Heidi Oberstadt, Stevens Point Trout Angler, on Collaboration

Feb 17, 2015 | Citizen Advocacy

Our upcoming issue of The FLOW will highlight the many ways the River Alliance collaborates with a wide range of partners, from state agency scientists and small business owners to trout anglers. One of those trout anglers is Heidi Oberstadt of Stevens Point. Here’s Heidi explaining how her work with the River Alliance made her a better advocate for the streams about which she cares deeply.

We encourage you to watch the video, but here’s a partial transcript as well:

As I started to get more involved and as I started learning to fish in new areas I started to actually see some of the problems that I was hearing about and reading about. So when it came time in the legislature for water related issues I kind of felt helpless because, well to be totally honest, the majority of my political training came from elementary school social studies.

I went to some of the advocacy trainings from River Alliance. And I learned a lot about how to talk to my representative and what information to bring with me. Since I started surrounding myself with people who love water as much as I do I assumed that everybody knew what the water problems were and how passionately we feel about it. But what I learned is that I have to bring the information that I need. I learned a lot of specific skills about how to approach my legislators.

I had an awesome experience with one, my representative Katrina Shankland. I actually have a spare pair of waders. So I invited her to come out to a section of stream we had repaired last year. We had some new little baby fish in there, it was very exciting. We brought her out and talked about the work that we did and the work that we’re continuing to do. And showed her sections that we’re working on now, sections that we already did. And we explained why we do it and why it’s important to us. And I think that really opened her eyes to how passionately we feel and what the need is there. We had a great time!

Now we have a really good working relationship. When I have questions about political things I can ask her….When anything thing comes up water related or conservation related she sends me a note through her office to let me know that I might be interested in what’s going on.”