National Wildlife Federation’s Oregon affiliate, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders (ANWS) is preparing to launch an exciting and innovative program that aims to help returning war veterans develop new skills and ways of responding to stress while learning to preserve wildlife and the natural habitats that support them.
The River Ambassador Program is designed with two goals in mind: to teach the value of preserving wildlife and natural habitats and to assist veterans in developing new skill sets that allow them to better respond to the stress and challenges that inevitably accompanies the return to civilian life.
The program’s initial three-day course, scheduled for its first run September 13-16 near Madras, Oregon, is the brainchild of ANWS’ Executive Director Russell Bassett. A recent Iraq veteran himself, Bassett can speak personally to the great therapeutic healing properties found in the sport of angling and in experiencing the great outdoors. “Angling helps develop coping skills that help alleviate stress and helps find inner peace and a sense of serenity,” said Bassett. “Although the course speaks of life found in rivers and streams through the eyes of the angler, the connection is intentionally to get the participants to integrate successfully back ...