Bass Pro Shops – Connecting Kids Back to Nature.
The thrill of getting out on the waters of central Missouri, making a catch, and experiencing the joys and wonder of the outdoors are just as vivid and powerful today as they were when I was a child. Those experiences, getting outside and enjoying nature and all it has to offer, drew me to a lifetime of service in the field of conservation.
Through my work as a field biologist during my 25-year career at the Missouri Department of Conservation, I was able to see first hand the important role hunters and anglers play every day when it comes to conservation.
There can be no doubt that sportsmen and sportswomen are among America’s strongest conservationists, which is why I was honored to join Bass Pro Shops in 2016 to help advance key conservation priorities across America. Working under the visionary leadership of Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, together we are engaging people like never before and making a difference for the next generation. An avid angler and conservationist at heart, Johnny often is referred to as a “modern-day Theodore Roosevelt” for his personal commitment and dedication to conservation efforts.
Like Johnny, my personal experiences and love of the outdoors is something I passed down to my own children, ensuring they appreciate all the rich natural resources we are blessed with, and the importance of strong conservation practices to make sure future generations have the same opportunities we have. In fact, connecting new audiences to nature is a key pillar of our conservation efforts at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s.
With the average American child spending a staggering eight hours a day staring at a screen, it’s more important than ever to ensure we all help more kids fall in love with nature. We can’t do it alone, which is why Johnny is leading an unprecedented alliance of sportsmen and sportswomen, non-profit conservation partners, and grassroots community organizations to help reverse this trend.
Together, we’re introducing a new generation to the outdoors through a series of bold programs. For example, Outdoor Adventurers is a nature-based education initiative in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation aimed at introducing the wonders of the outdoors to children from urban areas in kindergarten through fifth grade. Our free Outdoor Days events connect an additional 300,000 kids and their families to outdoor activities through a series of events in several states, with hands-on and immersive activities for all ages and skill levels.
Everyone has a role to play when it comes to conservation, and we have made it easier than ever to make a positive difference for the future. Through the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, we invite our customers—more than 200 million passionate sportsmen and sportswomen annually—to round up their purchase prices in our stores, with the additional money raised going into the fund to facilitate nationwide conservation efforts.
We also encourage shoppers to bring in gently used rods and reels during our annual Spring Fishing Classic event. We’ll give a credit toward a new rod and reel combo, and—after we clean and restore the old gear—donate it to a local community-based youth organization that helps connect kids to nature as part of our Gone Fishing event, which invites kids to put down digital devices and pick up a fishing pole. Over the last five years alone, we have donated more than 400,000 products to youth-focused non-profit organizations.
We’re working tirelessly to bring smiles to the faces of millions of kids and using their boundless laughter and enthusiasm to fuel our passion for making a lasting impact. Hunters and anglers have a responsibility to join the movement and pass our rich heritage down to the next generation. Please join Johnny Morris in his call to help inspire the next generation to enjoy, love, and conserve the great outdoors.
Senior Director of Conservation
Bass Pro Shops