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Mentee

The Mayfly Project

Auburn, Alabama Project

Project Lead Mentor: Rowell Guevarra

Project Co-Lead Mentor: Kate Watson

Project location: Auburn, Alabama

Year project founded: 2021

Mentors on this team: 15

Children to be mentored in 2022: 10

Local foster care partners: Currently searching for foster care partners.

Local companies that support this project:  Watson Brothers Patio and Hearth

Apply to Mentor Here!

Contact Lead Mentor: rowell.guevarra@gmail.com

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Auburn, Alabama Project

There is no other greater important treasure than our children. They are our future. What better way to show them all the good in the world than through the outdoors.

Rowell Guevarra

Lead Mentor, Auburn, Alabama Project

Project Mentors

ROWELL GUEVARRA, LEAD MENTOR

Smiths Station, Alabama

 Rowell was raised in California and is an Army Veteran who retired in Alabama after 21 years of service. Through his time in the Army, he developed a strong connection to the outdoors. Rowell loves spending time with his wife LaRee’ and their three children especially sharing time fishing, hunting, hiking and camping. Rowell has fished most his life but was recently introduced to fly fishing through Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He volunteers running their social media and assists in organizing their events. The discovery of the healing properties and serenity that fly fishing offers has changed his life. After retiring from the military, Rowell is excited to continue to serve as a mentor in the Alabama Mayfly Project!

KATE WATSON, CO-LEAD MENTOR

Auburn, Alabama

As a former foster parent and adoptive mom, Kate is THRILLED that the Mayfly Project is now represented in Alabama!  WHOOO HOOO!!!!

Originally from Auburn, OH, Kate now lives in Auburn, AL with her husband, two young sons, and 4-legged loves.  Although she does not get on the water to fish nearly as often as she would like, she has a deep understanding of the grounding and healing benefits of fly fishing.  This understanding is based on her personal experiences on the water and seeing it change lives through other fly-fishing centered non-profits she loves like Casting for Recovery, where she serves on the National Board and as a longtime volunteer, and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.

For Kate, being on or in or even just near the water brings her a sense of calm and serenity.  Once she has a rod in her hand it is as if everything else melts away and it is time for her to get lost in the rhythm of casting and enjoying her surroundings, as fish live in beautiful places!  While catching a fish is always nice, Kate celebrates every catch even if it is a leaf, stick, or rock – just grateful for being able to be there.

MATT LEWIS, MENTOR

Opelika, Alabama

Matthew Lewis grew up in rural south Alabama hunting and fishing. He is an avid fly fisher and outdoorsman. Matt is a PhD candidate at Auburn University specializing in conservation genetics of fisheries. Matt developed an affinity for redeye bass, or “Alabama brook trout” as they called due to the fact they are found in small streams and rarely grow larger than twelve inches. He has written several articles, and is the author of the book, Fly Fishing for Redeye Bass: An Adventure Across Southern Waters. He co-founded a program in 2018 called Redeye Bass Slam, which challenges fly fishers to catch all seven species of redeye bass in a year to help draw attention to the fish.

JASON COLE, MENTOR

Prattville, Alabama

Born on the banks of the Coosa River in Central Alabama, fishing was instantly a large portion of Jason’s life. His earliest fishing memories are with both of his grandads and his father trying to fool the quarry of this diverse river system. As he grew so did his love for fishing and the outdoors, along with the need for chasing that next fish. Now a foster parent himself, Jason values the lessons learned from being a steward of the outdoors and fly fishing. His new aspirations are to share this rewarding experience with as many people as he can. “I cannot think of a better investment for our future, with my knowledge and time, than to help these children find the peace and tranquility of wondering what the next pool holds!”

BILL WILDER, MENTOR

Helena, Alabama

I’m a native of Birmingham, Alabama and currently live in and work for the City of Hoover. I have a lifelong passion for the outdoors and sports having played college baseball at the University of Montevallo and earning a master’s degree in Sport Management from the University of Alabama. I spent twelve years as a high school teacher and coach including six years as an athletic director. While teaching, I was fortunate to have spent four summers as the outdoor recreation manager for Yellowstone General Stores in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming where I blended work with my passion for fly fishing. I most recently have worked for the City of Hoover as an athletic manager and currently serve and the manager for the Hoover Recreation Center.

SARAH KNIGHT, MENTOR

Atlanta, Georgia

Sarah was raised way down yonder on the Chattahoochee in Columbus, GA. She was lucky to have 2 grandfathers who loved to fish. One took her to the lakes and mountains and taught her to fish on a cane pole with a bucket of worms. The other loved the beach and put a spin rod in her hands. It wasn’t until Sarah started spending her summers off from teaching in Jackson Hole, WY when a close friend showed her a fly rod and she was hooked. She eventually moved out west permanently and her passion for fly fishing grew. Since moving back to the south, Sarah wanted to put her two passions together: fly fishing and teaching. She is grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to meeting some great kids and teaching them all about fly fishing.

JUSTIN WILSON, MENTOR

Ohatchee, Alabama

Growing up, I was lucky to live on the upper reaches of the Coosa River. As a youngster, I fished the small tribs and large creeks that flowed into the Coosa near my childhood home. The magnetic pull on my soul of those strong river fish never let me go. I had the opportunity to move to Louisiana and pursue a career in wildlife biology. I fished both fresh and saltwater while living in Louisiana and was fortunate enough to fish the fabled Chandeleur and Breton Islands before moving eastward.

After leaving Louisiana, I had the good fortune of landing in Florida along the area of the Gulf Coast known as the Forgotten Coast. It was here I honed my guiding skills in the inshore waters by foot, and skiff for redfish, trout, tarpon, and sharks. Guiding clients as I had when I was in college on the rivers of my home state. And this evolved into the pursuit of chasing all species I could find using a fly rod.

FELIPE PETERS, MENTOR

Fort Mitchell, Alabama

Felipe Peters is originally from Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, Mexico but later moved to West Texas. The desire to join the military and serve his country was something he was determined to do since he was young.  After high school, Felipe worked for Ford Motor company and American Honda Motorcycles before joining the United States Army in 2004 and serving until 2019.

In 2018, he joined Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing and it has meant a lot to Felipe. It has given him the opportunity to connect with and meet new friends who share the same passion as he does and learn a great deal from the experts that volunteer for PHWFF Auburn. Felipe also started The Driving Loaded Podcast (2019) with a fellow combat veteran to defeat the ever-increasing number of suicides by servicemembers and first responders. The most important thing to me are our kids, they need our leadership and mentorship. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to mentor kids on something I really enjoy. 

CONNOR KOCH, MENTOR

Auburn, Alabama

Ever since childhood, I have always felt at home on the water. Afternoons fishing with my grandfather developed into an insatiable desire to learn, experience, and discover all things fly fishing. I am excited for the opportunity to teach, encourage and learn from the position of a Mayfly Project mentor. When not on the water, Connor is pursuing a career in the medical field.

MARY BETH MEEKS, MENTOR

Columbiana, Alabama

Mary Beth grew up in Jasper, Alabama fishing with a cane pole and Catawba worms. She attended Auburn University where she spent a lot of her time on the Coosa River kayaking. After graduating from Auburn, she moved to Chelsea with her husband and began teaching third grade. This is about the same time her love of fly fishing began and she’s so excited to be combining the two. She still lives in Chelsea and when she’s not raising three girls with her husband, she’s creating block prints of fish and flowers. Mary Beth also works closely with the Riverkeepers and the Native Fish Coalition to create pieces that bring attention to certain species and helps in their conservation.

JAKE CONNELL, MENTOR

Atlanta, Georgia

I am from just north of Atlanta, GA and I now go to college at Auburn university as a freshman. I am studying marketing and am looking to get a job in the fishing industry when I graduate! I have been fly fishing for about 5 years now, and I have been teaching myself through YouTube videos and books about fly fishing. My family takes a trip out to Montana every summer and I get the chance to fish pretty much every day on some great local rivers for big brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. I love fly fishing and everything about it and I am really excited to help teach some kids a great new hobby and passion!

CASEY CAMPBELL, MENTOR

Vestavia, Alabama

Casey is native of Birmingham, Alabama and fell in love with all things outdoors while spending 2 summers in northern California as a whitewater river guide. It was during this time he learned the healing and restorative powers of being on the water. His first experience with fly fishing (2011) was in Big Sky, Montana where he was immediately hooked. As a father of two, Casey understands the value of getting children outside to experience the world around them. Casey and his son have been fishing side by side for many years and it’s on these many fishing/camping trips that he has seen his relationship with his son deepen. He is looking forward to sharing his love of the outdoors and fly fishing with another generation.

JAKE VINCENT, MENTOR

Auburn, Alabama

Jake grew up in rural northwest Illinois, where his father instilled in him a lifelong love for the outdoors, and fishing. The summers of his youth were filled with wading creeks for smallmouth bass. After high school Jake joined the army, where he worked primarily in logistics before an injury ended this military career. After returning home he studied fisheries biology at Western Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology. Jake now lives in Alabama and works at Auburn University while simultaneously working on his MBA.  He really appreciates Alabama’s aquatic diversity and while not at work he is usually fishing.

CHRISTOPHER “MURPH” MURPHY, MENTOR

Columbus, Georgia

When asked I will say that I am from Texas- but the truth is that I lived in several states before I ever resided Texas.   I’m lucky to have a family that taught me to fish at an early age- first in the Rocky Mountains and then along the Texas Coast.  After attending Texas State, I joined the Army, which brought me to Georgia and the banks of the Chattahoochee where I now live with my wife and son. I was introduced to fly fishing through various veteran’s outreach groups and quickly learned the physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits of fly fishing and angling. I was once asked what fly fishing meant to me and this was the best, I could explain it: “My troubles flow downstream with the water- the stress, the physical and mental ache, the things there are no words for- they all drift away.  It is renewal and creates a resiliency in me that few other things can.  it is about the people, the places, the discoveries and sometimes the fish too…” It is this world that I hope to share with others- and in turn hope they see it the way that I do.

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Auburn, Alabama Project

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