When he caught his first fish of the day, he jumped up and down, and all the other kids came running over to high-five him. Those are the moments that mean so much to these kids. He was hooked from that moment on! 

Mentor

Smethport, Pennsylvania Project

Smethport, Pennsylvania Project

Lead Mentor: Zach Sees

Co-Lead Mentor: Richard Bernhard

Project Location: Smethport, Pennsylvania

Year project founded: 2019, by Chase Howard and Heather Sees

Mentors on this team: 12

Children mentored to date: 12

Children to be mentored in 2020: 12

Local foster care partners: McKean County CYS

Local companies/foundations that support this project:  ​Blaisdell Foundation, Hamlin Bank, ARG, Howard Drilling, Costa’s Hardware, Smethport Collision, and Mount Jewett VFW & Ladies Auxiliary.

Contact us here for further information, or to contact the lead mentor of this project!

 

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Smethport, Pennsylvania Project

I believe fly fishing is a great tool for a lot of things. The only distraction you have is the tree behind you. You can’t think about anything but the task at hand. It strips you from your worries or just the stress of the day, which is what these children need.

Richard Bernhard

Co-Lead Mentor, Smethport, Pennsylvania Project

Project Mentors

ZACH SEES, LEAD MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania

Zach was born and raised in Kushequa, Pennsylvania and started fishing at a very young age. In 2013 he was introduced to fly fishing while visiting his sister on a Colorado trip and has been addicted ever since. In addition to fly fishing, he took his passion a bit further and started tying flies. Zach serves on the board of directors for the Seneca chapter of Trout Unlimited where he helps teach fly tying.He holds a degree from WyoTech and makes his living as an auto body technician.Fly fishing and fly tying has had such a positive effect on his life and he is looking forward to sharing this passion through his role as the co-lead mentor of the Smethport project!

RICK BERNHARD, CO-LEAD MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania 

Rick grew up in the small town of Mt. Jewett, Pennsylvania, the gateway to Kinzua Bridge.  He spent his childhood fishing with family and friends, chasing wild brookies in the backwoods of McKean County. After picking up his first fly rod over 20 years ago, he was hooked on the sport. In addition to local guide work, he also volunteers at the Kinzua Fly Fishing School, ties flies and builds custom rods.  He is looking forward to his second year as a mentor in the Mayfly Project of McKean county.

HEATHER SEES, MENTOR, NATIONAL PROJECT LIAISON

Smethport, Pennsylvania

Heather was born and raised in a very small town (Kushequa) in Northwest Pennsylvania. Growing up she spent the summers with her family fishing the small creeks in the Allegheny National Forest. Heather’s passion/obsession for fly fishing developed shortly after moving to Colorado in 2011. While living there she became very active with Colorado Trout Unlimited serving as the President of The Greenbacks and sitting on the board of Colorado Trout Unlimited. As part of this role, she spent the majority of her time and focus on engaging, educating and empowering the younger generation to become our next conservation stewards. In 2017 Heather discovered The Mayfly Project and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to tap into existing Trout Unlimited resources all while sharing her passion with a group of kids who may not have the opportunity to get out on the water. Heather joined TMP as the Denver Lead Mentor and shortly after kicking off the Denver project joined Jess and Kaitlin on the national team. Heather moved back to her home state of Pennsylvania in 2018 and helped to bring The Mayfly Project to her hometown! Beyond The Mayfly Project, Heather holds an Accounting degree from Penn State and works on the Finance team of an International organization. In her free time, you can find her exploring her new home waters and the neighboring states in search of fish!!

CHASE HOWARD, 2019 LEAD MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania

Chase grew up in Kane, Pennsylvania, fishing in the Allegheny National Forest for brook trout and smallmouth bass. He left the area for college, but his love of the outdoors and wild places could not have drawn him back to Northcentral Pennsylvania any quicker after graduation. Chase is a Certified Casting Instructor with Fly Fishers International, President of the Seneca Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and has volunteered with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing. He is excited to help establish the first Mayfly Project in the Keystone State.

TIFFANY LONDON, MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania

Tiffany M London is an avid fly fisher and artist born and raised in Portersville, PA. She attended MSU in Bozeman, MT and earned her BFA in 2003 with a primary focus on painting and printmaking. After marrying her college sweetheart Tad London in 2005, they made the move back east to Tennessee and then north to Pennsylvania for his work. Tiffany has a small art studio in Portersville, PA and specializes in fishing and outdoors artwork and graphic design. https://www.farmgirlgraphics.com When she is not in her studio, she is fishing as often as possible with her husband and daughters Leslie (12) and Bridger (9). In addition to being a Mayfly Project mentor, she is on the pro staff for Semper Fly Rods, a disabled Veteran owned business in Ohio. https://www.semperflyrods.com “I love encouraging others to learn to fly fish, to protect our natural resources and to spend more time outside as a family. The opportunity to spend time mentoring foster children was nothing short of amazing. Being able to encourage a child and to show them they are important and can do anything they put their mind to is the best feeling in the world.”

DOMINIC PETRUZZI, MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania

 
Dominic Petruzzi lives in Coudersport,PA.  He is a part of the Seneca Chapter of Trout Unlimited and is their Secretary.  He owns and operates Streamer King Flies.
 

DEBBIE BREWER, MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania

Debbie Brewer is a lifelong resident of Bradford, PA and grew up enjoying the splendors of the Allegheny National Forest.

Being the youngest in a family of six, Deb often found herself exploring the forest and streams surrounding her family home. It was at an early age that Deb found a deep respect for nature and all it could teach her.

Fly fishing was a way for Deb to get back to nature and spend time with friends, but it turned into something much more. She found the sport helped to center her, allowed her to reflect on the truly important things in life, and reignited her passion for the preservation our precious natural resources.

Deb is entering her second year as a mentor for the Mayfly Project of McKean and Potter counties and feels privileged to have the opportunity to pass on the stewardship skills she continues to hone. Her experience in the first year has been tremendously rewarding and she eagerly awaits the next round of mentees.

Deb lives with her husband, Mike and has two children and one granddaughter. She is also a member of A.B.A.T.E. of PA., which is also active in community nurturement.

KERRY LANZA, MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania Hi, I am Kerry Lanza. I live in southeastern Pennsylvania with my wife Barbara. Our home is about an hour drive northwest of Philadelphia in rural “Pennsylvania Dutch” country. Growing up in the country, we had plenty of opportunity to fish, for anything, and anywhere. Having found fly fishing over 30 years ago, I find it a great way to connect with the wildness of the place. Fly fishing is now my true passion. For me, teaching is my way of giving back to a sport that has given me so much. Passing the passion to another generation helps to preserve trout fisheries for future generations.

KRIS BRETZ, MENTOR

Smethport, Pennsylvania

Kris was born and raised in Coudersport, Pennsylvania and he has had a fishing rod in his hand since he was a baby. Kris started fly fishing about 15 years ago, catching mainly trout since he lived near the Allegheny River headwaters. Kris now tries to catch anything that swims with a fly. Kris is the Vice President of the God’s Country chapter of Trout Unlimited and a volunteer for Project Healing Waters. Kris is also a Penn State alumni with a degree in wildlife technology. Kris is excited to share his passion through his mentor role on The Mayfly Project team!

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