Chambersburg, Pa. Gas-supply-company regional operations manager
During a seven-year term as president of Pennsylvania’s Falling Spring Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Cross helped to secure $1 million in grant money to overhaul four half-mile sections of its namesake creek. He has served as operations director for the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp for 16 years, and previously he helped found a TU chapter in western Pennsylvania.
Leading comes naturally to me—in fact, my wife jokes that every time I go to a meeting, like the PTA or Scouts, I come back as president. Since I have a lot of passion for fishing and conservation work, it’s not like I’m just going to try yoga for a while instead. Some things just stick.
Our chapter worked with the Falling Spring Greenway group to acquire a series of Growing Greener grants totaling $1 million. The application process relied heavily on our support network: anglers who love and fish those waters, our stream redesign contractors, and other local conservation groups. Together we surveyed the stream and packaged work proposals that ultimately won us funding. The same partnership came through to acquire 15 acres of private greenway areas that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission purchased to open to the public.
I’m most proud of my role running the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation & Fly Fishing Youth Camp. We have to get our youth involved to back us up, and that’s why our camp’s curriculum builds off basic ecology and hands-on experience to nurture a real connection to the land. A student might see just a stream, then all of a sudden he has a net full of living things and learns to identify them and tie flies to imitate them, and he catches fish. The resource starts to make sense for these kids, and they get fired up about fishing and the health of the earth.
I couldn’t do what I do without collaborators on the grassroots level. Big government is too busy to fix every problem, and around here we’re more effective when we keep things personal. So I guess that’s my message: Let’s build partnerships and get this done.