, they require roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, buildings, trails and other infrastructure. Putting off basic maintenance leads to bigger, costlier repairs in the future and steadily degrades the parks and visitor experience.

As a newly-formed Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable works to ensure recreation is included in infrastructure legislation, union members are battling the crisis on the ground through the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) program, demonstrating the centuries-old American spirit of rolling up one’s sleeves to solve the country’s problems.

Last year, 863 union volunteers donated nearly 6,800 skilled man-hours to complete 18 USA conservation projects in 15 states, saving state parks, wildlife refuges and other public land agencies a whopping $210,910 in labor costs.

For the first time this year, Wyoming’s National Elk Refuge has a central and secure facility to store thousands of pounds of dropped elk antlers – an important funding source both for the refuge and local Boy Scouts – thanks to volunteers from IBEW Local 322 who built the 20×26-ft. storage shed.

“We had these skilled tradesmen working alongside a Boy Scout, who was getting his Eagle Scout honor by participating in this project, alongside refuge staff,” said Natalie Fath, visitor services manager and volunteer coordinator at the National Elk Refuge. “This is really the first time this refuge has had a project this dynamic. I certainly have a better sense of the expertise union workers bring to federal lands. This project would not have been possible … if not for all of their involvement.”

That same level of teamwork and collaboration was illustrated in Texas last spring when the USA, AFL-CIO, U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined together to dedicate a boardwalk connecting the city of Liberty with the nearby Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. Built by volunteers from the Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council who spent a grueling 950 hours battling heat, mud and mosquitos in the swamp, the 500-ft. elevated boardwalk and observation deck provide refuge visitors with access to more than 13 miles of trails and a more intimate view of the bayou.

“This project is a success story about how partnerships among agencies, communities and volunteers working together can accomplish great things,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southwest Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle, Ph. D.

Through a partnership between the USA and Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, volunteers from the Southcentral Alaska Building and Construction Trades Council began construction in 2016 on two cabins at the headwaters of Eklutna Lake in Chugach State Park – the third-largest state park in the nation. Unlike existing cabins, which are only reachable by foot, ATV or boat, the new drive-up accessible cabins will provide greater access for families with young children and people with disabilities.

At another lake in the Lower Forty Eight, 44 volunteers from the Ohio AFL-CIO volunteered an impressive 1,255 total hours – an average of 30 hours each – to replace dilapidated decking, railing and benches on a fishing pier at Ohio’s Antrim Park. Volunteers also installed a section of railing at a lower height to improve fishing access for youth and those with physical limitations.

In other parks and public recreation areas across the country, volunteer projects ranged from repairing horse stables and paddocks, painting Boy Scouts cabins, replacing windows, installing fishing piers and upgrading shooting facilities.

In addition to construction and maintenance projects, USA volunteers provided youth with fun and instruction at three annual Take Kids Fishing Day events in Wisconsin, a first time fishing day in West Virginia and the USA’s annual Get Youth Outdoors Day in Minnesota.

As we celebrate the USA’s 10th anniversary this year, we are closing in on our 100th WBG project. Since WBG’s launch, dedicated union volunteers have donated more than 18,000 hours, worth more than $600,000 in labor costs, and we are just getting started. Though dark clouds may loom over parks faced with financial crisis, union members offer a ray of hope as they flex their muscles and wield their tools to ensure America’s public lands and outdoor recreation infrastructure remain for generations to come.

Q&A with a Union Leader – International President Kinsey Robinson

March 31, 2017 in General, Press Release

 

How did the USA peak your interest a decade ago?
Since the concept was first discussed, I have had a keen interest in the idea of a dedicated sportsmen’s organization solely for union members and their families. In 2002, a handful of concerned union leaders began to recognize that they had a responsibility to members that went well beyond traditional collective bargaining. They understood that 74 percent of union members hunt, fish and recreate in the outdoors and that as leaders, they had an obligation to demonstrate to those members that their unions appreciate and support what they do in their off-work hours.

How does the USA benefit your members?
The USA allows Roofers and Waterproofers to connect with like-minded members from other union organizations. Our members actively participate in the shooting tour, conservation dinners and conservation projects, and they enjoy the benefits provided through the magazine and “Brotherhood Outdoors.” Lastly, because we are a charter union, we enjoy the benefit of no-cost membership.

In just 10 short years, what USA accomplishments give you the most pride?
There are so many, many things that give me a sense of pride about the USA. It would be impossible to address them all. The fact that the organization has grown from a small group of concerned union sportsmen to more than 225,000 members is a source of great satisfaction to me. These numbers demonstrate the importance of the USA in the lives of union members. We have seen an outpouring of volunteerism because union members understand the value of conservation and giving back to their communities. It makes me proud that union members are willing to take up the challenge of protecting and restoring our natural environment.

What are your fondest memories from the last decade?
I have fond memories of participating in both shooting events and conservation dinners – seeing the enthusiasm generated by hundreds of union brothers and sisters sharing in their outdoor passion. It has been an honor for me to meet and engage members I would have not met if it were not for the USA and these great events.

Based on what you’ve observed over the last 10 years, why should union members join the USA?
During the next 10 years, the USA will see fantastic growth in membership and status. It will be recognized as one of the most potent forces in the conservation movement. There will be more involvement from rank-and-file members as they are becoming increasingly anxious about the impact that human activity will have on our precious natural resources and that their hunting and fishing opportunities can be permanently diminished. They understand that the investment of time and money to protect our landscape and wildlife will be a cost-effective investment in America. The USA is a way for union members to band together to harness the collective power of unions in order to protect wildlife and the environment. When we begin the process of restoring America’s land and water, restoration projects will provide good jobs, employing American workers – jobs that can’t be out-sourced to foreign countries. Our quality of life as union sportsmen and women is directly connected to the survival of fish and wildlife.

You and your wife, Mona, have directly affected thousands of people through the USA. Why is this so important to the Robinson family?
Mona and I are avid outdoors sportspersons. We spend the majority of our leisure time hunting, fishing and target shooting. We have a strong wish to pass on our great outdoor traditions to the young people in our community and throughout the country. The USA has given us an avenue to do just that through the many shooting events it puts on and the annual USA/Roofers Union “Get Youth Outdoors Day,” which is an event held in Minnesota that brings youth from union families together for a hands-on introduction to the shooting sports. The kids learn about hunter and firearm safety and how to shoot a compound bow. The experience of seeing young men and women laughing and smiling while learning about safety, responsibility, wildlife and the environment is priceless. Compliments from the parents and the enduring friendships we have made are most gratifying for us. It has been a gift to Mona and me to have the opportunity to mentor young people in the shooting sports. It is imperative to us that we share our outdoor heritage and do all we can to make sure future generations will always have access to a place to hunt, fish and enjoy the great outdoors.

Raising an Organization – USA Celebrates 10 Years

March 31, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Kate Nation

As I wavered on the thin line between consciousness and falling asleep on my feet during one of my 6-month-old daughter’s nighttime crying fits, I found myself comparing the rearing of a child with establishing an organization. When I was hired in January 2007, the newly formed Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) was six months shy of opening its doors to members, and I was the third person on staff. The USA has changed a lot since then. While ample planning, expert advice, partnerships, research and examples can bring a lot to the table, so much of establishing and growing an organization comes down to trial and error and learning and adapting as you go, much like the rollercoaster ride of parenting

Much like children, an organization can grow up fast. Shoots and conservation dinners were not part of the USA’s early vision, but from the very first USA sporting clays shoot in June 2009, there was no denying the power of events in creating a sense of community among members. By 2010, the USA had a full-scale shooting program, and 2011 saw the introduction of a custom USA truck and trailer for transporting gear to events across the country. With the success of the shooting program, the USA tested the waters in 2012 with its first three conservation dinners and quickly tripled that number in 2013. Not only have these events become a staple within the USA community, they serve as significant fundraisers for the organization. In 2013, the USA grossed more than $1 million through shooting events, while USA conservation dinners broke that threshold in 2015.

The original vision for the USA was to be a one-of-a-kind club exclusively for union members and their families that hunt, shoot, fish and enjoy the outdoors. The concept was pretty simple: deliver value-added benefits away from the jobsite to union members who were passionate about the outdoors. With contests, giveaways, a dynamic website and TV show, it was an exciting, social program of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP).

Just shy of its third birthday, the USA experienced its most significant change. In order to better meet the needs of the union world with its own vision and mission, the leadership of the USA made the decision to separate from the TRCP in early 2010 to blaze a new trail as a stand-alone conservation organization.
For me and other staff, it was both an exciting and tense time as the USA experienced the growing pains that came with learning to stand on our own. Armed with a solid foundation, committed union leadership, a growing membership base and strong partnerships, the USA grew into the organization it is today. Our mission: “To unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.”

The USA continued to deliver value to its growing number of members and, recognizing a unique opportunity to tap into the diverse trade skills of union members, the USA launched its Work Boots on the Ground program in 2010. The objective of the program was to bring together union members who were willing to donate their time and talents to tackle hands-on, community-based conservation projects throughout North America. Thanks to a multitude of union volunteers, the USA completed an impressive 88 projects between 2010 and 2016 that improve public access to the outdoors, restore America’s parks, enhance wildlife habitats and mentor youth in the outdoors. In July 2014, the strength of the program led to a Memorandum of Understanding between the USA, AFL-CIO and Department of the Interior stating their collective commitment to rebuild, renew and restore our country’s national parks, national wildlife refuges and other public lands. As part of that partnership, the USA completed its largest conservation project to date in 2016 – the construction of a 500-ft.-long elevated boardwalk in the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. Nearing its one hundredth Work Boots on the Ground project, there is no doubt the USA has found an effective niche and brought the strength of the labor community to benefit conservation and our great outdoor heritage.

“I didn’t really expect much when I joined,” said Clayton Bolton, a member of IAMAW LL946/DL725 and one of the USA’s earliest members. “On the surface, it appeared to be a social group for union members that liked to hunt and fish. While it was pretty cool in the beginning just to be able to communicate and share with like-minded members scattered across the country, today’s USA involvement in community services and conservation efforts is beyond astounding.”

The USA has also seen a lot of change in its membership structure as it worked to strike a balance between growing membership and providing the greatest value to members. In addition to adjusting membership over the years, the USA executed a variety of recruitment campaigns including national giveaways, refer-a-friend campaigns, direct mail, events and more.

“The one thing I never expected is that the USA would be able to offer no-cost memberships to union workers belonging to charter unions,” said Roofers International President and USA Treasurer Kinsey Robinson. “This event has been a game changer, allowing every member of a charter union to join the USA without a financial burden.”

Though not every technique worked, and the changes were rarely easy, the USA has grown tremendously from March 2009 when it achieved its ten thousandth member. Today, the USA continues to grow and has more than 225,000 members.

“When I first heard about the USA, I was very excited there was finally an outdoor sportsmen’s organization for union members exclusively,” said Wess Ringgold, a member of UA Local 602 who joined the USA in 2007. “The extent of how fast the USA has grown in the last 10 years in mind boggling. What has surprised me is how many things union members can be involved in: conservation, gun-a-week calendars, USA shoots, Photo of the Week, conservation dinners and ‘Brotherhood Outdoors.’”

While the USA was fortunate to have a television presence from the beginning thanks to its union and corporate sponsors, the TV series has seen its own evolution since 2007. From changes in the production company, network, format and the very name of the program from “Escape to the Wild” to “Brotherhood Outdoors” in 2011, the USA has continually shared the compelling stories of hardworking union sportsmen and women with the American public. Those efforts led to a coveted Sportsman’s Choice Award for top hunting and fishing combination show in 2011.

“‘Brotherhood Outdoors’ has provided a great service to the Union community by selecting members (including me) for trips,” said Eric Patrick, business manager of IBEW Local 196 and longtime USA member. “The USA has educated the non-union community on the benefit of being a union member with the stories delivered on the series. They have basically put a face with a name.”

Like the TV series, the USA’s website, which went live the day the USA opened its doors, and the Union Sportsmen’s Journal, which began as a newspaper in 2009, were part of the USA’s early multimedia plan which connects thousands of USA members who may never meet face-to-face through engaging stories.

Like a parent, you can influence what a new organization will grow into, but to some extent, it takes on a life of its own. You have to be able and willing to adapt for it to flourish. It’s hard to believe that in January 2007, the USA was just an idea and a check for $1.2 million presented by nine unions as seed money. A decade later, it truly is a one-of-a-kind organization that not only connects the union community outside the workplace, but also boldly demonstrates what can be accomplished by volunteer union members to help preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

As we celebrate the USA’s tenth birthday this year, we extend our deepest thanks to you – union leadership and members, corporate partners and friends – for your steadfast support through all the ups and downs. Your hard work, sacrifice, financial support and dedication have made the USA one of America’s premier outdoor organizations, and we hope you will join us in shaping the next 10 years.

Electrical Worker Wins Trophy Hunt

March 28, 2017 in General, Press Release

Last fall, Dan Weber, a retired member of IBEW Local 34, won a trophy white-tailed deer hunt from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and Sqwincher, a provider of hydration solutions for those in the field and on the worksite.

“You’re kidding me!” Weber exclaimed as Mike d’Oliveira, USA’s deputy director, let him know he won. “I’m not that lucky.”

That call was just the beginning of Weber’s journey. Shortly after, he received his gear for the hunt – a Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter FX muzzleloader and a Carhartt Rugged Outdoors Buckfield jacket and pants set. Then, on Dec. 3, he boarded the plane for Buffalo County, Wisconsin – the world’s top county for Pope & Young whitetails – where he spent five days at the Bluff Country Outfitters hunting lodge. Pat and Nicole Reeve, hosts of the TV show “Driven” on the Outdoor Channel, guided Weber on the hunt.

While searching for a trophy buck, the hunting party had to contend with the unseasonably warm weather which had the deer taking refuge deep in the woods. They spotted a few smaller bucks throughout the week, but no trophies. The last day of the hunt brought snow and cold air, but the glimmer of hope was short-lived as heavy winds reaching speeds of 25 to 30 miles per hour soon followed, and once again, the big bucks stayed out of sight. Although Weber didn’t harvest a buck, he said the experience was one he’ll never forget. He’s even considering going back to lodge for a family vacation.

“I’ve thought about taking my wife and going there this summer just to spend time at the lodge again,” he said.

“We take it for granted,” said Pat Reeve, speaking about the hunting opportunities he and his wife have as TV hosts. “People who are electricians or work in other skilled trades don’t often get out into the field as much as we do, so when they do have the opportunity, they generally appreciate it that much more.”

Weber was an active member of his union for 47 years and still attends Local 34’s meetings to keep in touch with his union brothers and sisters. That kind of dedication is exactly what the USA and Sqwincher were hoping to reward.

“Partners like Sqwincher understand how hard our union brothers and sisters work,” said d’Oliveira. “Their generosity adds so much value to our organization and helps us show our members that we care deeply about their outdoor passion.”

USA Volunteers Renovate Oak Mountain Horse Barn

March 22, 2017 in General, Press Release

For years, Alabama State Parks have been unable to afford many necessary repairs and updates. To offer support, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) volunteers recently renovated a horse barn at Oak Mountain State Park, transforming a structure that had fallen into disrepair into a potential increased revenue source for the park.

While state parks often provide a first point of access for many to the outdoors, from 2011 to 2015, the Alabama State Parks saw $15 million from their budget transferred to other government programs. As a result, numerous upkeep projects were suspended, five parks closed and others were forced to limit their services and hours of operation.

Even Oak Mountain, Alabama’s largest state park, with more than 500,000 visitors annually, has been forced to contend with a budget and continually postpone infrastructure repairs, such as those required for the four barns near the front of the park.

“For years, we would come up with maintenance projects, and then the general fund would take millions from the state parks,” said David Johnson, office superintendent, Oak Mountain. “That would drastically affect what we could do, so things like the stables got put to the side every year.”

Furthermore, the barns could help to offset park operating costs. Oak Mountain currently boards 18 horses for a monthly rate of $450 each and has the potential to board eight more with the new renovations.

It was after the USA’s 2nd Annual Alabama Conservation Dinner in September, held to raise funds for a local project, that Patrick Cagle, president of the JobKeepers Alliance, spoke with state park officials and identified the barn renovations as one their most pressing needs. With the support of Bren Riley, president of the Alabama AFL-CIO, and Donald Stanley, president of the Alabama BCTC and business manager for Insulators Local 78, the dinner brought together 200 attendees and energized the union community to volunteer to improve outdoor access for their fellow Alabamians and out-of-state visitors.

One of the dinner attendees, Craig Francis, apprenticeship and training coordinator at Insulators Local 78, volunteered to serve as the project manager and encouraged his apprentices to lend a hand, as well.

“I consistently preach to our apprentices the importance of contributing to the community,” said Francis. “In the past, we’ve helped clean up areas damaged by tornadoes, and this project at Oak Mountain seemed like another great opportunity to aid the wider Alabama community.”

More than 40 volunteers began work on Nov. 26 and replaced the siding, built and installed new Dutch doors and set new fence posts for the paddocks. In addition to Francis and numerous apprentices, Glenn Welden, president of Insulators Local 78, and Ricky Aaron, another apprenticeship instructor, also assisted with the renovations, and several employees from Oak Mountain helped run the auger to dig holes for the fence posts.

“Our state park system is heavily dependent on the support of our partners, volunteers and the communities where we exist,” said Greg Lein, director, Alabama State Parks. “It’s organizations like the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Alabama AFL-CIO and Alabama Building and Construction Trades Council giving their time and talents that really make parks like Oak Mountain such a great success.”

From the Director’s Desk: A Milestone for Union Sportsmen

March 16, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Scott Vance, CEO & Executive Director, Union Sportsmen’s Alliance

What do you think of when someone says “a decade?” Most of us probably think of our own lives and how fast the years have gone by. I can certainly relate as my beard has turned gray and at least a portion of my hair has turned loose over these past 10 years! The most significant event in my entire life happened just 10 years ago when I became a dad. A decade used to seem like a long, long time to me, but as I’ve put more decades in my log book, they now seem shorter than ever.

The renowned iPhone was released just 10 years ago. YouTube was launched in late 2006 and now houses nearly 82 million videos. Ten years ago, Facebook was made available to anyone over the age of 13 and now has 1.8 billion users. Ten years, ago Miley Cyrus was still Hannah Montana. And last, but certainly not least, just 10 short years ago, several visionary union labor leaders and conservationists announced that they were forming a group called the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) that would unite labor unions all across this great nation for conservation and the preservation of our outdoor heritage.

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been 10 short years since our union leaders teamed with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) to form what is now a thriving and influential conservation organization. In those ten years, a tremendous amount has happened. The USA has grown from a sportsmen’s club into a true conservation powerhouse that makes a difference in hundreds of thousands of lives each year through our Work Boots on the Ground and youth outreach programs. Each year, thousands of union members come to connect and enjoy USA dinners and sporting clays shoots that help drive our conservation efforts. The USA has also grown into a permanent, self-sustaining non-profit which no longer requires the support of TRCP, but it still strongly values the partnership and relationships we’ve built together.

I am still very much a rookie with the USA, but in my few months on the team I find myself constantly awed and energized by the overarching concept and untapped potential. Uniting patriotic, tireless union members through conservation and for conservation leaves a legacy that will live on long after we all are gone. We put to work the innovation, knowledge, determination and drive of a labor community that has a resilient and an undying dedication to the progress and success of this country. We are connected by shared skills, bound by a common purpose, and united by a passion to leave things better than we found them. Harnessing the power of our labor unions and putting that energy to work for conservation was not only visionary, but it also has the potential to be the most influential thing to happen for conservation in a very long time.

In a few months we will complete our one hundredth Work Boots on the Ground project. What a testament this milestone project is to the men and women who volunteer their time, skills and resources to help others enjoy the outdoors. Started in 2010, the Work Boots on the Ground program has improved access to millions of acres of wild places and connected thousands of people to the outdoors. Our goal is to not only continue these vitally important conservation infrastructure projects, but to substantially grow them over the next several years. As state and federal agency budgets continue to shrink, the USA will become even more important to building and sustaining the vital infrastructures of our parks, wildlife management areas and public waters.

We are also focused on growing our community outreach programs. We want to create a fun and safe learning environment that not only allows you, and your family, to spend more time enjoying the outdoors, but also unites a community around conservation, labor and outdoor heritage. USA members tell us that three things are vitally important to them when it comes to the outdoors. First, they want to spend more time in the outdoors with family and friends. Secondly, they want to have more places to hunt, fish, shoot, camp, boat and recreate outdoors and they want quality experiences when they do these things. And, finally, they want to pass along this vitally important outdoor heritage to the next generation. The USA wants to build programs and events that do all of these things. We will need your input, ideas and, most importantly, your energy to help us grow the next generation of conservation leaders and the next chapter for the USA. The time to change the future of conservation is now, and I know that together we are up for that challenge.

I am enthusiastic, excited and a little impatient to see what the next 10 years hold for our organization and our great nation. I am honored and humbled to be a part of something so wonderful and with so much potential, and I can’t wait to be part of it with you and your family as our partners.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance inks MOU with Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever

March 10, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Jess Levens


The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever (PF/QF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday at a cosponsored breakfast at the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Spokane, Washington.

The partnership will last through March 7, 2020, and allows the organizations to team up on conservation and habitat projects, mentored hunts, volunteer training and education.

The USA is a non-profit conservation group created by and for union members and their families. What makes the USA truly unique is that it harnesses the power of expertly-trained union volunteers who put their professional skills to use by tackling projects that create or improve public access to the outdoors, improve wildlife habitats, mentor youth in the outdoors and restore America’s parks, which are in disrepair and backlogged by tens of billions of dollars. The USA also raises funds that cover materials and equipment through local conservation dinners, sporting clays and trap shoots, plus a new fishing tournament program.

USA’s CEO & Executive Director Scott Vance and PF/QF’s President and CEO Howard Vincent signing MOU

PF/QF will lend its expertise in wildlife biology and habitat conservation to identify collaborative opportunities and set the USA’s massive, expert volunteer workforce in motion.

“We are honored to partner with Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever as we collaboratively mobilize our volunteer work force to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and our next generation of conservationists,” said Scott Vance, USA’s CEO and executive director. “Their willingness to partner with our union sportsmen ultimately helps both organizations do more for conservation.”

Like the USA, PF/QF is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization driven by its conservation mission. This like-mindedness will help all involved ease into the partnership as we focus on hunter recruitment, retention and activation, as well as habitat conservation through infrastructure and prescribed burning, said Vance.

“The recipe to create wildlife habitat in 2017 is to build bigger partnerships and engage larger groups of people,” said Howard Vincent, PF/QF’s president and CEO. “I am thrilled to formally welcome the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance to the prairies, fields and banquet halls where our organization works to create habitat for pheasants, quail, pollinators, monarchs and hunters. Together as partners, we can all do more for wildlife and our hunting heritage.”

AFL-CIO President and USA Chairman Richard L. Trumka, an avid sportsman and conservationist, said he is proud of this partnership and eager to see the future results.

“It gives me great pride to see the USA join forces with Pheasants Forever, a respected conservation organization,” said Trumka. “The USA has completed 88 high-impact conservation projects since 2010, and those are just the beginning of what we can do with strategic partnerships with other non-government organizations. I believe USA is poised to make a greater impact in communities across this nation than ever before.”

This partnership comes on the heels of a similar MOU signed between the USA and angling giant Pure Fishing, Inc., last month.

“By teaming with like-minded partners, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is expanding not only our conservation footprint, but also our ability to connect our union members and their families to the outdoors,” said Vance.

About Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever: Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 149,000 members and 720 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $708 million on 517,000 habitat projects benefiting 15.8 million acres nationwide.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Adds to Leadership Team

March 8, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Kate Nation

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) has hired Brian Dowler to be its new director of membership, marketing and communications, as well as Forrest Parker as its new director of conservation and community outreach.

Created by and dedicated to union members and their families, the non-profit conservation organization is escalating its conservation efforts, partnerships and memberships and expanding internally to keep pace.

“The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is more focused than ever on uniting the union community through conservation,” said Scott Vance, the USA’s CEO and executive director. “We are committed to growing our conservation impact through partnerships, volunteer empowerment and good old union ingenuity. We look to greatly expand the scope of our Work Boots on the Ground program in the coming years and also connect more local communities to conservation through family and youth outreach events.”

Brian Dowler

Brian Dowler

Dowler served as the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) director of membership marketing and industry partnerships. In his nearly 13 years working for the NWTF, Dowler handled the organization’s direct mail and digital marketing efforts, helping grow NWTF’s adult membership and non-event fundraising revenue. He also managed the organization’s relationships with endemic retail and affinity partners. Prior to his role in marketing, Dowler served NWTF’s members through its communications efforts as public relations manager.

Dowler hopes to increase membership value proposition through new benefits and affinity partnerships, bring greater awareness to the USA’s good work for conservation and create stronger relationships with endemic partners and USA members.

“Brian brings a diverse history in non-profit membership acquisition and retention, direct fundraising and communications,” said Vance. “Our charter unions and labor partners have done tremendous things for conservation over the past decade, and we believe Brian can bring a new dimension to our organization. We are happy to welcome him to the team.”

Dowler, a passionate hunter, angler and recreational shooter, hails from Parkersburg, West Virginia, and graduated from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. He currently lives with his wife, Rebecca, and daughter, Emily, in Martinez, Georgia.

In his role as director of conservation and community outreach, Parker will lead the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) conservation program and work to increase the reputations of unions in their local communities through youth outreach events, volunteer infrastructure projects and more. Parker plans to key in on new conservation partners – other non-profit and for-profit organizations – and select projects with highly tangible impact that will drive more community engagement.

Forrest Parker

Forrest Parker

“Forrest’s impressive background in conservation, project management and infrastructure construction make him extremely qualified to lead the charge for our conservation programs,” said Vance. “His passion for the outdoors and passing along our conservation heritage to the next generation drives him to constantly strive to connect more people to hunting, angling, shooting and other natural pursuits. He’s the perfect addition to our team to help connect more of our union members to an enlightening, healthy and rewarding outdoor experience.”

Parker, who enjoys adventure hunting worldwide, most recently served as the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority’s executive director of engineering. He spent the previous decade serving the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, where he created innovative, sustainable conservation programs and sportsmen-based revenue programs such as the Cherokee Trout Fishing Enterprise, which has a $24 million annual impact.  Parker’s volunteer experience includes serving as executive director for Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby, a founding member of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians and an advisor for the South Carolina Fellowship of Christian Athletes Annual Hank Parker Invitational Charity Shoot.

Parker earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management and policy from Western Carolina University and resides in his hometown of Cherokee, North Carolina, with his wife, Amy, and two daughters, Faith and Reagan.

The USA harnesses the power of expertly-trained union volunteers who put their professional skills to use by tackling projects that create or improve public access to the outdoors, improve wildlife habitats, mentor youth in the outdoors and restore America’s parks, which are in disrepair and backlogged by tens of billions of dollars. Vance said the additions of Dowler and Parker will undoubtedly help the USA build a strong reputation as a conservation powerhouse and grow its membership of 225,000-plus union members and their families.

Both Dowler and Parker have begun work at the USA and can be reached at briand@unionsportsmen.org and forrestp@unionsportsmen.org respectively.

Union Volunteers Refurbish Cedar Hill State Park Facilities, Provide Training for At-Risk Youth

March 2, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Kate Nation

As Texas state parks struggle with hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance, union members in the Dallas-Fort Worth area volunteered their time and unique trade skills on Feb. 24 and 25 through the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) program to refurbish safety railings at two scenic overlooks, install benches and paint a primitive restroom at Cedar Hill State Park.

Between prep and on-site work, 26 volunteers from the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 100 and Sprinkler Fitters Local 669, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 20, International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 21, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Job Corps and Morgan Stanley Investment Group, along with several family members, logged more than 197 hours to complete the projects. In addition to donating labor, union members raised the $2,334 needed for lumber and other materials at the USA’s Dallas-Fort Worth Area Conservation Dinner last year.

While improving the park, the project also provided hands-on training for four students from the IUPAT Job Corps, which gives at-risk and underprivileged youth academic and vocational training to prepare them for the job market.

“We enjoy the comradery of Union Sportsmen’s Alliance conservation projects,” said Texas State Building Trades President and UA Local 100 Business Manager Craig Berendzen, who led the projects. “Volunteering our time and skills makes us feel good and provides an avenue for us to get the message out that union members really care about their communities. Sometimes we are our best kept secret.”

Being so close to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and its more than six million residents, Cedar Hill State Park is an integral part of the community for outreach, interpretation, education and economic impact. It is also the site of the USA’s first state park project in 2013, which involved union volunteers reconstructing three dilapidated bridges.

“Since Work Boots on the Ground began in 2010, union volunteers have donated more than 18,000 hours and $600,000 in labor costs to improve access to wild places across the country and connect thousands of people to the outdoors,” said Scott Vance, USA CEO and executive director. “Our goal is to not only continue these vitally important conservation infrastructure projects, but to substantially grow them. As state and federal agency budgets continue to shrink, the USA is committed to helping build and sustain the vital infrastructures of our parks, wildlife management areas and public waters.”

Set in Stone: OPCMIA Cements Commitment to USA

March 1, 2017 in General, Press Release

By: Kate Nation

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is pleased to welcome the Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association (OPCMIA) as its newest charter union. Joining the ranks of the AFL-CIO, Building and Construction Trades Department and 14 labor unions, OPCMIA solidified its commitment to help the USA fulfill its conservation mission through valuable financial support and promotional resources.

Through their sponsorships, charter unions provide their members with the added benefit of a no-cost USA membership, which means active and retired OPCMIA members can now join the USA for no cost and get access to the USA’s digital magazine, promotions and giveaways, member-only discounts and more.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce that OPCMIA has joined the USA as a charter union,” said OPCMIA General President Daniel E. Stepano. “The USA unites union members who love the great outdoors and are willing to volunteer their unique trade skills to help protect our outdoor heritage for future generations. By organizing conservation dinners and shooting events across the country, the USA creates a unique atmosphere where all union members – from a young apprentice to a general president – can come together off the job site and bond over their passion for the outdoors and all the recreation it offers.”

Matt Gehris, OPCMIA Local 11, got his first turkey as a guest on "Brotherhood Outdoors."

Matt Gehris, OPCMIA Local 11, got his first turkey as a guest on “Brotherhood Outdoors.”

Boasting a longstanding relationship with the USA, OPCMIA members were involved in the USA’s very first hands-on conservation project in 2010 where union volunteers, including OPCMIA Local 599, assisted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with a white-tailed deer study. OPCMIA members also repaved a wheelchair accessible trail at Virginia’s York River State Park, replaced gravel with concrete in a picnic area at Iowa’s Lake Ahquabi State Park and assisted at the USA’s Take Kids Fishing Day events, among other conservation projects and USA events.

Each year, OPCMIA Locals 633 and 518 have teams at the USA’s Twin Cities and Kansas City sporting clays shoots, and OPCMIA locals have purchased tables at the USA’s Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle and Des Moines conservation dinners. Perhaps most notably, the USA’s television series, “Brotherhood Outdoors,” featured Matt Gehris, a member of OPCMIA Local 11, on his very first turkey hunt in 2013.

“As we celebrate the USA’s tenth anniversary, we are honored and very proud of the growing number of unions that have pledged their support to the USA’s conservation mission and provided their members who hunt, fish, shoot and recreate outdoors access to an organization they can call their own,” said USA CEO & Executive Director Scott Vance. “The USA is for unions, by unions, and partners like OPCMIA help keep the USA as strong and durable as the plaster and concrete its skilled members craft on the job site each and every day.”

USA, Pure Fishing Hook Up with New MOU

February 22, 2017 in Fishing, General, Press Release

Franklin, Tenn. – The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and angling product powerhouse Pure Fishing, Inc., have hooked up to improve the future of angling and conservation across America. To memorialize the partnership, the two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday in Washington D.C., that will last through March 8, 2020.

The purpose of the partnership is to work collaboratively on angler recruitment, retention and reactivation programs and events and jointly develop a national angler recruitment program that connects union and non-union families to the benefits of angling and the outdoors.

Ultimately, both organizations feel this partnership will help ensure a rich future of fishing in America. Pure Fishing produces more than 30,000 pieces of angling equipment, and its portfolio features some of the top brands in fishing. Through its strong volunteer workforce and support from its 17 affiliates and charter unions, the USA has completed nearly 100 volunteer projects and community outreach events since 2010.

“The USA’s dedicated union volunteers have already introduced thousands of families to the outdoors, with potential to reach many more,” said AFL-CIO President and USA Chairman Richard L. Trumka. “Partnerships with industry pace setters, such as Pure Fishing, are exactly what it will take to build these programs to a level that secures the future of angling, and hunting, in the United States.”

Scott Vance, USA’s CEO and executive director, said he feels strongly that this pairing is primed to make a major impact on people’s lives.

“We are very honored to have Pure Fishing as our partner as we expand our angling recruitment and retention programs nationwide,” said Vance. “Their brands represent some of the best outdoor products in the world, and their support will help us connect thousands of youth and their families to an outdoor pursuit that is healthy, fun and sustainable. This partnership will also help union members give back to their local communities in ways that enrich lives and natural resources for everyone.”

John Doerr, Pure Fishing’s president and CEO, also expressed great optimism about what can be accomplished with Pure Fishing’s experience and resources combined with the USA’s skilled labor force of more than 225,000 union members.

“We are excited about our new partnership with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, as it dovetails perfectly with existing Pure Fishing initiatives to protect and restore fishable waters and fish populations both today and in the future,” said Doerr. “We look forward to partnering with the hardworking men and women of the USA in their efforts to improve access to fisheries and provide education to ensure that current and future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the great sport of fishing.”

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About Pure Fishing, Inc.: Pure Fishing, Inc. is a leading global provider of fishing tackle, lures, rods and reels with a portfolio of brands that includes Abu Garcia®, All Star®, Berkley®, Chub®, Fenwick®, Greys®, Hardy®, Hodgman®, Johnson®, JRC®, Mitchell®, Penn®, Pflueger®, Sebile®, Shakespeare®, SpiderWire®, Stren®, and Ugly Stik®.

With operations in 19 countries and a dedicated workforce conversant in 28 languages, Pure Fishing, Inc. is a subsidiary of Newell Brands, Inc.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

USA Taps Rusted Rooster to Produce Brotherhood Outdoors

January 20, 2017 in Brotherhood Outdoors TV, General, Press Release

Jonathan Scaife, IAFF Local 3690, poses with his freshly-harvested white-tailed buck on the revamped Brotherhood Outdoors, which is now produced by Rusted Rooster Media.

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) has enlisted outdoor television powerhouse Rusted Rooster Media to take over production of Brotherhood Outdoors.

Brotherhood Outdoors is entering its ninth season with new episodes on Sportsman Channel beginning in July.

Rusted Rooster, founded and operated by brothers Chris and Casey Keefer, is the production house behind TV shows Sheep Shape and Dropped. The group will produce nine original episodes of Brotherhood Outdoors for the third and fourth quarters of 2017, and nine episodes in 2018. Rusted Rooster also works with industry giants such as Buck Knives, PSE and Winchester.

Brotherhood Outdoors takes real, hardworking, American union members – selected through an application process – on a hunting or fishing trip of a lifetime, while highlighting their home and work lives. The show gives viewers a look at everyday people on realistic excursions. The show also offers a glimpse of the USA’s conservation efforts, which are executed by an all-volunteer union labor force.

With 2017 marking the USA’s first decade, its leaders decided a big, bold move for Brotherhood Outdoors was in order.

“Television offers our organization a way to highlight our members’ dedication to their skills, their families and their hunting and angling passions,” said Scott Vance, executive director, USA. “Rusted Rooster has a proven track record in outdoor television production and a vision that, I believe, will elevate Brotherhood Outdoors to a new level of excellence in television.”

According to Chris Keefer, Brotherhood Outdoors will be more focused on the individual guest each episode in order to build a deeper personal connection and a more intimate outdoor experience for viewers. In its first eight seasons, the show had a traditional, host-driven format, but the Keefer brothers have plans that are refreshingly non-traditional.

Brotherhood Outdoors is such a unique concept,” said Chris Keefer. “We have high hopes and great things in store as we work to make each episode a personalized cinematic story for each guest. We really want viewers to identify with the people on the show and see quality hunting and fishing trips.”

Active and retired union members can apply to be on the show by submitting the online application at http://unionsportsmen.org/brotherhood-outdoors/be-on-the-show/.

Additional episodes of Brotherhood Outdoors can be viewed at www.myoutdoortv.com

About Rusted Rooster Media: Rusted Rooster Media is an award-winning production house based in Midland, MI. The creative team at “The Roost” is best known for their commitment to telling a great story, and their ability to mine out every last bit of human interest that can be found, from every angle.

Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel/Sportsman HD is a television and digital media company fully devoted to honoring a lifestyle that is celebrated by millions of Americans. A division of Outdoor Sportsman Group, Sportsman Channel delivers entertaining and informative programming that showcases outdoor adventure, hunting and fishing, and illustrates it through unique and authentic storytelling. Sportsman Channel embraces the attitude of “Red, Wild & Blue America” – where the American Spirit and Great Outdoors are celebrated in equal measure. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 36 million U.S. television households. Stay connected to Sportsman Channel online at thesportsmanchannel.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance partners with Flambeau Outdoors

September 6, 2016 in Press Release

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is proud to announce that it has partnered with Flambeau Outdoors – a longstanding industry leader in hunting and fishing storage, as well as decoys and hunting calls.brand-outdoors

“It is an honor to partner with the members of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance,” said Kim Norton, director of marketing, Flambeau. “As an outdoor sporting company with humble beginnings, connecting with the hardworking men and women of the USA was something we found invaluable. It is a terrific opportunity to share our products with them and to contribute to their conservation efforts, which ensure greater access to the outdoors for all.”

Flambeau traces its origins to back to 1947, when the Sauey brothers – W.R. and Ed – hand built a molding machine, which they used to create the Halik Frog, a topwater fishing lure. Since that time, the company has grown into one of the largest producers of hunting and fishing equipment, the majority of which it continues to manufacture in the U.S.

According to USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira, Flambeau’s history of crafting high-quality outdoor gear and their dedication to U.S. manufacturing make partnering with them an easy decision.

“Flambeau has built a legacy out of hard work and love for hunting and fishing – a legacy that our members can certainly appreciate,” said d’Oliveira. “We are thrilled to have such a great partner in our pursuit of preserving North America’s outdoor heritage.”

Flambeau’s quality products will be featured and fully-integrated into the USA’s member promotions and will be used as raffle prizes and giveaway items at sporting clay shoots and dinners, which help raise funds for USA’s conservation projects. Flambeau will also be a product sponsor on Brotherhood Outdoors, the USA’s award-winning TV show on the Sportsman Channel.

“Flambeau has never lost its original spirit of innovation and continues to make many cutting edge products,” said Norton. “We hope these products will help USA members in their outdoor endeavors.”

Two of Flambeau’s most advanced products include Zerust, which is a formula injected into tackle storage plastic that forms a vapor barrier protecting metal tackle from corrosion, and UVision, which is a signature paint for waterfowl decoys. These products ensure that outdoor enthusiasts can make the most of their time hunting and fishing.

According to d’Oliveira, the generous contributions from partners like Flambeau and other great brands support the USA’s goal of uniting the millions of active and retired labor union members who hunt, fish, shoot and live an outdoor lifestyle.

For more information on corporate partnerships and sponsorship opportunities with the USA, email d’Oliveira at miked@unionsportsmen.org or call 615-831-6796.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Flambeau Outdoors: Flambeau, Inc. is a member of Nordic Group of Companies, Ltd. Nordic Group (headquartered in Baraboo, Wisconsin) is a privately held holding company consisting of subsidiaries with 22 facilities, and 23 marketing units around the world with over 2,400 associates. Nordic Group companies manufacture and distribute plastic, seating and transportation products worldwide for industrial, commercial and consumer markets. Flambeau Outdoors, a division of Flambeau, Inc., is a widely recognized manufacturer of quality, innovative outdoor products for the hunting and fishing enthusiast.

Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon airs Sept. 3 on Sportsman Channel

August 23, 2016 in Brotherhood Outdoors, Brotherhood Outdoors TV, Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (Aug. 23, 2016) – The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Sportsman Channel are teaming up again to honor the American workforce during the 2016 Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day “Salute to the American Worker” – Presented by Wolverine, which airs Saturday, Sept. 3, from 5-8 p.m. EST.

DCIM102_VIRBOver the course of six consecutive episodes, Brotherhood Outdoors will examine guests’ family and work lives while showing viewers that regular, hardworking men and women have what it takes to get out there and hunt and fish with pros Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen.

Brotherhood Outdoors is a testament to those who make our American way of life as spectacular as it is today,” said USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira. “When I watch some of these episodes, I think two things: First, I’m reminded of the hard work and dedication it takes to make our country tick, and secondly, I see all of these great stories from the men and women to make this all happen. It makes me proud that we have the opportunity to showcase their unique trades skills and their passion for the great outdoors, and we are appreciative of Wolverine Boots to help us tell this story.”

The show’s relatability to the “everyman” and its intimate glimpse into its guests’ lives are what make Brotherhood Outdoors a truly unique show in its category.

Schedule for Sept. 3 (EST):

5:00 p.m.     Sheet Metal Worker (SMART Local 19), Keith Gilmer sees 100 deer the first day of his dream hunt, but he decides to wait patiently for a big Montana muley to appear from amidst the abundant whitetails and give him the perfect shot.

5:30 p.m.     Laborer (LiUNA Local 5), Mark Kezler feels the vibration as toms come drumming, spitting and gobbling within 100 yards. Yet the wise old South Dakota Merriam’s turkeys dodge the plan again and again as hosts Daniel Lee and Julie try to lure them within Mark’s range.

6:00 p.m.     Painter (IUPAT DC 30, Local 157), Jason Gaal, armed with a flashlight to spot glistening eyes, prowls for Florida gators. Suspense runs high with the big, toothy lizards as host Daniel Lee ends up in the murky, gator-infested waters.

6:30 p.m.     Auto Worker (UAW Local 838), Aaron Heying overcomes paralysis on this New Mexico bear hunt with help from his wife as hosts Daniel Lee and Julie and their guide carry Aaron, his wheelchair and equipment through the woods to get in range of his first bear.

7:00 p.m.     Plumber (UA Local 68), Mike Cramer wards off unusually warm temps with dancing and one-armed push-ups as he waits for his shot at a Colorado bull elk once the snow finally begins to fall.

7:30 p.m.     Roofer (Roofers Local 23), Derek Carrington heads to Kansas to hunt in one of the best trophy-producing units in the state, and it all comes down to the wire on this heart-pumping whitetail adventure.

Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Burris/Steiner, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, and United Association/International Training Fund.

To find Sportsman Channel in your area click here.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel/Sportsman HD is a television and digital media company fully devoted to honoring a lifestyle that is celebrated by millions of Americans. A division of Outdoor Sportsman Group, Sportsman Channel delivers entertaining and informative programming that showcases outdoor adventure, hunting and fishing, and illustrates it through unique and authentic storytelling. Sportsman Channel embraces the attitude of “Red, Wild & Blue America” – where the American Spirit and Great Outdoors are celebrated in equal measure. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 36 million U.S. television households. Stay connected to Sportsman Channel online at thesportsmanchannel.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

USA appoints Scott Vance executive director

August 9, 2016 in General, Press Release

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) has appointed Scott Vance as its new executive director. Vance will begin his new role Sept. 1.

Scott Vance

Scott Vance

Vance currently serves as the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) vice president for hunting heritage and executive director for hunting heritage centers. In his nearly 17 years at NWTF, Vance piloted many successful endeavors, including leading a multi-national, multi-disciplinary team of wildlife and conservation professionals to restore the Gould’s wild turkey to southern Arizona.

“The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is doing outstanding things for communities, wildlife and our conservation legacy,” said Vance. “It is with tremendous excitement and gratitude that I accept this auspicious role. The opportunities that lie ahead for us are enormous, and the ability to serve the USA as we conserve our nation’s treasured resources is deeply humbling and incredibly exhilarating. I look forward to helping enhance the lives of union sportsmen and women and their families in ways that are fun, rewarding and impactful.”

With a background rich in wildlife conservation and biology plus his proven track record of successful, creative problem solving and nearly two decades of experience in the non-profit sector, Vance said he sees a wealth of potential in the USA and is eager to lead the 9-year-old non-profit into its next decade.

“We are at a critical crossroads in our country, and ensuring a strong conservation future depends on skilled, knowledgeable, dedicated people to make it happen,” said Vance. “I couldn’t be more confident that the men and women of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance are those kind of people.”

Vance is a hunter and angler who spends time outdoors with his family and his champion bird dog, Hydro. For him, the USA’s mission of conservation and preserving America’s outdoor heritage goes beyond work – it’s a part of his everyday life.

“Scott Vance has all the credentials to lead the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, but it’s his genuine passion for the outdoors and conservation that set him apart as the clear choice,” said AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, who serves as the USA’s chairman of the board. “He not only believes in our organizational values, but he lives them every day. I know that Scott has the vision and experience to propel the USA to new heights.”

NFLPA, USA Team Up to Put the ‘Sport’ in ‘Sportsmen’

June 22, 2016 in General, Press Release

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) officially signed on to support the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) as its sixteenth governing affiliate. The decision was a result of years of dialogue discussing how the two organizations could work together to enhance the value for their members, and the partnership was solidified with the recent appointment of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to the USA Board of Directors.

Many NFL players and former players (Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson, Brian Urlacher, Randy Moss, Adam Vinatieri and Joe Thomas, to name a few) are avid outdoorsmen who enjoy hunting, fishing and spending time in nature with friends and family. The NFLPA and its members also place great importance on volunteerism and community service, according to Nolan Harrison, former NFL player and current Senior Director of Former Player Services. With the USA’s mission to unite the union community for conservation and its unique environment of fellowship in the outdoors, the partnership is a natural pairing.

“We are always looking for ways to connect with our larger family of organized labor,” said Smith. “Because so many of our players participate in hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities during the off season, the USA became a natural way for us to get our players more involved in this union and with other union members outside the football world. With so many different unions with different goals, I believe we always have to focus on the things we have in common. When I look to the USA, I look to it as one of the ways we can focus on the core things that bind us together.”

Dave_Butts_team

Former Redskin and now USA member Dave Butz (center) took the high over all individual award at the USA’s 4th Semi-Annual IAMAW St. Louis Area Shoot.

With some NFLPA members already in the USA’s ranks, the opportunity to extend the involvement to all current and former players will go a long way in building excitement and participation in events and volunteer projects, plus it will certainly – to borrow a line from AFL-CIO President and USA Chairman Richard L. Trumka – add more muscle to the conservation movement.

“We are ecstatic to have the NFL Players Association join the USA as its newest governing affiliate,” said USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira. “They represent so many members who share a deep passion for our outdoor heritage, and we welcome them and their families with open arms to our growing team of hardworking sportsmen and women.”

With the NFLPA’s charter-level support, active and former NFL players can join the USA at no cost and are encouraged to participate in the organization’s fundraising dinners, sporting clays shoots and volunteer conservation projects that improve public access to the outdoors, enhance wildlife habitats, restore America’s parks and mentor youth to be responsible stewards of our wild spaces.

IBEW member and son receive VIP treatment at 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic

April 28, 2016 in General, Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Celebrity encounters, backstage passes, VIP treatment, exclusive access to the latest and greatest in bass fishing, weigh-in shows that were part-fish competition, part rock concert and a story-book finish made for an unforgettable trip.

Mark Duncan and his 16-year-old son, Patch, experienced the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic unlike any of the other 107,605 attendees at the 3-day event.

Mark, a longtime member of Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and IBEW Local 26 in Lanham, Maryland, won the Ultimate Bass Sweepstakes presented by USA and Carhartt. The prize included an all-expense-paid trip for him and Patch to attend the Bassmaster Classic, complete with VIP treatment and exclusive access.

“I’d watched the Classic on TV in years past, but I’d never seen an event like this before,” Mark said. “The lights, the music, the people there – it was all insane.”

The Duncans witnessed a historical comeback at the Classic. Jason Christie, the two-day leader, started day three six pounds ahead. But the tournament wasn’t over for Edwin Evers, who caught 20 bass that morning, making a last-minute play for the title.

Father and son arrived at the Classic Expo at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 4 and met with representatives of USA and Carhartt who served as host for the weekend. They also met legendary angler and TV host Bill Dance before taking a group photo with the Classic’s soon-to-be-awarded trophy.

The Duncans’ Carhartt hosts ushered them around the Expo, taking them backstage with one of the Classic’s producers. They got to see it all, from the press room to the hole in the stage where the fish are dropped into a livewell that takes them back to the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees.

“We got our pictures taken on stage, saw where they weigh the fish and how the boats and trucks get in and out,” Mark said. “It was an incredible experience getting to see every part of the show.”

Both Mark and Patch’s favorite moment came during the last day. More than anything, Patch wanted to meet Kevin VanDam, the all-time money winner in professional bass fishing and his idol. The Duncans were sitting in Carhartt’s sponsor room, and Patch knew his chances were growing slim. Then, VanDam walked into the room. They got a photo with the legend – a moment both father and son will cherish for a lifetime.

“It was my favorite part because it was what [Patch] had wanted all weekend,” Mark said. “My son got to meet his idol. Just goes to show that the decision I made to become a union member almost 30 years ago is still paying dividends today.”

It was a sweet end to the Duncan’s trip. Back home, the experience continued to pay off, helping kick start a project. Before the trip, Mark and Patch had talked about converting their john boat into a “poor man’s bass boat.” The Classic gave them some ideas and resources, along with a little inspiration, and their project is now underway.

The trip also provided Mark with another opportunity to speak highly of his membership to both his union and the USA.

“Here is a situation in which I now get to discuss my union and why I’m a member of the USA with other people,” Duncan said. “All I have to do is mention the trip and they ask, ‘How did you win that?’”

It was the final weigh-in, and Evers stood in his boat as it was pulled into the Expo. “Dynamite” by Taeo Cruz blared over the speakers as Evers reached into his live well and pulled out his two biggest fish for the crowd to see.

His bag was taken to the stage for weighing. “Look at these big freaks of nature,” host Dave Mercer said of Evers fish, announcing he needed a 15 pound, 2 ounce bag to pull ahead.

“29 pounds, 3 ounces!” Mercer announced as the crowd erupted.

The Duncans cheered from the VIP sponsor suite as confetti rained down on the arena. “We are the Champions” blared through the speakers and Evers was crowned the 2016 Bassmaster Classic champion.

It was the perfect finale to the Duncan’s storybook experience, all thanks to Carhartt.

“We are grateful to Carhartt for their excellence, not only in their products, but in the way they serve others,” said USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira.  “This trip is a perfect example of how Carhartt goes above and beyond to support and celebrate our members.”

Western WI AFL-CIO Take Kids Fishing Day Wins State Award

March 10, 2016 in Conservation News, Press Release

LA CROSSE, WI (March 9, 2016) – The Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO is pleased to announce that the council will be awarded the “Wisconsin AFL-CIO Community Service Event Award” on March 11 for its annual “Take Kids Fishing Day” events.

2014-6-02 Bill Brockmiller, president of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO, will accept the award on behalf of the council at 8:45 a.m. during the annual Wisconsin State AFL-CIO Community Services Conference.  This year, the conference will be at the Radisson Hotel on Second Street in La Crosse.

Back in 2012, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) conservation program teamed up with the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO to host a Take Kids Fishing Day at Pettibone Lagoon in La Crosse.  The West Central AFL-CIO started a similar event in Eau Claire in 2013, and the South Central Building & Trades Council added its own event last year in Madison. The fifth annual Take Kids Fishing Day in La Crosse is scheduled for June 4.

“Take Kids Fishing Day is the perfect opportunity to educate our youth on the benefits of fishing and spark a lifelong interest in the sport,” said USA Conservation Manager Ty Brown. “It’s also a great way to show families the abundance of public access opportunities available in their communities.”

This unique event is free and open to the public – especially under-privileged kids and handicapped adults who might not otherwise have a chance to learn about fishing.

Fishing poles, bait, lunch and a picnic style lunch are provided free of charge to all attendees. To ensure that no child leaves empty-handed, all kids participating in the La Crosse event get a door prize such as fishing rods and reels, lures or tackle items.

“Those who won fishing poles, of course, wanted to use them, so we had volunteers busy rigging them up,” said Terry Hayden, president of the Western Wisconsin Building and Construction Trades Council and business manager of UA Local 434. “Being connected with nature as a youth helps build a healthy respect for the world we live in.”

For children less inclined to fish, face painting and temporary tattoos are provided free of charge by members of OPEIU Local 277.

Since the first La Crosse event in 2012, union volunteers have mentored more than 420 kids, more than 100 attendees are expected this year.

In La Crosse, members of the following locals have been seen pitching in and helping make the event a success; OPEIU Local 277, LIUNA Local 268, IAMAW Locals 21 & 1115, IAMAW District Lodge 66, AFTW Local 3605, UA Local 434, AFSCME Locals 1449, 1914, 1449, 2484 and 2748, ATU Local 519, AFSCME Retirees Chapter 7-Subchapter 101, BLET Local 13, IBEW Local 14, IAFF Local 127, BMWE Local 1965, OPCMIA Local 599 BCT&GM Local 22.

“Not only do kids love to fish, but it’s satisfying for grown-ups to watch a kid who’s all smiles while catching a fish,” said Brockmiller. “There’s no better time than now to get a kid hooked on fishing.”

Dave Branson, executive director, Building & Construction Trades Council of South Central Wisconsin agreed:  “For me, the best part of the event was seeing the smiles on all the kids’ faces. I loved being able to interact with everyone there. Not only was it successful, it was fun. Everybody had a great time.”

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Carhartt Renew Partnership Through 2018

January 15, 2016 in General, Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is proud to announce that Carhartt – the nation’s leading brand manufacturer of rugged work wear produced in the United States – has agreed to a multi-year renewal of its corporate partnership lasting through 2018.

“Carhartt is pleased to continue its partnership, now entering its fourth year, with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance – an organization that aligns with our passion for hard work and love of the outdoors,” said Tony Ambroza, senior vice president of marketing, Carhartt. “The outdoor conservation efforts made by the USA’s union members are invaluable because they allow all of us to continue to enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities year round.”

According to USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira, Carhartt’s established presence as an industry leader in work wear and its commitment to the American worker makes a continued partnership an easy choice. Between Carhartt’s Detroit-area headquarters and factories in Kentucky and Tennessee, the company employs more than 2,100 hard working men and women – including more than 900 United Food & Commercial Workers International Union members – who design, cut, sew, market and sell garments. Over the past 15 years, Carhartt has produced more than 80 million garments in its American factories and since its start in 1889, has never stopped crafting products domestically.

“Carhartt is a known, respected name in the world of hardworking men and women, and it’s easy to see why,” said d’Oliveira. “The standard of excellence is apparent, not just in Carhartt’s products, but in the way they support us as partners and value our members’ hard-earned dollars.”

Since Carhartt also produces American-made hunting and outdoors gear, USA members can truly depend on the quality brand for work and play, said d’Oliveira. Carhartt also sponsors the USA’s award-winning TV show Brotherhood Outdoors on the Sportsman Channel.

“Carhartt has never let us down,” said Brotherhood Outdoors co-host Julie McQueen. “We really put our clothing and gear to the test, especially during our long days in the backcountry. We know that if we need dependable clothing that’s meant for hard work, we choose Carhartt.”

The work wear giant also supports the USA and its members in the form of national promotional sweepstakes. The current promotion will send one USA member and a guest to the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic with VIP access, Carhartt gear and $1,000 cash. In 2015, Carhartt sponsored an all-expenses-paid trip to the CMA Music Festival in Nashville for Carl Betancourt, a member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 67. The prize also included a Carhartt camouflaged jacket, bibs and pair of pants.

“Loyal, committed partners like Carhartt are a big reason our organization is successful in our mission to unite the union community for conservation,” said d’Oliveira. “From product donations to national sweepstakes, all the way down to shirts on our members’ backs, Carhartt truly does ‘outwork them all.’”

For more information on corporate partnerships and sponsorship opportunities with the USA, email d’Oliveira at miked@unionsportsmen.org or call 615-831-6796.

WV | Coonskin Park Fishing Pier

December 2, 2015 in Conservation News, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and West Virginia American Water Complete New Accessible Fishing Pier at Coonskin Park

A new fishing pier at Coonskin Park designed to accommodate individuals with physical disabilities was unveiled at a ribbon cutting today by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), West Virginia American Water and local union volunteers. The project, valued at $60,000, is a joint effort between the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground volunteer conservation program and the American Water Charitable Foundation’s Building Better Communities initiative.

CuttingImageThe completed project includes three handicap designated parking spots, concrete ramp from the parking lot to the pier, retaining wall alongside the new ramp and large wheelchair accessible floating dock with handrails. The American Water Charitable Foundation partially funded the project with a $25,000 grant, which was awarded to USA earlier this year. The Foundation supported three conservation projects that improve public access to water-based recreation activities in Tennessee, Illinois and West Virginia. West Virginia American Water contributed an additional $10,000 to the project, and a number of local businesses donated services and materials.

“This is the third project we have completed with funding from the American Water Charitable Foundation,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Fred Myers. “These projects allow us to give back to communities where American Water serves and where our members live and recreate.  West Virginia American Water went the extra mile by donating extra funds to ensure a successful endeavor. This partnership has been positive for everyone involved, and I hope to see it grow in the near future.”

USA organized a group of skilled union volunteers through the Charleston Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO to complete the project, located on the south side of Coonskin Lake near the Elk River Trail.

“More than half of West Virginia American Water’s 300 employees are represented by unions, and they are among the most talented and skilled professionals in the state,” said Jeffrey McIntyre, president of West Virginia American Water. “We are proud to support this Work Boots on the Ground project, which will enhance the outdoor experience of our customers, our employees and their families.”

During the ribbon cutting, West Virginia AFL-CIO president Kenny Perdue stated how pleased his organization was to partner with West Virginia American Water in making Coonskin Park more accessible to everyone.

“So many of our members volunteer to work with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance because it combines their love of the outdoors and hunting with their desire to use their skills to give back to their communities,” Perdue said. “We are grateful to Paul Breedlove of the Charleston Building Trades for taking the lead on organizing the project, and to the many volunteers from the Carpenters, Finishers, Electrical Workers, Operating Engineers, Ironworkers, Laborers, Pipefitters, Roofers and Sheet Metal locals.

Jeff Hutchinson, director of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission, applauded the project and stated that the park was honored to receive this generous gift. “The addition of the new fishing pier will allow the lake to be more accessible for citizens with disabilities and will increase usage of the lake by all Kanawha County citizens,” Hutchinson said.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, Founding Partner Buck Knives Renew Partnership

July 2, 2015 in Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is proud to announce that Buck Knives, Inc., a founding partner, has agreed to a multi-year renewal of its corporate partnership.

Buck Compadre Series“Much of our company’s success has revolved around hunting and the outdoors,” said C.J. Buck, President, CEO and Chairman of Buck Knives. “It is a pleasure to partner with such a great organization like the USA, which understands the importance of conservation and strives toward educating future generations.”

According to USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira, Buck’s presence as an industry giant and early partnership with the USA have been key ingredients in the USA’s success and growth. This type of partnership also helps the USA achieve its mission to unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

“Buck was the USA’s very first outdoor industry partner, and this was due in larger part to the foresight and vision of their leadership team in C.J. Buck and Bob George,” said d’Oliveira. “They understood that our members are also their core customers, and they understood the potential for our organization to grow and thrive. Buck is such an iconic brand and a category leader, so it is easy to imagine how proud we are to have the opportunity to continue our longstanding partnership.”

Buck’s quality, made-in-the-U.S. cutlery has assisted the USA in many ways. Every single sporting clays shoot, conservation dinner and convention includes an array of Buck products. Buck is also the sponsor of the USA’s Photo of the Week contest, and winners receive the timeless 110 Folding Hunter, Buck’s industry-changing flagship knife. Hosts and guests of the USA’s award-winning television show, Brotherhood Outdoors, also use Buck knives.

“Buck Knives are all we use. We trust them,” said Brotherhood Outdoors co-host Julie McQueen. “We use the PakLite series for skinning and cleaning game animals. I even use a Buck knife for personal security when I’m not on the job.”

Buck continues to innovate and set industry standards with releases like the new Compadre series, which features brilliant red powder coated steel and a Heritage Walnut Dymondwood® handle. This stand-out set includes a camp knife, hatchet and froe.

Their longstanding heritage, their dedication to make quality, American products and their joy in swapping knife stories with customers are attributes that make Buck such a natural and perfect partner for the USA, said d’Oliveira. The Buck Knives team agrees.

“Our partnership with the USA has been a great fit from the start,” said Buck Knives Director of Sales and Marketing Bob George. “Growing up in a union household and being a former union member, I understand the strength and unity members possess. Through that strength and passion, they continue to be leaders in the conservation movement.”

On a more sombre note, the USA would like offer its condolences to the Buck family in the wake of Chuck Buck’s passing. He was a true friend to the organization, and he will be sorely missed by the USA’s staff, board of directors and members.

For more information on corporate partnerships and sponsorship opportunities with the USA, email d’Oliveira at miked@unionsportsmen.org or call 615-831-6796.

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ABOUT THE UNION SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCE

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the Union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America.

ABOUT BUCK KNIVES, INC.

Behind every Buck knife is over 100 years of experience and craftsmanship. The very best materials and state-of-the-art technology are used to create knives that meet the exacting demands expected of a high quality knife. Buck stands behind every knife made with their famous Forever Warranty. Learn more at www.buckknives.com.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance extends partnerships with the Burris Company and Steiner Optik

June 10, 2015 in Press Release

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is proud to announce that the Burris Company and Steiner Optik – industry leaders in hunting and shooting optics – have renewed their partnerships as corporate sponsors.

Since becoming a partner in 2011, Burris and Steiner have been tremendous supporters of the USA’s mission to unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

“We are very excited to announce the continuation of our very successful partnership with the Burris and Steiner brands,” said USA Deputy Director Mike d’Oliveira. “Their support of the USA is amazing, and our members have come to understand that both brands share our vision and are committed to helping the USA grow and expand.”

According to Dennis Phillips, marketing manager for Burris and Steiner, continuing the partnerships was a slam dunk.

“Renewing the partnerships was the easiest marketing decision we had to make for 2015,” said Phillips. “The return on our investment is tremendous. Although it’s hard to quantify, our involvement with USA generates great exposure and goodwill that translates to sales and profits for both brands. By partnering with the USA, we have been able to effectively engage our customers at the grassroots level through events and exposure on television. The partnership is a great way to expand our efforts in key markets across the country.”

The USA uses top-quality gear from Burris and Steiner in several ways: USA members receive scopes, binoculars and other optics as prizes at shooting tour events and at conservation dinners, which help raise funds for the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground Program. Burris and Steiner also sponsor Brotherhood Outdoors, the USA’s award-winning TV show on the Sportsman Channel by providing optics for the show’s hosts and guests. According to Julie McQueen, Brotherhood Outdoors co-host, the addition has been welcome.

“Burris and Steiner optics give us an advantage when we are in the field because of their high quality glass and crisp, clear images,” said McQueen. “They’ve been a valuable tool for us when we need to spot animals from long distances. We are really rough on our equipment, and we know our optics will survive anything we put them through.”

With many affordable, U.S. made products, such as the new Steiner GS3 rifle scopes, Burris and Steiner seem to be a natural fit for the USA and vice-versa.

“Our customers are the USA members. We understand their optic needs, the kinds of outdoor activities they enjoy, and we build our products to enhance those pursuits,” said Phillips. “We all work hard, and time afield is hard to come by so we want to make the most of it. I think the union brotherhood can appreciate our new brand tag lines: Burris – Find What Matters; and Steiner – Nothing Escapes You.”

The invaluable assistance of partners like Burris, Steiner and other great brands supports the USA’s goal of uniting the millions of active and retired labor union members, who hunt, fish, shoot and live an outdoors lifestyle.

For more information on corporate partnerships and sponsorship opportunities with the USA, email d’Oliveira at miked@unionsportsmen.org or call 615-831-6796.

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The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the Union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America.

Titans Cheerleaders, Rachel Holder bring “flavor” to USA’s Ironworkers shoot

October 6, 2014 in Conservation News, Press Release

Nashville celebs bring local "flavor" to USA's Ironworkers shoot, celebration.

Nashville celebs bring local “flavor” to USA’s Ironworkers shoot, celebration.

Titans Cheerleaders and Curb Recording Artist Rachel Holder bring Nashville “flavor” to celebration of Ironworkers, retirees, U.S. Veterans at USA’s 1st Ironworkers International Sporting Clays Shoot.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, a non-profit, conservation organization based in Nashville, along with the Ironworkers International and Ironworkers Local 492, hosted a round of sporting clays and family picnic on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Nashville’s Tennessee Clay Target Complex. While serving as a fundraiser to support the USA and its conservation mission, the event also provided a great opportunity to recognize union members, retirees, U.S. Veterans and their families. More than 300 people came out to enjoy a day of family-fun activities and entertainment.

Highlights of the program included a full sporting clays tournament and special appearances by Titans Cheerleaders and Nashville’s own Curb Recording Artist Rachel Holder. Titans Cheerleaders signed autographs and posed for photos with fans of all ages. Rachel Holder and her band performed an energetic set of old and new hits, after Holder’s impressive display of busting clays with attendees on the shooting course. Darrell Roberts, Executive Director of Helmets to Hardhats, was on-hand to inform attendees about the organization’s mentoring, training programs and job placement services for veterans.

When scores were tallied, it was Ironworkers International Team B that took home top honors with the High Over All (HOA) score of 470 out of 500. The HOA Individual award went to Hugh Bennett. Amanda Pilcher earned the HOA Female award for the event.

“We appreciate the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s efforts to unite the union community through conservation, so we were happy to lend our support by hosting a fundraising event in Tennessee,” said Dick Ward, First General Vice President of Ironworkers International.

“This event was a true celebration of the union community and our veterans,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “It was planned with the local flavor of Nashville at the forefront, and we appreciate the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders and Rachel Holder for being a part of this important day of recognition for the Ironworkers and our veterans.”

In 2012, Ironworkers Local 492, IBEW Local 429 and Insulators Local 86, volunteered through the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground conservation program conservation program to build the Tennessee Scholastic Shooting Complex. Union Sportsmen’s Alliance members and staff assisted with the building, installation and painting of the facility’s entrance gate, secured electrical supplies and volunteered their services for future projects in the construction of a scholastic youth shooting complex.

Also in 2013, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, along with volunteers from the Nashville Building & Construction Trades and Spann Brothers Lumber Co., volunteered their time and talents to build a new walking bridge in the heart of Montgomery Bell State Park to replace the one that was washed away by the 2010 floods.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

3rd Annual Union Sportsmen’s Alliance ‘Get Youth Outdoors Day’

September 19, 2014 in Conservation News, Press Release

Youth gain hands-on training in archery, trap, and rifle shooting at 3rd Annual Union Sportsmen’s Alliance `Get Youth Outdoors Day’ in Clear Lake, MN.

Mike Ganz, Vice President and Business Representative of Bricklayers Local 1 gives kids the chance to get up close and personal with pheasants as a part of his live upland bird dog demo.

Mike Ganz, Vice President and Business Representative of Bricklayers Local 1 gives kids the chance to get up close and personal with pheasants as a part of his live upland bird dog demo.

A record number of youth came out to experience what it’s like to shoot arrows, shotguns and rifles at the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) 3rd Annual Get Youth Outdoors Day on Sunday, Sept. 14 at Wild Marsh Sporting Clays in Clear Lake, MN.

USA’s annual Get Youth Outdoors Day brings together union volunteers from the Roofers, Bricklayers and Central Minnesota Building Trades to teach participating kids firearm safety and coach them in trap shooting, rifle shooting and archery target shooting. This year, 50 children enjoyed hands-on introduction to the shooting sports by rotating between archery, rifle and shotgun stations. Prior to these activities, they received a lesson in basic firearm safety and had the chance to identify various waterfowl decoys and big game sheds.

Kinsey Robinson, International President of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers was on hand to help out and share his love for the outdoors with the kids.

“Get Youth Outdoors Day is a prime example of the USA’s efforts to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage by hands-on events that instill youth with a love for the great outdoors,” said Robinson. “The Roofers are so proud to be part of this event each year, to see it grow from 22 youth the first year to 50 this year and to witness the smiles on the kids’ faces when they break clay targets or watch their arrows fly straight to the bullseye.”

Mike Ganz, Vice President and Business Representative of Bricklayers Local 1 who was instrumental in launching the event, returns each year to volunteer as a youth mentor on the course. Ganz also brings along his hunting dog and pheasants for a live demonstration that gives kids the chance to see an upland bird dog get on point on a pheasant. Following the demo, he lets them touch the pheasants.

Kinsey Robinson, International President of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers and wife Mona were on hand to help out and share their love for the outdoors with the kids.

Kinsey Robinson, International President of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers and wife Mona were on hand to help out and share their love for the outdoors with the kids.

“We get them out into the outdoors…give them a little taste of different things,” said Ganz, who explained what keeps him coming back. “I had a repeat kid from last year who came up and asked if we had the pheasants again. Two kids showed up with a local newspaper photo of themselves because they wanted to show me they got a turkey. That was pretty cool.”

Evan Wood, of St. Cloud, who celebrated his 10th birthday at this year’s Get Youth Outdoors Day, claimed it was, ‘the best thing he has ever done.’

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Volunteers build kayak shed at Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park

September 8, 2014 in Conservation News, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Union tradesmen volunteer expert skills to build kayak shed at Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park

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Visitors to the recreational lake at Georgia’s Hard Labor Creek State Park will find a new kayak shed along its shoreline, thanks to the hands-on, volunteer support of union electricians and elevator constructors who put their talents to work with Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Work Boots on the Ground program in August. The USA, a national, conservation-focused non-profit organization based in Nashville, created the program to bring together skilled union volunteers to help rebuild, renew and restore America’s parks so they will be here to enjoy for future generations.

For three Saturdays, about 25 dedicated union volunteers from Atlanta’s IBEW Local 613 and IUEC Local 32 turned out in high temperatures to make the idea of the new kayak shed – three years in discussion – a reality.

Phil Delestrez, Resource Manager of Hard Labor Creek State Park, said the new kayak shed is an asset for park staff and visitors who participate in the park’s kayak program, which offers educational, historical outings.

“Until now, the program has been cumbersome to run with mile and a half treks to and from the lake and loading and unloading of the kayaks occurring several times per week,” Delestrez said. “The park staff was awestruck by the fact that folks would come out and just do a project like this. The guys really went above and beyond.”

“The new kayak shed at Hard Labor Creek State Park is a perfect example of how union members give back to their communities outside the workplace,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “These men and women bring specialized skills to the table to get the job done right. Our Work Boots on the Ground program helps meet challenges our cherished parks face due to tight budgets and limited manpower.”

Hard-Labor-Creek_Completed-Kayak-Shed

Kevin Moody, Business Manager of IUEC Local 32 who served as project coordinator on behalf of USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program, even put in one extra day on the project to add finishing touches to the kayak’s roof.

“There were a lot of guys out there who knew what the project needed,” said Moody, of Locust Grove. “They all worked well together and really seemed to enjoy it and have a lot of fun out there.”

Moody added that he brought his teenage son, Andrew, along to volunteer and learn more about the skilled trades.

“I wanted him to see what the jobs are, and it was an eye-opener for him,” said Moody. “It was good for him. After working out there all day, he finally figured out he wants to be on the engineering side.”

Also providing leadership on the project were Gene O’Kelley, Business Manager of IBEW Local 613, who arranged the donation of piling equipment, and Ken Wallace, a member of Jacksonville, Florida’s IBEW 177, who made the trip to volunteer with fellow union brothers on project.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

For information about park programs at Georgia State Parks, visit: www.GaStateParks.org

Salute to the American Worker and Celebration of Youth in the Outdoors

August 22, 2014 in Brotherhood Outdoors TV, Press Release

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Initiative to Introduce and Integrate America’s Youth into the Great Outdoors Beginning Monday, September 1 at 5 p.m. ET

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and Sportsman Channel are combining efforts to honor the contributions of the American worker and celebrate today’s youth, who represent the future of our nation’s workforce and outdoor heritage. Sportsman Channel’s Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon, a salute to American workers and celebration of youth in the outdoors, is presented by Carhartt and airs exclusively on Monday, September 1 from 5–8 p.m. ET. For a sneak peak of what’s in store click here.

Today’s youth are consistently inundated with modern technologies and devices, which can serve as a distraction to fishing, hunting, biking, hiking, camping and other healthy outdoor activities. Throughout the Marathon, Brotherhood Outdoors co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen will provide viewers with interesting stories about the dedicated men and women who keep America moving forward and do their part to introduce America’s youth to our nation’s cherished outdoor lifestyle.

2014-Brotherhood-Outdoors-Labor-Day-Marathon-FB-Post-400x400

Sportsman Channel’s Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon features six captivating episodes that include everything from a father and his sons guiding a fellow firefighter on a heart-pounding mule deer hunt in Arizona to a father and his daughters taking another young girl on her first coon hunt in Kentucky. The Marathon chronicles hard-working men and women who share a passion for outdoor adventures and are focused on passing along their great experiences to America’s youth.

“Many Americans celebrate Labor Day by spending time outdoors with their families,” said USA Executive Director and CEO Fred Myers. “Just as we educate and prepare today’s youth for future careers, we must teach them about conservation and to value the outdoor heritage that’s intrinsic to our great nation. That’s why educating youth about the outdoors is a key part of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s mission and why we’re excited to once again partner with Sportsman Channel for this special Brotherhood Outdoors Labor Day Marathon.”

The following is a schedule for September 1 programming (all times listed ET):

  • 5:00 p.m.   :   Firefighter Michael McShane (IAFF Local 1312 – South Berwick, ME) experiences a hunting trip of a lifetime when he travels from Maine to the Arizona desert to hunt mule deer and javelina. The results are spectacular, and the stories are inspiring.
  • 5:30 p.m.   :   Hunting turkeys and wild hogs is the best of both worlds for Ohio bricklayer and turkey fanatic Jay Blankenship (BAC Local 39 – Jackson, OH). A trip to Tennessee to hunt massive gobblers and Russian boars will be a lifelong adventure for the union worker.
  • 6:00 p.m.   :   Electrical worker, Eric Patrick (IBEW Local 196 – Rochelle, IL ) is surprised with a fishing trip he could only dream of to Venice, Louisiana, where he fishes for cobia, red snapper, redfish, trout and tuna. The ups and downs will have viewers on the edge of their seats.
  • 6:30 p.m.   :   Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen travel to Vancouver Island for a black bear hunt with UA member Mark Spreadborough (UA Local 290 – Kalama, WA). Viewers will be amazed to discover the firearm Spreadborough chooses on this dream hunt.
  • 7:00 p.m.   :   Adam McCormick (LIUNA Local 561 – Robards, KY) is a hard-working union laborer and a youth archery instructor. He travels to Wisconsin in hopes of claiming a trophy buck and then invites the show hosts to his home in Kentucky, where he and his daughters lead them and their young neighbor on a coon hunt by flashlight.
  • 7:30 p.m.   :   Michigan union roofer, Derek Carrington (Roofers Local 23 – Buchanan, MI) joins the Brotherhood Outdoors team in Kansas for a captivating buck hunt with Tallgrass Outfitters. Carrington will hunt in one of the best trophy-producing units in Kansas, much to the excitement of his young sons who are already following in his footsteps.

Brotherhood Outdoors not only does a great job of showcasing hard-working American union workers, but the program also illustrates how the workers share a passion for the outdoors,” said Graig Hale, vice president of business development for Sportsman Channel. “Spending time with family in the outdoors and learning the traditions of hunting and fishing are woven into American history. Brotherhood Outdoors will shine the spotlight on America’s youth and show audiences the importance of getting younger generations involved at an early age.”

To find Sportsman Channel in your area click here.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat while passing on our national outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel/Sportsman HD is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to honoring a lifestyle that is celebrated by millions of Americans. The leader in outdoor television, Sportsman Channel delivers entertaining and informative programming that embraces outdoor adventure, hunting and fishing, and reveals it through unique, surprising and authentic storytelling. Sportsman Channel embraces the attitude of “Red, Wild & Blue America” – where the American Spirit and Great Outdoors are celebrated in equal measure. The network also is dedicated to promoting our nation’s military heroes and veterans, as well as providing a voice for conservation throughout the United States. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 36 million U.S. television households. Stay connected to Sportsman Channel online at www.thesportsmanchannel.com; Facebook, (facebook.com/sportsmanchannel); Twitter (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl and twitter.com/SportsmanPR) and YouTube (youtube.com/TheSportsmanChannel).

This Summer…”Where in the World” was the USA Logo anyway?

August 8, 2014 in General, Press Release

This year’s 2014 USA Summer Giveaway, “Where in the World is the USA Logo?” really got the union community involved in showing their pride in brotherhood and in Union Sportsmen’s Alliance membership. For 10 weeks, from Memorial Day to August 2, entries consistently came in from 20 states, Canada and Italy showing that the USA logo was found this summer all over the world!

Where in the World is the USA Logo - Contest Winners

1st – Chris Daily (IAFF Local 344) :: 2nd – Tom Mattingley (IBEW 351) :: 3rd – Jude Fleshman (UA Local 189)

To vie for a top-spot in the competition and the hope of winning one of three great USA logo prize packages valued at nearly $500, USA members were asked to register on the USA website and request free USA logo stickers. Creativity was the name of the game with images submitted for an all-staff committee vote at the USA’s national headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, with the USA logo found on everything from motorcycles and steering wheels on boats, to fishing gear and… even freshly caught fish!

Social media kept the friendly completion going for the duration of the contest with interactive comments coming in from USA members casting their ‘votes’ and egging on participation by fellow members with comments like, “Nice catch,” “Beautiful scenery,” and “Awesome photo!”

Earning the First Place win with a bird’s-eye-view from atop Ladder 26 starting his day at the Detroit Fire Department, was Chris Daily, a member of IAFF Local 344 from Redford, Michigan. The creative shot shows the USA logo prominently displayed on his helmet with Chris perched high above the truck. His Grand Prize package, valued at roughly $250, included a gun cleaning kit, USA logo polo shirt, orange wool hunter hat and a 50th anniversary special edition Buck Knife.

The 2nd Prize win was Tom Mattingley’s photo on-the-job with his USA logo proudly displayed on his hardhat, ready to weld a 500,000 volt 4” Aluminum Round Bus in a New Jersey switch yard. Tom, a member of IBEW Local 351 and resident of Clayton, NJ, won a prize package valued at roughly $115 that included a USA logo Carhartt duck jacket, ball cap and “Best of Brotherhood Outdoors” DVD.

Taking home 3rd Prize was Jude Fleshman, a member of UA Local 189 from Grove City, Ohio. Jude’s picture of a ‘gone fishing’ display he created caught the eye of judges early on in the competition as one of the very first entries. Jude’s prize package, valued at roughly $95, included a USA logo fleece jacket, ball cap, and a 50th anniversary special edition Buck Knife.

Thanks to all who participated with us in the “Where in the World is the USA Logo?” contest and for helping us find out that our members are the best when it comes to showing their union pride and brotherhood in USA membership.

Union Volunteers team up to put roof on picnic pavilion, repair bridge decking at Horicon Marsh

June 26, 2014 in Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Union volunteers spent the day building a roof on a picnic pavilion, to help shelter visitors, along The Egret Trail at Horicon Marsh, in Mayville, Wisconsin.

Union volunteers spent the day building a roof on a picnic pavilion, to help shelter visitors, along The Egret Trail at Horicon Marsh, in Mayville, Wisconsin.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), is pleased to announce the completion of its newest Work Boots on the Ground all-volunteer conservation initiative at Horicon Marsh, in Mayville, Wisconsin. Union volunteers, all members of the South Central Wisconsin and Northeast Building and Construction Trades councils, donated their time and expert trade skills to put a roof on a picnic pavilion and repair bridge decking on June 13. Throughout the day, workers installed roof tresses and shingles and repaired and replaced portions of a bridge deck, weathered and in need of refurbishing. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program brings together union members from around the country to volunteer for conservation.

Dave Branson, Executive Director of the South Central Wisconsin Building and Construction Trades Council, headed up the project. “It’s nice to get out in the community and do something for the marsh out there that people can use and enjoy,” Branson said.

Union volunteers included members of Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 599, Sheet Metal Workers Local 18, Plumbers Local 75, Bricklayers Local 13, Electrical Workers 159 and 494 and the South Central Federation of Labor. Wisconsin resident Tim Bindl, who formerly coordinated the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program, lent some additional elbow grease to the project.

A picnic pavilion at Horicon Marsh, has a new roof thanks to the expert trade skills of union volunteers who participated in the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s `Work Boots on the Ground,’ conservation initiative in Wisconsin.

A picnic pavilion at Horicon Marsh, has a new roof thanks to the expert trade skills of union volunteers who participated in the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s `Work Boots on the Ground,’ conservation initiative in Wisconsin.

“Union volunteers bring expert skills and sincere dedication to our Work Boots on the Ground projects all over the country,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “They bring a strong work-ethic to the job in small towns and big cities, making a huge impact in our daily lives. They want to give back in their local communities and being part of our conservation initiatives gives them a way to do that.”

Erin Railsback, Visitor Services Manager at Horicon Marsh, said The Egret Trail, where the work took place, is the most popular site on the refuge.

“It’s fantastic that this group was able to donate the time to help enhance the facilities for our visitors,” Railsback said. “Because of their volunteerism and commitment to conservation and education, thousands of visitors will be able to take advantage of the shelter…and continue to enjoy access to the marsh itself.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s two annual ‘Take Kids Fishing Day’ events in Wisconsin teach kids the joy of fishing and invite families to enjoy public access to the outdoors

June 23, 2014 in Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Adults and kids enjoyed fishing and public access to the outdoors together, fishing in Eau Claire and La Crosse, WI, thanks to union volunteers who supported the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground ‘Take Kids Fishing Days’ events.

Adults and kids enjoyed fishing and public access to the outdoors together, fishing in Eau Claire and La Crosse, WI, thanks to union volunteers who supported the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground ‘Take Kids Fishing Days’ events.

Two Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Work Boots on the Ground ‘Take Kids Fishing Day’ events over the June 7-8 weekend in La Crosse and Eau Claire, Wisconsin, gave nearly 170 youth the chance to enjoy the thrill of baiting hooks, eating a picnic lunch, taking home prize giveaways – and reeling in some nice fish! For many of the kids who came out to fish, it was their first time holding a fishing pole or touching a fish.

Both events were free and open to the public thanks to the generous volunteerism, sponsorship and support of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO, which hosted the Eau Claire event, and the Western Wisconsin Building and Construction Trades Council and Greater West Central Area Labor Council, who hosted the La Crosse event.

Volunteering this year at Carson Park in Eau Claire and Pettibone Lagoon in La Crosse were members of USW Local 449, OPEIU Locals 272, 277 and 599, LIUNA Locals 140 and 268, IAM Locals 21 and 1115 and District Lodge 66, AFTW Local 3605, UA Local 434, AFSCME Locals 1914, 1449, 2484 and 2748, BLET Local 13, IBEW Local 14, CWA Local 4640, OPCMIA Local 599, and BCT&GM Local 22.

“Engaging youth in the outdoors is one of the key reasons we created Work Boots on the Ground…Involving them early in conservation is key to passing on our outdoor heritage,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “These free events, staffed entirely by volunteers from the labor community, are a prime example of the value of introducing youth and their families to a healthy, outdoor pastime and the value of union members in our communities.”

Local unions and companies also generously provided funds and supplies for these events, and additional funding was provided by a private donor from the Jesse A. Skrove Memorial Fund to honor Jesse, an avid fisherman who had appreciated the event’s purpose and who recently passed away. At the events, each youth angler was given a ticket for a chance to win a prize, and every ticket was a winner. Kids were awarded giveaways like tackle boxes and fishing poles.

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“Those that won fishing poles, of course, wanted to use them, so we had volunteers busy rigging them up,” said Terry Hayden, Eau Claire event organizer, President of the Western Wisconsin Building and Construction Trades Council and Business Manager of UA Local 434. “Being connected with nature as a youth helps build a healthy respect for the world we live in.”

Because the events were planned to take place during Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend, adults who did not hold fishing licenses had the opportunity to fish along with the kids.

Bill Brockmiller, President of the Western Wisconsin AFL-CIO, headed up the family fun in La Crosse. “Not only do kids love to fish, but it’s satisfying for grown-ups to watch a kid who’s all smiles while catching a fish…and there’s no better time than now to get a kid hooked on fishing.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Union volunteers build roof for archery range at Everglades Youth Conservation Camp

May 29, 2014 in Conservation News, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

A project of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground conservation program.

The idea of putting a permanent roof on the youth archery range at the J.W Corbett Wildlife Management Area’s Everglades Youth Conservation Camp in West Palm Beach, Florida has come to fruition thanks to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and its Work Boots on the Ground program that mobilizes skilled union members for conservation.

A new, permanent roof, built by union volunteers provides shelter at the archery range for kids at J.W Corbett Wildlife Management Area’s Everglades Youth Conservation Camp.

A new, permanent roof, built by union volunteers provides shelter at the archery range for kids at J.W Corbett Wildlife Management Area’s Everglades Youth Conservation Camp.

Members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 32 and Electrical Workers Local 359 showcased the program in full force as they utilized their trade skills to cover the 84-foot archery range. Side by side, utilizing tools, plywood, metal tin, airguns and compressors, they worked throughout the weekend, May 3-4, to finish the job in record time and expert fashion.

According to Lynne Hawk, Regional Hunter Safety Coordinator with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, the archery range provides year-round hunter safety courses for children and adults, as well as school and community groups.

Hawk facilitated the project with the leadership of the Work Boots on the Ground volunteer project leader Rick Pazos, a training director and member of SMART Local 32. “Rick did an excellent job. This project wouldn’t have gotten done if it weren’t for him. The guys (all) worked really hard…I am so thankful for all of them.”

“The archery range is used by kids every day during the facility’s summer camp,” added Hawk, “…We now have a new roof on the archery range that should last for many, many years to come.”

Union members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 32 and Electrical Workers Local 359 utilized their expert trade skills to cover the 84-foot archery range.

Union members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 32 and Electrical Workers Local 359 utilized their expert trade skills to cover the 84-foot archery range.

Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, said the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program was created to form collaborations all over the country on behalf of conservation, to drive projects faced with narrowing budgets, staffing and materials challenges.

“The people who volunteer with us to identify projects, raise money to support them and show up in numbers to provide the hands-on labor all have a commitment to conservation and their communities,” Myers said. “They want to give back and find that our Work Boots on the Ground collaborations provide a vehicle to get involved and make a difference for future generations.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Volunteers team up to refurbish fishing pier at Sheldon Lake State Park

May 21, 2014 in Adopt A Park, Conservation News, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Workers from local community and union trades in the Houston area lend expert skills, time, supplies.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), a Nashville-based non-profit, conservation organization, is pleased to announce the completion of its latest Work Boots on the Ground project that brought together volunteers to refurbish a fishing pier at Sheldon Lake State Park, in Houston, Texas.

On Saturday, May 3, about 30 skilled workers from the Houston-area union trades along with members of the community, volunteered their time and talents to replace floor boards and hand rails and to make needed repairs to the pier.

Members of Ironworkers Local 84, IUEC Local 31, IBEW Local 716, IBEW Local 66 and UA 62 all came out, contributing to the job well-done. The project was led by Ed Vargocko, Business Manager of Ironworkers Local 84 in Houston.

Skilled workers from the Houston-area union trades and members of the community, volunteered their time and talents to replace floor boards and hand rails and to make needed repairs to a fishing pier at Houston's Sheldon Lake State Park.

Skilled workers from the Houston-area union trades and members of the community, volunteered their time and talents to replace floor boards and hand rails and to make needed repairs to a fishing pier at Houston’s Sheldon Lake State Park.

“If we don’t give back to our community, who will?” said Vargocko of Rosenberg, Texas. “I like the idea of a state park so close to Houston, so that many people who would not regularly get a chance to be outdoors and fish have a safe pier to fish off of.”

Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, said the organization created Adopt-A-Park as a branch of Work Boots on the Ground to address the issues of budget challenges and a backlog of repair and maintenance projects facing America’s parks.

“American’s more than 7,000 state parks are an intrinsic part of our country’s culture and legacy,” said Myers. “All over the country, we are forming committees, identifying needs, raising money and taking on projects to ensure future generations can enjoy the outdoor opportunities that we enjoy today.”

Kelley Morris, Park Superintendent of Sheldon Lake State Park, said the park, just 20 miles north of downtown Houston, is available to the public, free of charge. “It is exciting to have the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance dedicate their time and give back to the community so others have a chance to experience and appreciate the angling and wildlife viewing opportunities that the reservoir provides.”

About USA’s Work Boots on the Ground: USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program is a volunteer initiative that mobilizes skilled labor union volunteers to tackle hands-on conservation projects.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Volunteers rebuild footbridge at Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art in Millersburg, PA

May 14, 2014 in Conservation News, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

A project of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ conservation program

A dedicated group of volunteers from the Central Pennsylvania Building Trades Council and the Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art’s Lands and Trails Committee celebrated the opening of a new footbridge this week, thanks to the completion of a conservation project spearheaded by the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) ‘Work Boots on the Ground” program. The project, involved the hands-on work of about 12 volunteers over two consecutive weekends in April, to tear out the existing, temporary, all-wood bridge and to reconstruct it as a permanent structure, complete with new hand rails and gravel.

Union workers and members of the community volunteered expert skills, time and talents to rebuild a walking bridge at Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art.

Union workers and members of the community volunteered expert skills, time and talents to rebuild a walking bridge at Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art.

The USA’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ program, a volunteer initiative that mobilizes skilled labor union volunteers for conservation projects, was tapped by long-time USA member and Ned Smith Board of Trustees Member Matt Roberts. When he learned about the Center’s need to replace its older footbridge in disrepair, Roberts brought the idea for a ‘Work Boots’ project to the attention of the Central Pennsylvania Building Trades Council, and they agreed it would be a great fit.

“I felt this was a perfect situation to bring it all together,” said Roberts, noting the weather was the only small challenge to the volunteer crews out on the job to complete the project. “We had rain from lunch on,” he said, “but the guys wouldn’t give in to Mother Nature’s fury.”

Dedicated crews made up of union sheet metal workers, steel workers and carpenters, along with community volunteers from the Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art worked to complete the bridge over a two-day period, despite the weather.

Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance, said that speaks to the spirit of the outdoorsmen and women who enjoy membership in the USA, volunteering their time and talents to support conservation projects.

A new walking bridge is enjoyed by visiting patrons at the Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art thanks to the USA's 'Work Boots on the Ground' conservation program.

A new walking bridge is enjoyed by visiting patrons at the Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art thanks to the USA’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ conservation program.

“There’s no group of people with more skills and know-how than union members to help take on today’s conservation challenges,” said Myers, who founded the non-profit organization seven years ago. “All over the country, we are forming committees, identifying needs, raising money and taking on projects to ensure future generations can enjoy the outdoor opportunities that we enjoy today.”

Ned Smith Center for Nature & Art is home to 12-miles of hiking trails and offers educational value for the thousands of students, families, hikers, anglers and hunters who visit the Center’s 500-plus acres each year. The Center’s Executive Director, Stephen Quigley, is grateful for the partnership between the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance and the Center, in particular, its joint commitment to educating youth.

“The union contractors and partners involved in this project have personal lives as sportsmen themselves, enjoying the outdoors…and know that the youth today are not as connected to the environment as a generation ago,” said Quigley. “While the team worked well together and had fun doing the project, they understand that there is a significant purpose in using these projects as a catalyst for educating our youth about the environment and conservation of our natural resources.”


About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

For more information on the Ned Smith Center’s lands, galleries and education programming, please visit www.nedsmithcenter.org.

Volunteers donate skills to restore wildlife habitat and trails at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve

May 8, 2014 in Conservation News, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Project spearheaded by Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s conservation-focused “Work Boots on the Ground” program

All-volunteer work crews, made up of skilled union trade workers and both adults and youth from the community, refurbished a trail at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve.

All-volunteer work crews, made up of skilled union trade workers and both adults and youth from the community, refurbished a trail at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve.

A community-wide conservation effort to help restore the wildlife and recreational coastal wetlands of Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve in Huntington Beach, California, made big strides this month with a generous display of commitment by more than 100 volunteers who came out on Sunday, May 4 to support another Union Sportsmen Alliance Work Boots on the Ground project.

All-volunteer work crews, made up of skilled union trade workers and both adults and youths from the community, joined together to work on a one-mile stretch of trail, measuring 5-feet wide. Some conducted trail maintenance by pulling weeds to remove invasive species, while others repaired wood and metal fencing and removed graffiti.

All the hard work was to refurbish Bolsa Chica’s more than 500 acres of wildlife habitat, a known source of food and rest for hundreds of ducks and other migratory birds.

Community volunteers and members of expert union trades locals worked together to remove invasive species, remove graffiti and repair wood and metal fencing.

Community volunteers and members of expert union trades locals worked together to remove invasive species, remove graffiti and repair wood and metal fencing.

USA members Rene Thorn and daughter Jodi Thorn, supporters of Bolsa Chica wetlands conservation efforts, invited the collaboration between the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program in 2012. Before the day’s efforts had wrapped, a third “Work Boots” project to benefit Bolsa Chica was already in the works.

“It’s great to see a project that brings a community together,” said Rene, a member of UA Local 250, from Huntington Beach. “It shows the community that organized laborers and their families care about the community where they live and work. Work Boots on the Ground is a great way to show who we are and that we care about conservation and our communities.”

In addition to ramping up community volunteers for the project, Rene called on some union labor friends who would bring expert trade skills to the job. Brent Beasley, a USA member and Business Manager with RWAW Local 220, from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, stepped up to lead the charge as project coordinator.
“It’s good to give back,” said Brent, who brought in a host of expertly-skilled tradesmen and women made up collectively of operating engineers, painters, electricians, plumbers, pipefitters, roofers, brick masons and sheet metal workers, to name a few.

Youth volunteers worked tirelessly along the trail at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve.

Youth volunteers worked tirelessly along the trail at Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve.

“Everybody was working together, brainstorming,” he said of the experts who turned out to lend diverse talents. “We work efficiently, quicker and do more of it.”

Brent also noted the positive display of community adult role models at work alongside volunteer youth who came out with their families. “Kids were pulling weeds…while ironworkers were doing rust remediation,” he said. “It’s good to see the younger (generation) understanding what it means to work with their community.”

As an added highlight of USA’s “Work Boots” collaborative, Field & Stream helped to rally and showcase the volunteers as part of the national outdoor magazine’s “Hero for a Day” program. Camera crews captured the volunteers, calling them, “heroes of conservation” in a segment scheduled to broadcast on fieldandstream.com as a part of its 10-video series

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Fred Myers interviewed on The Union Edge Talk Radio

May 2, 2014 in Articles, Press Release

USA's Executive Director and CEO Fred Myers

USA’s Executive Director and CEO Fred Myers

USA’s Executive Director and CEO Fred Myers interviewed by radio host Charles Showalter LIVE on The Union Edge Talk Radio Show. On the program, Myers discusses the mission of his nonprofit organization to unite the union community for conservation.

Full show here:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Find Fred’s interview :30 into the tape.


Direct link to file : http://unionsportsmen.org/site/assets/downloads/usa-audio/The-Union-Edge-Talk-Radio-Show-4-21-14_seg3_2.mp3

Volunteers to team up Saturday to refurbish fishing pier at Sheldon Lake State Park

April 29, 2014 in Press Release

Workers from local union trades in the Houston area lend expert skills, time, supplies

he Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), a Nashville-based non-profit, conservation organization, announces its newest ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ initiative, taking place Saturday, May 3, 8 a.m. – noon at the Sheldon Lake State Park, 15315 Beaumont Hwy, in Houston, Texas.

When: Saturday, May 3, from 8 a.m. – noon CT
Where: Sheldon Lake State Park, 15315 Beaumont Hwy, in Houston, Texas.
What: Forty-plus skilled union volunteers refurbishing a fishing pier in need of repair, a designated conservation project of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ program.

This fishing pier at Lake Sheldon State Park will be good as new Saturday, thanks to hands-on volunteer efforts this Saturday to refurbish the bridge, in conjunction with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ program.

This fishing pier at Lake Sheldon State Park will be good as new Saturday, thanks to hands-on volunteer efforts this Saturday to refurbish the bridge, in conjunction with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ program.

Interview Opportunities: (Each available prior to May 3 and on-site the day-of the event.)
Kelley Morris, Park Superintendent, Sheldon Lake State Park, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. – (832) 588-4738
Ed Vargocko, Volunteer Project Coordinator & Business Manager, Ironworkers Local 84 – (713) 824-5130

Photo Opportunities: Forty-plus volunteers from local Houston-area union trades refurbishing the fishing pier, which will involve the replacement of floor boards, hand rails and repairs to the walkway leading up to the pier.

About Work Boots on the Ground: USA’s ‘Work Boots on the Ground’ program is a volunteer initiative that mobilizes skilled labor union volunteers to tackle hands-on conservation projects. Saturday’s project, the refurbishing of a fishing pier, is led by Ed Vargocko, Business Manager of Ironworkers Local 84, in Houston.

“If we don’t give back to our community, who will?” said Vargocko of Rosenberg, Texas. “I like the idea of a state park so close to Houston, so that many people who would not regularly get a chance to be outdoors and fish have a safe pier to fish off of.”

Fred Myers, Executive Director and CEO of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance said the organization created the program to address the issue of budget challenges and a backlog of repair and maintenance projects facing America’s parks.

“American’s more than 7,000 state parks are an intrinsic part of our country’s culture and legacy,” said Myers. “All over the country, we are forming committees, identifying needs, raising money and taking on projects to ensure future generations can enjoy the outdoor opportunities that we enjoy today.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

USA Contact:
Laura Tingo, Public Relations Coordinator – 615.831.6795/laurat@unionsportsmen.org

Event Contacts:
Kelley Morris, Park Superintendent, Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept. – (832) 588-4738
Ed Vargocko, Project Coordinator & Business Manager, Ironworkers Local 84 – (713) 824-5130

Union metal trades workers volunteer expert skills to restore views at Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon

April 4, 2014 in Adopt A Park, Articles, Conservation News, General, Press Release

A cleared and restored hiking trail at Providence Canyon State Park – known to locals as Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon in southwest Georgia – is the result of hands-on, volunteer support from the Columbus Metal Trades Council. Workers removed fallen trees, cut dead limbs overhead and refreshed trail markers in support of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) Adopt-A-Park program, which brings together skilled union volunteers to help renew, rebuild and restore America’s parks, so they will be here to enjoy for future generations.

Workers from Columbus Metal Trades Council removed fallen trees, cut dead limbs overhead and refreshed trail markers at Providence Canyon State Park.

Workers from Columbus Metal Trades Council removed fallen trees, cut dead limbs overhead and refreshed trail markers at Providence Canyon State Park.

A hiking trail with scenic views of a 550 ft. canyon is the key draw to Providence Canyon State Park, but until recently, it was dotted with downed trees and limbs and severely overgrown with vegetation, which extended up to 15 feet beyond the fence that runs along the canyon rim. As Park Manager Tracy Yearta was deciding how to address the trail, he got a call from Dave Hall, Recording Secretary for the Columbus Metal Trades Council (CMTC).

“It was a very pleasant surprise to get that call,” said Yearta, who has managed both Providence Canyon State Park and Florence Marina since the parks were restructured a few years back. “It got me rejuvenated because we were trying to form a game plan to tackle a section of park we felt needed the most attention, knowing we didn’t have the manpower to do the whole thing.”

Located in Fort Benning, GA, the CMTC is an umbrella group of six unions including IBEW Local 613, IUOE Local 926, LiUNA Local 515, UA Local 52, IAMAW Local 2699 and SMART Local 85. Its leadership learned about USA’s Adopt-A-Park at a union convention, and it sparked their interest.

After a few discussions with USA’s conservation project coordinator, Hall, nominated to organize the project, contacted Yearta and laid plans for volunteers to clean up the 7-mile trail beginning at the park entrance.

On Feb. 8, Hall, CMTC President Mike Culpepper and members of each CMTC union along with Pablo Diaz, the human resources manager of CMTC’s main contractor Tiya Management, and his son met up with park staff equipped with chainsaws and determination.

A hiking trail with scenic views of a 550 ft. canyon in Providence Canyon State Park is cleared and refurbished, thanks to the volunteer efforts of tradesmen and women from the Columbus Metal Trades Council.

A hiking trail with scenic views of a 550 ft. canyon in Providence Canyon State Park is cleared and refurbished, thanks to the volunteer efforts of tradesmen and women from the Columbus Metal Trades Council.

“Seven miles is a lengthy area to clear, and when we ran into the other team at the end of the day, you could see the light in everyone’s eyes,” said Hall. “It was one of the most fulfilling events I have ever been a part of! Everyone…had a sense of pride knowing the work we were doing would have a lasting impression on the park staff and our community.”

Following the success of the project, the CMTC has already had follow up discussions with Yearta about more joint projects like improvements to dock and cabin facilities at Florence Marina.

“I just can’t say enough how much I appreciate those guys taking their personal time to come out and help. … It’s really important to the visitors and park staff,” Yearta said. “We basically have one team taking care of two parks, so groups like the Columbus Metal Trades Council are a tremendous asset to the park system.”

“The USA’s success at Providence Canyon State Park is a perfect example of how union members give back to their communities outside the workplace,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “These men and women bring specialized skills to the table to get the job done right. Our Adopt-A-Park program helps meet challenges our cherished parks face due to tight budgets and limited manpower.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Welcomes Chemical Workers Union

March 28, 2014 in Articles, General, Press Release

Partnership validates shared appreciation for the outdoors, value of union membership

USA Members enjoy friendly-competition and brotherhood at USA sporting clays tournaments held all over the country

USA Members enjoy friendly-competition and brotherhood at USA sporting clays tournaments held all over the country

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is pleased to announce that the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) has signed on as the USA’s newest membership partner, joining the ranks of fellow AFL-CIO affiliated unions.

USA membership partners, like the ICWUC, provide funding and resources that support the USA’s mission to unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

“The USA is endorsed by the AFL-CIO and is North America’s only 100% union-dedicated outdoor conservation organization,” said Frank Cyphers, President of the International Chemical Workers Union Council. “No longer do you need to reach out to any other organization for your hunting, fishing or sport shooting needs to be connected to the outdoors. You have it all in the USA.”

Union trades volunteers on-the-job with USA’s Work Boots on the Ground, Adopt-A-Park conservation projects.

Union trades volunteers on-the-job with USA’s Work Boots on the Ground, Adopt-A-Park conservation projects.

As an extension of the partnership between the USA and the ICWUC, all active and retired members of the union can take advantage of a no-cost USA membership – giving them access to the USA’s national magazine, Union Sportsmen’s Journal; website; special discounts; exclusive prizes and more. USA Members are also eligible to apply for a chance to win a hunting or fishing trip on its national, award-winning television program, Brotherhood Outdoors.

“The USA is committed to its growing community of union sportsmen and women, to enhance quality of life outside the workplace and help ensure a bright future for outdoor traditions,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Bridge Dedication at Montgomery Bell State Park Tennessee

March 28, 2014 in Adopt A Park, Articles, Conservation News, Press Release

Bridge Dedication at Montgomery Bell State Park to recognize volunteers who donated supplies, expert trade skills, to rebuild a walking bridge washed away by the 2010 floods.

Volunteers from the Nashville Building & Construction Trades carry lumber to the site of walking bridge in the heart of Montgomery Bell State Park that was washed away in the 2010 floods.

Volunteers from the Nashville Building & Construction Trades carry lumber to the site of walking bridge in the heart of Montgomery Bell State Park that was washed away in the 2010 floods.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), a Nashville-based non-profit, conservation organization, is pleased to announce a Bridge Dedication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony planned to recognize volunteers who rebuilt a walking bridge in the heart of Montgomery Bell State Park washed away by the 2010 floods, as part of USA’s Adopt-A-Park program. **The event will take place on Saturday, March 29, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, at Montgomery Bell State Park, 1020 Jackson Hill Road, in Burns, Tenn.

**Program for Photo Opportunities:

10:30 – 11:15 – Welcome/Refreshments – Woodhaven Picnic Pavilion – Live Bluegrass musicians, Boy Scouts of America Troop #85 and Guests enjoy a short program led by Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. Myers is slated to recognize the union volunteers from the Nashville Building & Construction Trades, Spann Brothers Lumber Co., and Montgomery Bell State Park.

11:15 a.m. – 11:45 – Guests enjoy a nature trail ranger walk to the bridge.

11:45 a.m. – Noon – Ribbon cutting; Guests take first “ceremonious” walk across the bridge.
All lumber used to build the bridge is reclaimed wood from fallen trees in the park.

Visitors to Montgomery Bell State Park enjoy a walk across a newly-constructed walking bridge made entirely from reclaimed wood from fallen trees in the park.

Visitors to Montgomery Bell State Park enjoy a walk across a newly-constructed walking bridge made entirely from reclaimed wood from fallen trees in the park.

“American’s more than 7,000 state parks are an intrinsic part of our country’s culture and legacy, but they’re continually faced with budget challenges and often have a backlog of repair and maintenance projects,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “USA’s Adopt-A-Park program brings together volunteers to help renew, rebuild and restore America’s parks so they will be here to enjoy for future generations.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Fourth annual sporting clays shoot to benefit Nashville-based, non-profit’s conservation projects

March 12, 2014 in Articles, General, Press Release

A winning team from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s 2013 Nashville Area shooting tour poses with awarded trophies

A winning team from the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s 2013 Nashville Area shooting tour poses with awarded trophies

The Unions Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) popular shooting tour returns to Tennessee for its 4th Annual Nashville Area Sporting Clays Shoot on Saturday, March 22 at the Tennessee Clay Target Complex, 1100 County Hospital Road, in Nashville. Registration is scheduled to take place from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and the event’s shotgun start is slated for 9:30 a.m. Awards will be given to the highest scoring teams and top individual shooter.

The USA, North America’s only outdoor organization that unites union sportsmen and women to volunteer their time, talents and labor skills to conservation projects hosts roughly 30 sporting clays tournaments each year all over the country. The events serve not only as fun-filled venues for recreation among outdoor enthusiasts, but also as a starting point for volunteer conservation projects. In Greater Nashville, the generous volunteerism of union workers from the Nashville Building Trades – and, Spann Brothers Lumber Co., resulted in the complete rebuild of a walking bridge at Montgomery Bell State Park that had been washed away by the 2010 floods.

Patrons enjoy a stroll across the newly-constructed walking bridge at Montgomery Bell State Park, in Burns, Tenn.

Patrons enjoy a stroll across the newly-constructed walking bridge at Montgomery Bell State Park, in Burns, Tenn.

“The USA is committed to educating future generations of sportsmen and women about the importance of being involved in preserving our country’s outdoor heritage through hands-on conservation projects,” said Fred Myer’s, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “USA shoots are an integral way to bring together a group of men and women who enjoy the outdoors and value a hard day’s work and giving back to their communities.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Maryland father and son featured as guest hunters in March 16 episode of Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV

March 6, 2014 in Articles, Brotherhood Outdoors TV, General, Press Release

USA Member Wess Ringgold and son, Josh Ringgold enjoy a father, son pheasant hunt with Brotherhood Outdoors TV, March 16, 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

USA Member Wess Ringgold and son, Josh Ringgold enjoy a father, son pheasant hunt with Brotherhood Outdoors TV, March 16, 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) national outdoor TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, takes Wess Ringgold, and his son Josh Ringgold, both of Maryland, on an Iowa pheasant hunt, Sunday, March 16, at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

The episode takes viewers on an eventful, exciting trip to Iowa’s historical and charming Hole N the Wall Lodge on a pheasant hunt, at the height of the season. The show is a collection of firsts for the father, son hunting duo. It’s their first time hunting pheasants together, Josh’s first time on an airplane and it’s the first time either of them has experience being on-camera in the middle of a TV show production.

“I’ve been applying for a guest spot on this TV show since USA asked for applications,” said Wess, a retired member of UA Local 602. “This was the hunt of a lifetime that I will always remember, and I know Josh will too.”

As they join Wess and Josh on their three-day adventure, viewers will enjoy scenic views of amazing landscapes, the sight of first snow on the ground at dawn and the thrill of birds flying
and the dogs in action, retrieving the day’s harvest. “There were cameras on our guns, our chests and a photographer was with us at all times,” Wess said, adding that he was struck by the realization of what it takes to film a television program.

Wess’ appreciation of the outdoors and the value of union brotherhood started early in life and he is proud to share it all with Josh, a union firefighter, from Lusby.

“I grew up in a family that spent much of the time in the outdoors camping, traveling, shooting, hunting and fishing,” he said.

“I respect and commend any person who gets up every day and goes to work to support themselves and their families regardless if it be union or not…I just feel lucky to be a union member.”

Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sunday, March 16, at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Brotherhood Outdoors, winner of “Best Combination Show” in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards, rewards union sportsmen and women who are committed to preserving North America’s outdoor heritage with a guided trip or the opportunity to show off their guiding skills and local hunting or fishing destinations on national TV.

Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Employee Benefit Systems, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, ULLICO and United Association/International Training Fund.

For more information about Brotherhood Outdoors, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance or Sportsman Channel, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv and www.facebook.com/brotherhoodoutdoorstv.


About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. television households and is available in HD. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel

Brotherhood Outdoors TV takes a Philippi, West Virginia coal miner on a Thanksgiving Day Illinois whitetail hunt

February 20, 2014 in Articles, Brotherhood Outdoors TV, General, Hunting, Press Release

Chad Keller

Chad Keller, a dedicated union coal miner from Philippi, West Virginia hunts Illinois whitetail with USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV, 11 a.m ET, March 9, on the Sportsman Channel.

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s (USA) national outdoor TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, takes Chad Keller, a union coal miner from Philippi, West Virginia, to Illinois, for a Thanksgiving Day white-tailed deer hunting adventure. The show airs Sunday, March 9, at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Chad has hunted deer for going on 30 years now, but when Brotherhood Outdoors took him on the all-expense-paid trip, he could hardly believe it.

“It was absolutely the best hunt I have ever experienced,” said Chad, a member of UMWA Local 9909, in Shinnston, West Virginia.

Chad’s personal commitment to conservation and his generous support of several charities and fundraising activities in his community is what caught the attention of the Brotherhood Outdoors’ producers.

It was Chad’s father, also a union coal miner, who passed down a love of the outdoors to him. Chad recently lost his dad, who he calls his lifelong hunting and fishing buddy, to black lung disease.  He worked in the mines for more than 40 years.

“Every time I go fishing or hunting, it brings back a flood of memories about all of the fun times I had with my dad,” Chad said.

Chad shares his dad’s commitment to carrying on the tradition, taking his two kids, other children in the family and their friends, fishing and hunting every chance he gets. “It’s our duty and obligation for the sport and the outdoors…to preserve the lessons that were passed down to us from our fathers and grandfathers,” he said.

The episode invites viewers to join Chad, Brotherhood Outdoors co-hosts Julie McQueen and Daniel Lee Martin and a welcoming host family that offers a warm setting for Chad’s first Thanksgiving Day spent away from his family with an invitation to share a bountiful, holiday luncheon in their home. Each year for three years running, Chad had brought home a Thanksgiving buck, and this day, his sights are set on keeping his record.

The excitement of the hunt really kicks in that night, when Chad finds himself breathless, face-to-face with a large buck just 50 yards out. Taking a monster buck is very different from having a shooter buck in your sight, especially when your weapon of choice is a bow and arrow.

“(Bow hunting) requires a lot of time and patience,” said Julie McQueen, co-host of Brotherhood Outdoors. “This hunt was difficult because of the long hours required to sit in the woods, and the weather was brutally cold on a few mornings.”

Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sunday, March 9, at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Brotherhood Outdoors, winner of “Best Combination Show” in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards, rewards union sportsmen and women who are committed to preserving North America’s outdoor heritage with a guided trip or the opportunity to show off their guiding skills and local hunting or fishing destinations on national TV.

Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Employee Benefit Systems, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, ULLICO and United Association/International Training Fund.

For more information about Brotherhood Outdoors, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance or Sportsman Channel, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv and www.facebook.com/brotherhoodoutdoorstv.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. television households and is available in HD. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel

 

Meet USA Member Joe Harris – A retired union machinist who keeps conservation and volunteerism close to heart

February 14, 2014 in Brotherhood Outdoors TV, General, Meet a Member, Press Release

Joe Harris of Chesterfield County, Virginia, said family and hunting are what he lives for. A member of IAM Local 10 for going on 40 years, Joe has been an avid deer hunter for most of his life. These days, this USA member says he spends more time hunting goose and turkey. “I simply enjoy talking to the critters.”

Joe Harris was recently awarded a California hog and wingshooting trip for his first out-of-state hunting experience by USA's Brotherhood Outdoors TV

Joe Harris was recently awarded a California hog and wingshooting trip for his first out-of-state hunting experience by USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV

Conservation and volunteerism are at the heart of the USA’s daily mission, and it is a constant focus in Joe’s life too. He is a dedicated member of Waterfowl U.S.A., and each spring, he volunteers with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) on youth turkey hunts and the organization’s ‘Wheelin’ Sportsmen’ events, helping people living with disabilities enjoy activities in the outdoors like fishing and hunting. “I’ve been blessed with the good life,” Joe said. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and what I have with young and old alike.”

Joe fondly recalls when he learned the value of union membership and signed on for the first time.  He was asked to join while working as a machinist for a major tobacco company. “At the time, I did not know exactly what it meant,” said Joe, “but over the years, I realized how important it was to be a union shop and an involved union member. We are like a support group living a day-to-day type of life…you get to know each other.”

The bonds of union brotherhood touched Joe and his family immensely years ago, when a house fire devastated their home. During that tough time, Joe’s union brothers and sisters were there to help comfort the family and raise donations to help them rebuild their lives in the face of the unforeseen tragedy. “They took care of me, got me back on my feet,” said Joe. “It’s another example of people helping people.”

 

 

 

Union Volunteers Refurbish Trails at Government Canyon State Natural Area

February 6, 2014 in Adopt A Park, Articles, Conservation News, General, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) brought its Work Boots on the Ground conservation program to San Antonio, Texas on Jan. 17, when union trades workers, both from the local community and around the country, gathered to volunteer their time and expert skills to refurbish trails at Government Canyon State Natural Area, in San Antonio, Texas. The community project is one of many that took place last week during the city-wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. honorary observance.

san_antonio_275About 35 expert union trades workers generously volunteered their time and talents to clean up a 150-foot stretch of trail leading to the camping grounds at Government Canyon State Natural Area. Workers spent a large part of the day installing wood-frame barriers to help prevent future trail erosion and conserve the park’s natural setting.

The project was identified as a priority by the State Parks on its spring volunteer project list because most of the trail has been washed away by rain. It is the third conservation project the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program has sponsored and coordinated with the agency. The first project brought together union volunteers from Dallas and Fort Worth to evaluate and repair three bridges in various stages of disrepair at Cedar Hills State Park, making them safe for park visitors. The second, was the successful completion of a mobile deer blind, custom-built to provide safe, comfortable hunting for youth living with mobility and health challenges.

“The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is very proud to support the conservation efforts of Texas State Parks,” said Fred Myers, Executive Director of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. “These projects align perfectly with the USA’s conservation mission and the unique trade skills among our membership, now at 213,000.”

Union workers who turned out to complete the job in a one-day timeframe, gathered at Government Canyon State Natural Area from the nearby United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 142 and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Local 653, both in San Antonio. Others who helped to make the project a success represented unions from across the country, in town this week for the AFL-CIO 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference.

Gerry Showers, a business representative with IUPAT District Council 78 in Florida and President of the Central Florida Chapter Coalition of Black Trade Unions made the trip with a team of volunteers to pitch in on the project.

“This is a great opportunity to come together with all the unions to work in the community and give back,” Showers said. “It great to have the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance take part in this historic ongoing day of service for Martin Luther King Day.”

“We don’t usually have groups this large,” said Chris Holm superintendent of Government Canyon State Natural Area. “It’s amazing how hard these union members worked today to complete this well needed project. Thank you to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance for choosing our state natural area for their conservation project.”

Brotherhood Outdoors takes retired union machinist on California hog and wingshooting trip for his first out-of-state hunting experience

February 6, 2014 in Articles, Brotherhood Outdoors, Brotherhood Outdoors TV, General, Hunting, Press Release

By Laura Tingo

Joe Harris of Chesterfield County, Virginia, said family and hunting are what he lives for. A retired union machinist and member of IAM Local 10 for going on 40 years, Joe has been an avid deer hunter for most of his life. These days, this USA member says he spends more time hunting goose and turkey. “I simply enjoy talking to the critters.”

Joe Harris enjoys a California wingshooting and a hog hunt on USA's Brotherhood Outdoors.

Joe Harris enjoys a California wingshooting and hog hunt adventure on USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors.

Conservation and volunteerism are at the heart of the USA’s daily mission, and it is a constant focus in Joe’s life too. He is a dedicated member of Waterfowl U.S.A., and each spring, he volunteers with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) on youth turkey hunts and the organization’s ‘Wheelin’ Sportsmen’ events, helping people living with disabilities enjoy activities in the outdoors like fishing and hunting. “I’ve been blessed with the good life,” Joe said. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned and what I have with young and old alike.”

Joe fondly recalls when he learned the value of union membership and signed on for the first time. He was asked to join while working as a machinist for a major tobacco company. “At the time, I did not know exactly what it meant,” said Joe, “but over the years, I realized how important it was to be a union shop and an involved union member. We are like a support group living a day-to-day type of life…you get to know each other.”

The bonds of union brotherhood touched Joe and his family immensely years ago, when a house fire devastated their home. During that tough time, Joe’s union brothers and sisters were there to help comfort the family and raise donations to help them rebuild their lives in the face of the unforeseen tragedy. “They took care of me, got me back on my feet,” said Joe. “It’s another example of people helping people.”

When Brotherhood Outdoors learned about Joe’s dedication to his union and his passion for conservation and helping others, they invited him on a California wingshooting and hog hunt. Show co-host, Julie McQueen, said Joe made it clear throughout the three-day trip that he was a huge fan of the show. “When Julie called, I was like a kid at Christmas,” said Joe. “I didn’t sleep the whole night. It was a thrill to even be selected…the thrill of a lifetime.”

Let Joe’s infectious laughter and easy going, southern charm keep you smiling. Follow Joe and the crew as they hunt on 16,000 acres of prime hunting grounds at Northwind Outfitters ranch in California. To Joe, it’s the land of ‘pure heaven,’ and in his moment of awe, he quickly offers to move there to be a ranch hand.

Enjoy ongoing, laugh-along hilarity, as you watch Joe keep the crew in stitches while the birds are flying and the hogs are running. A mixed combo of Joe’s first out-of-state bird hunt with a side of hog action are all on the menu for this entertaining episode. And did we mention that Joe has never even seen a wild hog?

Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel
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Operating Engineer reels in donations for St. Jude’s Kids and some nice fish with Brotherhood Outdoors TV!

January 23, 2014 in Articles, Brotherhood Outdoors TV, Fishing, General, Press Release

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s national outdoor TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, takes veteran union operating engineer Bradley Richmond to Florida’s famed Boca Grande to fish for tarpon 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 9, on the Sportsman Channel.

Bradley Richmond fishes tarpon in Florida's famed Boca Grande with Brotherhood Outdoors Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Bradley Richmond fishes tarpon in Florida’s famed Boca Grande with Brotherhood Outdoors Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Pulling in a trophy silver king is something Bradley Richmond, a 14-year member of Operating Engineers Local 150 in Rockford, Illinois, had only dreamed of. An unexpected invitation from Brotherhood Outdoors to fish for tarpon in Florida with co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen and the show’s crew offered him the chance.

“I fish bluegill and crappie just about every weekend,” said Bradley, who is committed to conservation efforts as a member of his local fishing club. “Our club is looking to make it easier, cleaner and more accessible for those in our area that are as nuts about fishing as we are.”

Bradley, who said he began fishing as a young boy, is also committed to helping make life a little nicer for children battling cancer as a dedicated volunteer of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. It’s the only pediatric cancer center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance and where no child is ever denied treatment because of the family’s inability to pay.

For the past four years, Bradley has helped raise money for St. Jude’s Kids through an annual Rock River catfishing tournament. This year, Bradley is also involved in the planning and coordination of a fishing outing for children with disabilities with the hope of raising enough money to fund a new lift at the town’s community pool. “Over the years I have volunteered with many charities and have come to the realization that each and every one of us should be able to find some way to help those who cannot help themselves,” he said. “Helping others, even in the smallest way, can and does make a difference.”

Bradley also recognizes the importance of helping and supporting one another on the job. “It does my heart good to help the apprentices and give them a hand whenever needed,” said Bradley. “I had someone take me under his wing in my first few years and that man and I are still friends. We are in this together, all for one, one for all.”
Hard, good work is what his weekdays are about, but for Bradley, weekend-time means fishing-time.

“My dad started taking me fishing when I was four years old and it’s been a great love of mine ever since,” he said.
In this action-packed episode of Brotherhood Outdoors, Bradley reels in snook and mackerel and aims for the prized silver king as he and the Brotherhood Outdoors crew swap big fish stories. Viewers will feel the excitement when he ties into his very first tarpon, a 200-pounder that gets away, and cheer him on when he ties into another big one.

Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sunday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m. on the Sportsman Channel.

Brotherhood Outdoors, winner of “Best Combination Show” in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards, awards union sportsmen and women who are committed to preserving North America’s outdoor heritage with a guided trip or the opportunity to show off their guiding skills and local hunting or fishing destinations on national TV.

Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Employee Benefit Systems, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, ULLICO and United Association/International Training Fund.

For more information about Brotherhood Outdoors, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance or Sportsman Channel, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv and www.facebook.com/brotherhoodoutdoorstv.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. television households and is available in HD. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel
Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. on

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance achieves landmark climb in membership to 213,000

January 13, 2014 in Adopt A Park, Articles, Conservation News, Fishing, General, Hunting, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Increase in support powers expansion of conservation, youth initiatives

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) rings in the new year with landmark growth in its membership to 213,000 members. This positions the organization for ambitious growth and expansion in its delivery of wildlife conservation, outdoor access and youth mentoring projects.

Josh Kelly, 9, of Garden Ridge, Texas, sets his sights on a target from a custom deer blind in the Texas Hill Country. The successful completion of this USA’s Work Boots on the Ground conservation project, in partnership with volunteers and donations from the Houston-area Union community, affords kids with mobility issues to experience the thrill of the hunt safely and comfortably.

Josh Kelly, 9, of Garden Ridge, Texas, sets his sights on a target from a custom deer blind in the Texas Hill Country. The successful completion of this USA Work Boots on the Ground conservation project, in partnership with volunteers and donations from the Houston-area Union community, affords kids with mobility issues to experience the thrill of the hunt safely and comfortably.

As part of its growing events program, the USA plans to host 30 sporting clays shoots and 30 conservation dinners this year to bring together men and women from diverse trades for fellowship and fun while recruiting members and raising awareness and funds to support the USA’s conservation mission. Some of the USA’s celebrated conservation projects in 2013 included work on the Minnetonka Gun Club to expand shooting opportunities, the Annual Ohio Special Needs Youth Hunt, the construction of a custom deer blind in Houston, Texas, for kids with mobility challenges and a trail access improvement project at Virginia’s York River State Park. Each was made possible by a host of expertly-skilled volunteers who signed on to strengthen the outreach of the USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program.

USA Executive Director Fred Myers said aggressive membership drives, in partnership with its union partners tied to exciting national promotions with dedicated corporate partners like Remington and Carhartt, along with the expansion of its events program are some of the factors that fostered the organization’s significant increase in membership.

“As the USA membership grows, we are able to organize and engage more and more union sportsmen and women to volunteer their time and unmatched trade skills to improve access to the outdoors and further the conservation of wildlife and our natural resources,” Myers said. “Our members share a passion for hunting, fishing, shooting and the great outdoors and are eager to share it with today’s youth. Working together, we can make great strides in passing on our incredible outdoor heritage to future generations.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Kentucky laborer hunts Wisconsin whitetail on Jan.19 episode of Brotherhood Outdoors

January 2, 2014 in Brotherhood Outdoors TV, General, Press Release

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s national outdoor TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, brings viewers the story of union laborer Adam McCormick, of Robards, Kentucky, as he hunts whitetail deer in Wisconsin’s famed Buffalo County and then guides the show hosts on a coon hunt back home at 11 a.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 19 on the Sportsman Channel.

Adam can’t remember a time when he was not hunting. His dad took him squirrel hunting before he could even walk. “Since then, I have hunted just about everything there is to hunt,” said Adam, a 20-plus-year member of LIUNA Local 561, in Evansville, Indiana.

Adam McCormick, a Kentucky laborer from Robards, Kentucky,takes a break from the filming as a guest hunter on USA’s television series, Brotherhood Outdoors. Adam is featured in the Jan. 19 episode, set to air at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.

Adam McCormick, a Kentucky laborer from Robards, Kentucky, takes a break from the filming as a guest hunter on USA’s television series, Brotherhood Outdoors. Adam is featured in the Jan. 19 episode, set to air at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.

These days, Adam, who doubles as a youth archery instructor, doesn’t get to hunt as often as he would like. He spends most of his free time helping his daughters and other youth fill their hunting tags and teaching kids to properly shoot a bow as an archery coach at a local elementary school. When Brotherhood Outdoors learned about Adam’s commitment to teaching youth about hunting, conservation and carrying on the outdoor tradition with his own daughters, they awarded him the trip.

Join Brotherhood Outdoors co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen as they glass for whitetail with Adam in Wisconsin in the hopes of arrowing a trophy buck. Back at Adam’s Kentucky home, co-hosts Martin and McQueen join Adam, his daughters and a group of young girls on their very first coon hunt. You can’t be afraid of the dark for this episode!

Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sunday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m. on the Sportsman Channel. Brotherhood Outdoors, winner of “Best Combination Show” in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards and a contestant for “Best Educational/Instructional” show, in 2013, awards union sportsmen and women who are committed to preserving North America’s outdoor heritage with a guided trip or the opportunity to show off their guiding skills and local hunting or fishing destinations on national TV.
Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Employee Benefit Systems, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, ULLICO and United Association/International Training Fund.

For more information about Brotherhood Outdoors, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance or Sportsman Channel, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv and www.facebook.com/brotherhoodoutdoorstv.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. television households and is available in HD. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel

 

Challenging Idaho elk hunt honors family hunting tradition

December 20, 2013 in General, Press Release

Gene and Harlyn Barnes of Benton, Kentucky featured in Jan. 5 episode of  Brotherhood Outdoors, on the Sportsman Channel

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s national outdoor TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, will share the touching story of Benton, KY residents Gene Barnes, a chemical operator, and his 74-year-old father, Harlyn, as they challenge Idaho’s steep terrain and high altitude on a memory-filled elk hunt at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, January 5 on the Sportsman Channel.

Ask Gene how long he’s been hunting and fishing, and he’ll tell you it spans four decades of time spent with his dad and brother, Greg, in the great outdoors.  Last April, the family tragically and suddenly lost Greg when he died of severe injuries from a devastating explosion while on the job in Dayton, Ohio.

Harlyn Barnes and son Gene hunt Idaho elk in the series launch of USA's Brotherhood Outdoors at on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Harlyn Barnes and son Gene hunt Idaho elk in the series launch of USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors at on Sunday, Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. ET, on the Sportsman Channel.

Hundreds of Greg’s co-workers visited Greg and his family during those difficult weeks to share stories and to show their support. It struck Gene when he realized that even though his brother – a manager at a steel company in Ohio was not a union member – 90% of the people that came to visit Greg during those difficult weeks were members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW). To date, the local union has raised money for Greg’s wife and children to the tune of $10,000.

“It is truly amazing that there would be such an outpouring of love and generosity from union members toward a `company person.’ I know how well loved and respected my brother was by all of my fellow union brothers and sisters,” said Gene, who has been a proud union member of both IAMAW District 154 and the Teamsters union nearly as long as he’s been hunting and fishing.

Through all of this, Gene’s thoughts of concern stayed with his dad and the heartbreak of losing a son.  Realizing that Harlyn’s fondest memories surround hunting with his sons, Gene set out to help him recapture that feeling and achieve his longtime goal of taking an elk.
In this episode of Brotherhood Outdoors, the show’s co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen hope to make that happen as they take Gene and Harlyn into the woods near Pocatello and Bear Lake, Idaho with their sights set on an elk for Harlyn and some healing for both father and son.

As the group glasses for elk along steep hills, confront the cold and hike up to 7,500 feet in elevation to get Harlyn a shot at the iconic bull elk, Harlyn’s sheer determination and Gene’s desire to help his father achieve a dream are as vivid as the mountainous landscape.
Winner of a 2011 Sportsman Choice award, Brotherhood Outdoors awards union sportsmen and women who are committed to preserving North America’s outdoor heritage with a guided trip or the opportunity to show off their guiding skills and local hunting or fishing destinations on national TV.

Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Employee Benefit Systems, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, ULLICO and United Association/International Training Fund.

Experience the thrill when the father/son team spots a bull 190 yards out. Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 5 2014 on the Sportsman Channel.

For more information about Brotherhood Outdoors, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv and www.facebook.com/brotherhoodoutdoorstv.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The mission of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance is to unite the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage.

For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org  or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. television households and is available in HD. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance kicks off new season of Brotherhood Outdoors on Jan. 5

December 20, 2013 in General, Press Release

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance kicks off the 6th season of its award-winning TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors, with an elk hunt that is as challenging as it is inspiring. The show, winner of “Best Combination Show” in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards and a contestant for “Best Educational/Instructional” show in 2013, launches its exciting new season on Jan. 5 at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.

Harlyn Barnes and son Gene, a chemical operator, embark on a memory-filled Idaho elk hunt Jan. 5 on USA's Brotherhood Outdoors

Harlyn Barnes and son Gene, a chemical operator, embark on a memory-filled Idaho elk hunt Jan. 5 on USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors

Brotherhood Outdoors co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen, who double as the show’s skilled trip guides, invite viewers to come along and experience the behind-the-scenes excitement of outdoor gaming. Heart pounding scenes of hunters in anticipated pursuit of their quarry and the thrill of anglers fighting to pull in fish are woven into heartfelt stories of American’s hard-working sportsmen and women and their commitment to conservation and a hard day’s work.

The new season begins with a memory-filled elk hunt featuring Chemical Operator Gene Barnes, who sets his sights on helping his 74-year-old father, Harlyn Barnes, harvest a bull elk in memory of his late son and the cherished hunting trips the three of them shared together. Follow the group as they confront Idaho’s steep terrain and high altitude, hiking to 7,500 feet in elevation to a lookout point to glass for elk.

As the series continues, viewers will join an operating engineer on his quest for Boca Grande tarpon, chase coons through moonlit woods with a laborer, head to California with a machinist for some quick action wingshooting and his first hog, outwit or outwait a 150+ Kansas buck with a roofer and much more!

Brotherhood Outdoors awards union sportsmen and women who are committed to preserving North America’s outdoor heritage with a guided trip or the opportunity to show off their guiding skills and local hunting or fishing destinations on national TV.

Presented by Bank of Labor, Brotherhood Outdoors is also sponsored by the following unions, contractors and corporate partners: Buck Knives, Carhartt, Employee Benefit Systems, International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, ULLICO and United Association/International Training Fund.

For more information about Brotherhood Outdoors, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance or Sportsman Channel, visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv and www.facebook.com/brotherhoodoutdoorstv.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

About Sportsman Channel: Launched in 2003, Sportsman Channel, and Sportsman HD, is the only television and digital media company fully devoted to sportsmen in the United States, delivering entertaining and educational programming focused exclusively on hunting, shooting and fishing activities. Sportsman Channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. television households and is available in HD. Visit www.thesportsmanchannel.com, follow on Twitter, @SPORTSMANchnl (twitter.com/SPORTSMANchnl) and Like on Facebook, facebook.com/sportsmanchannel

Inshore and Off…Dream Louisiana Fishing Trip for Deserving IBEW Member

December 3, 2013 in Articles, Brotherhood Outdoors, Brotherhood Outdoors TV, Fishing, General, Press Release

A walk around the offices of IBEW Local 196 in Batavia, Illinois tells you a lot about Eric Patrick, the union man who runs the ship. He greets you with a warm welcome and leads you on a tour of the local that he has been a part of since 1988, introducing you to his staff along the way. His delivery, including an unrehearsed explanation of their roles, makes it apparent that he sincerely values each.

Walking the halls with Eric reveals a lot about his leadership style too. This business manager is accessible, involved and friendly, popping into offices to say hello and check in as he goes with a genuine smile and a gait that is quick and energetic.

“He’s very driven,” said Andrew Taft, one of Eric’s employees. “He actually looks at the union members almost like his own family. He shows a lot of concern when people need help, and he’s really out there to make sure that they’re okay.”

Eric Patrick fishing in Venice, Louisiana

Eric Patrick fishing in Venice, Louisiana

Eric’s wife, Joanna, said he doesn’t ask for much and calls him, “the most humble, modest person she’s ever met. He doesn’t do things for recognition,” she said. “He does things for the betterment of others.”

The positive impact Eric displays on his local extends into the community as well with his recent volunteer participation in a USA Work Boots on the Ground conservation project to benefit the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, Illinois. His crew of union volunteers removed dead tree limbs that hovered over a youth campground on its 750-acre farm. There, Illinois kids learn how to become future stewards of our natural resources through the study of clean air and water, wetland habitat, wildlife management and more. “It’s important to give back to the community,” Eric said.

While Eric hasn’t asked for much, this avid outdoorsman has dreamed of fishing big tuna near New Orleans one day. So, when Brotherhood Outdoors learned about Eric’s caring qualities and about how much he enjoys watching the show, they invited him to go on what he calls, “the trip of a lifetime.”

“I love the outdoors…and have always wanted to fish the trip that I was picked to go on in southern Louisiana,” said Eric, a USA member of almost five years.

In an upcoming episode of Brotherhood Outdoors, go along with Eric and co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen to Venice, Louisiana where Eric learns the not-so-easy ins and outs of fishing redfish and trout from a state-of-the-art Hobie kayak. When the crew moves offshore, chumming, cutting bait and spotting fish at the surface are all in a day’s work for Eric when he is volunteered to serve as deckhand. Experience the thrill as he pulls in a half dozen red snapper and four big cobia that Eric says, “hit like a tank, and ran like a missile.”

Will he return home with his `dream tuna’…or a big-fish-tale about the one that got away?

Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel.

Custom deer blind creates safe hunting access for kids with mobility challenges

November 21, 2013 in Articles, Conservation News, Press Release, Work Boots On The Ground

Volunteers raise money, support the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Work Boots on the Ground project

Nashville, TN – November 21, 2013 – A new, custom-built deer blind in the Western portion of the Texas Hill Country set the stage for kids with mobility issues to experience the thrill of the hunt safely and comfortably, due to the successful completion of a conservation project organized and sponsored by the Houston-area Union community and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA.) The blind, affectionately named “Hugo” for the USA member who solely constructed the park apparatus, was built to meet the needs of youth hunters dealing with a wide range of mobility issues from being wheelchair bound to using canes, crutches, or braces. Some are living with debilitating medical conditions from cancer to heart disease.

Sergio Hernandez, 17of San Antonio, TX

Sergio Hernandez,17 of San Antonio, TX

The project began last year, when members of the Houston-area union community came together for a conservation dinner organized by long-time USA members and project Co-Chairmen Michael Cramer and Mike Shelton to raise funds for the organization’s first conservation project in Texas. A year later in October, many of the same union tradesman who attended the first dinner attended the area’s second dinner to see the finished blind and to realize the project’s success.

“This truly was a labor of love,” said Cramer, financial secretary of UA Plumbers Local 68 in Houston. “It was a cooperative effort that is good for the community, good for youth with special needs and good for labor.”

Walt Ingram, the USA’s conservation dinner manager, said when the dinner attendees saw the slide presentation showing the stages of the project from start to finish, they clapped and cheered.

“Not only does it feel good,” said Ingram, “but it’s more about the idea that it is something we can contribute and leave behind to help our communities.”

“It’s really great to have an organization realize we had a need for a specialized hunting blind and to provide a mobile blind that exceeded our highest expectations,” said Jerry Warden, executive director of the Texas Youth Hunting Program, a division of the Texas Wildlife Association. “This blind is extremely well-designed and very user-friendly.”

Josh Kelly, 9 from Garden Ridge, TX

Josh Kelly, 9 from Garden Ridge, TX

Each year, the program, led by Warden and a team of trained volunteers, organizes 150 hunts, involving an average of 1500 kids in the sport.

The finished product is due to the engineering and ingenuity of Hugo Kraft, a member of IBEW Local 66 in Houston. After signing on to help out with the project and talking with Warden about the concept, Kraft was in his own words, “off to the lumber yard.”

“I brought it home and started building,” said Kraft, a USA member of five years. “I felt whatever it took, I’m donating that.”

Over the period of a few months, putting in the time Kraft equates to a weekend – the blind was finished. This deer stand is truly state-of-the-art with a wheelchair accessible ramp, a floor to withstand 500 lbs., a window ledge, an adjustable and a handmade gun prop, to support, “…a steadier, better shot,” he said.

Kraft’s final request to the conservation committee – to purchase a trailer to allow the blind safe transport between hunting grounds – was approved with a unanimous vote. Kraft went on to modify the trailer with enhancements of chains, a wench, straps, hardware, and even a spare tire.

“Anytime you can do something to help people with disabilities, it just makes you feel good,” he said.

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the Union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Final phase completes trail access improvements at Virginia’s York River State Park

November 19, 2013 in Adopt A Park, Conservation News, Press Release

Union volunteers turn out to complete the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Adopt-A-Park project

Nashville, TN – November 19, 2013 – A dedicated volunteer Union labor force arrived in numbers
on Nov. 18 at Virginia’s York River State Park to complete a project they started over the summer when they turned out to lend their expert skills and hard work to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Adopt-A-Park program. The project – chosen to improve walking and wheelchair access as well as overall safety for park visitors – brought together volunteers from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 666, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Locals 10, 540 and 110, the Virginia Building and Construction Trades Council, Virginia Pipe Trades, United Brotherhood of Carpenters Locals 613 and 388 and the Operative Plasters and Cement Masons Local 891.

Volunteers at work in Virginia's York River State Park

Volunteers at work in Virginia’s York River State Park

Volunteers and park employees arrived to quite a different view of the work site compared to August, when the project first began. Then, the original pavement, laid down in the 1980s, was buckled, cracked and uneven from invasive tree roots hindering access to amazing scenic views by park visitors. The day’s tasks surrounded the pouring and finishing of the same concrete walkway, but the volunteers have been responsible for the entire project. Work from the first two phases of the job has included demolition of the original pathway, removal of the debris and the digging and construction that framed the new sidewalk.

“America’s more than 7,000 state and national parks receive more than a billion visits annually and are an intrinsic part of our country’s culture and legacy, but they’re continually faced with budget challenges and have a backlog of repair and maintenance projects,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers. “In September, the USA was pleased to host its first conservation dinner in Richmond to raise funds for more projects in Virginia, as a part of its continued commitment to conservation efforts like today’s celebrated completion of the York River State Park project through its Adopt-A-Park program.”

Part of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve System, York River State Park is located on the York River with 2,550 acres of coastal forest and wetlands as well as 30 miles of trails. Park visitors can enjoy mountain biking, hiking and equestrian trails in the park’s main area, as well as the Croaker Landing fishing pier and boat launch area.

USA Adopt-A-Park_York River State Park_Virginia_Volunteers at work(3)

Visitors to York River State park can enjoy improved hiking and wheelchair access to discover amazing scenic views.

“The USA’s Adopt-A- Park program is most beneficial because these skilled laborers improve areas in the Parks for the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Jonathan Tustin, park manager, York River State Park. “Replacing the damaged sections of the accessible Blue Bird Loop improves access for the physically challenged, enabling them to enjoy the beautiful views of the York River from the Park gazebo. We are extremely grateful to the USA for their generous support.”

About the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance:

The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the Union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat throughout North America. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen.

Photos courtesy of: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.