The Phillips-Brenchley Mentorship Award

The Phillips-Brenchley Mentorship Award, recognized by the Women’s Anglers of the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, is awarded to someone who has shown commitment to mentoring women in the sport of fly fishing. The award is in memory of Jean Brenchley and honors her appreciation of being mentored by Al Phillips.

Jean Brenchley

2019: Awarded to Al Phillips

Al Phillips

Al Phillips and Jean Brenchley were long-time colleagues at Penn State University as professors of biochemistry (Al) and microbiology (Jean). When Jean retired, Al offered to teach her to fly fish as an extension of her pond fishing experience while growing up on her family’s farm in Pennsylvania’s Bradford County. Al’s experience with flyfishing was enhanced through Penn State’s highly regarded flyfishing program that included numerous opportunities for him to help course instructors Mark Belden and Joe Humphreys get students interested in fly fishing. Jean’s enthusiasm for fly fishing was evident after only 2 casting lessons in Al’s back yard. They then went to Fisherman’s Paradise no-wading section to get Jean started fly fishing in moving water with equipment Al loaned her. Soon thereafter, Jean acquired wading gear, a fishing vest, a 9 ft. 4-wt. fly rod with a reel and floating line, and an assortment of flies; these were sufficient for Al to take Jean to a variety of Spring Creek locations where she worked on mastering basic casting techniques, learned to tie important flyfishing knots, and experienced the excitement of catching wild Spring Creek trout and carefully releasing them back into the stream. While Jean enjoyed fishing Spring Creek, Al introduced her to many nearby trout waters, including Penn’s Creek, Little Juniata River, and White Deer Creek.

Both Jean and Al helped Mark Belden with his Jesse Arnelle-sponsored summer classes for minority students from PA high schools (located mostly in urban areas) designed to introduce them to flyfishing as a recreational activity. Not only did the students learn how to cast flies and catch fish with artificial patterns, but many had never seen live fish up close. It was usually difficult to tell who enjoyed this experience more – the students or Jean.

2020: Awarded to Judi Sittler

Judi Sittler

Judi Sittler has been helping women learn about fly fishing since the inception of the Women Anglers over 10 years ago. With her encouragement, the Women Anglers became an Outreach Program of the Spring Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and has expanded its reach to more than 160 women. In addition to contributions for the Women Anglers, she has been instrumental in piloting a weekend STREAM Girls event regionally, which is a Girl Scout educational program designed to help adolescent girls explore topics related to science and technology, recreational fishing and environmental stewardship, art, and math. She has also actively supported Trout in the Classroom program and release day events.

2021: Awarded to Diane Brown