LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — Alexandra “Ali” Abate was recently hired as the new executive director at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum.While in her words, “it’s …
LIVINGSTON MANOR, NY — Alexandra “Ali” Abate was recently hired as the new executive director at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center & Museum.
While in her words, “it’s still early days,” she hopes to expand the world-renowned organization’s educational outreach—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 the CFFCM from the Queens County Farm Museum, which was founded in the 1690s. There she served as director of education, facilitating farm-based education programs that focused on the concept of teaching sustainable farming to youth and adults in the New York City metropolitan area.
“The first time I came up here was about 20 years ago,” she said while chatting informally with this sports scribbler, as we sat on a wooden bench at the entrance to the gift shop, a short cast from the museum.
Abate grew up in Old Saybrook, CT, describing it as “a small town, a little bit bigger than Livingston Manor.”
“I’m sort of a country girl, rather than a city person,” she said. “I’ve always been someone who loved the outdoors.” Later, she explained that when not working, she spends time identifying and harvesting wild plants and “being a champion for composting.”
Abate said that as a social worker, with over 15 years of experience, she has developed a capacity for growing nonprofit programs, creating content and leading teams in education, youth development, and therapeutic settings.
On the educational ledger, she has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Amherst College, and a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University.
Based upon her nine years working at her previous job—at a farm with 325 of history—Abate said she “learned from that that I wanted to stay in nonprofit organizations, educating people in an outdoor environment… it was kismet that I got this at the fly fishing center.
“I’m learning about the history of fly fishing in this region. It’s really fascinating… preserving the rivers, and how trout are cared for, and meeting new people to understand why they love it,” she said.
Looking forward, Abate said she hopes to build upon existing programs. “Definitely more education in the form of bringing more youth to the site, this beautiful campus and museum.”
“There are so many possibilities of how to establish relationships with the local schools, and get a sense from them what their needs are, and how we can fit into that… field-trip camps, one-off enrichment opportunities, things like getting people engaged,” she said.
There are existing resources, like Trout in the Classroom, too, Abate added.
“It’s incredible to be coming into a place, a legacy of people who are so involved and invested...it’s been their life’s work,” she said. As our rambling conversation 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’m excited about being part of the center.”
The Catskill Fly Fishing Center is located at 1031 Old Rte. 17. For information, call 845/439-4810 or visit www.cffcm.org.
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