By TED WADDELL
LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY – Alexandra “Ali” Abate was recently hired as the new executive director of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum.
Although, in her words, “it’s still early days,” she hopes to expand the world-renowned organization’s educational reach, including public programs, and continue the center’s mission to protect the local environment and preserve the legacy of fly fishing for future generations.
Abate comes to CFFCM from the Queens County Farm Museum, which was founded in the 1690s. There she served as Director of Education, facilitating on-farm education programs focusing on the concept of teaching sustainable agriculture to youth and adults in the New York metropolitan area.
“The first time I came here was about 20 years ago,” she said, chatting informally with the athletic scribbler as we sat on a wooden bench outside. entrance to the gift shop, a stone’s throw from the museum.
Abate grew up in Old Saybrook, CT, describing it as “a little town, a little bigger than Livingston Manor”.
“I’m kind of a country girl, rather than a city girl,” she said. “I’ve always been someone who loved the outdoors.” She later explained that when she wasn’t working, she spent time identifying and harvesting wild plants and “being a champion composter.”
Abate said that as a social worker, with more than 15 years of experience, she has developed an ability to develop nonprofit programs, create content and lead teams in areas of education. , youth development and therapeutic contexts.
Educationally, she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Amherst College and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University.
Based on her nine years of working in her previous job – on a farm with 325 years of history – Abate said she “learned from that that I wanted to stay in nonprofits, educate people in an outdoor environment…it was kismet i got this at the fly fishing center.
“I’m learning about the history of fly fishing in this area. It’s really fascinating…preserving the rivers, and how the trout are cared for, and meeting new people to understand why they love it,” she said.
Going forward, Abate said she hopes to build on existing programs. “Certainly more education in the form of bringing more young people to the site, this beautiful campus and museum.”
“There are so many opportunities to build relationships with local schools and get a sense of them what their needs are, and how we can fit in there…field trips, opportunities for unique enrichments, things like getting people engaged,” she said.
There are also resources, like Trout in the Classroom, Abate added.
“It’s amazing to come to a place, a legacy of people so dedicated and invested…it’s their life’s work,” she said. As our rambling chat about all things fly fishing and her new job drew to a close, she added, “I have a lot to learn and a lot of people to meet. I am delighted to be part of the center.
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center is located at 1031 Old Rte. 17. For more information, call 845/439-4810 or visit www.cffcm.org.
Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum,
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