Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, and Tim Horton of Florence, Ala., decided to spearhead a waterway cleanup in advance of the 2008 Professional Anglers Association (PAA) Corporate Cup on Pickwick Lake, Tennessee. Those efforts earned them a BoatU.S. Foundation Environmental Leadership Award, which was presented to the professional anglers last weekend at the 40th Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake in Alabama.
The award recognizes those who have made a significant impact advancing clean boating and educating boaters about how they can minimize their environmental impacts.
The day before the 2008 PAA tournament, Klein and Horton organized 13 boats of tournament anglers to clean up the lake.
"We try to leave it better than the way we found it," said Klein, as the group hauled in more garbage than the bags could hold - hundreds of pounds of trash, tires and broken chairs. "If anglers from all around the country took some initiative while traveling to various competitions, it would help inspire the local community to continue the effort and help take care of their waterways long after we're gone," he added.
Two other groups, The Association of Marine Industries of Long Island, N.Y., and the Punta Gorda (Fla.) Boaters Alliance were also recognized for their efforts at educating boaters about environmental issues.
The BoatU.S. Foundation selection committee chose this year's recipients from more than 30 nominations, looking for individuals and organizations who have made a significant positive impact on the environment, contributed to solving an environmentally challenging aspect of boating or boat maintenance, helped others understand the importance of clean boating, enthusiastically promoted clean boating and engaged others in their efforts.