Ambassador Spotlight: Andy Braker
Filmmaker. Conservationist. Writer. Outdoorsman. Today, we’re excited to announce Andy Braker as a Wise River ambassador! With a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins in Environmental Science & Policy, Andy is focused on increasing awareness and promoting conservation and inclusivity in the outdoor space. Also an accomplished writer and filmmaker, you can check out his work with Flylords and Braker Bros Media. Andy embodies the Wise River Spirit as well as anyone, so we’re psyched to have him on board!
We caught up with Andy to discuss Wise River, his next project, and spending time outdoors. Check it out below!
Nick: What are some things that you've come to love about Wise River gear?
Andy: I’ve been waiting for a while for a company like Wise River to emerge. A company that creates outdoor gear that is functional, aesthetic, and sustainable for the planet. As an avid outdoor recreationalist, and a sustainability advocate, I am constantly in search of companies and products that check all of these boxes for me. Wise River is just that.
Nick: We appreciate that, that’s exactly what we’re going for! What products have you been digging?
Andy: The Sage Shirt Jacket is one of the coolest apparel products I have ever owned … If you combined a synthetic puffy jacket with a long sleeve button up, then added a water resistant coating, you would get the Sage Shirt Jacket. It’s super versatile/functional, while also looking incredibly sleek.
Nick: The Sage Shirt Jacket is definitely a favorite of mine too. In designing it, we felt that the traditional shirt jacket could be more versatile, and that’s what we aimed to accomplish in bringing it to life. What have been your go to activities in the gear?
Andy: This summer I’ve been putting my Wise River gear through the ringer. Demanding activities like fly fishing, camping, hiking, biking, as well as more lifestyle-based activities like going to concerts, brewery hopping, and dinner dates. Wise River gear provides all the tools to get it done in the wilderness, while also being more than capable of turning around to hit the town.
Nick: We love to hear that. Speaking of fly fishing, You and your brother, Eric, recently had your film "A Journey Upstream" accepted into this year's Fly Fishing Film Tour. What was that feeling like when you found out?
Andy: Getting into the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) was a dream for Eric and me. Growing up we had always dreamt of someday creating outdoor films on that scale, but we never thought that it would happen this soon. We are incredibly thankful that we were given a chance to share our work at this level.
Nick: Hell yea! You guys have a new project in the works too, are you able to share any info about that?
Andy: We loved the process of creating and releasing “A Journey Upstream” so much that we wanted to keep the ball rolling. The next film, “Phoenix,” is slated to be completed this Fall (2021). It’s going to be a film about one of our favorite fly fishing guides (Katie Fiedler Anderson) and her story about navigating the world of being a female fly fishing guide and a mother. If you want to stay up to date with that film, or other future projects, follow @braker_bros.
Nick: That’s awesome, we’re definitely excited to hear more about that. You're also an accomplished writer when it comes to outdoor conservation. What are some things that you think are important to draw attention to?
Andy: As a writer for Flylords I have had the ability to highlight some important topics at the nexus of fly fishing and sustainability. There are so many topics that are deserving right now, but the one that I am the most excited about at the moment is pushing for improved stewardship within the fishing community. In an effort to do this I have pioneered a new Flylords article series called “Fishing Etiquette.” This has been a great opportunity to highlight ways in which the fishing community can step up and be better stewards. For example, I have written articles on improving fish handling practices, navigating the topic of spot burning, and improving boat ramp practices just to name a few.
Nick: Great stuff. I know those articles are always thought provoking and inspire responses, but as more people find themselves involved with the sport and outdoors in general, I definitely believe it’s necessary to promote education and understanding. Shifting gears to our last question, Wise River's mission is rooted in supporting organizations focused on conservation. As a grad with a Master's in Environmental Science & Policy, what are some things you'd like to see the outdoor industry focus on more?
Andy: I feel incredibly privileged that I grew up with the tools and the accessibility to interact with nature on an intimate level. Those opportunities I had to fish, camp, hike, etc. undoubtedly led me to care for nature to the point where I have devoted my life to conserving it. There’s so much power that comes with outdoor recreation because it teaches humans how to love and care for nature.
One of the most important things in my eyes is opening up the outdoor recreation industry to be a more inclusive place. A place where more people can experience a connection with nature. This push for inclusion needs to be met with increased levels of education and resources in order to create more responsible outdoor recreators.
If we can get more people responsibly recreating, the world will be a healthier, more fun, and more sustainable place.
Nick: I couldn’t have said it any better. This is amazing, Andy. Thanks for taking the time to tell your story and share your wisdom with us. We’re stoked to work with you!