Jones raised nearly $11,000 for sockeye salmon and other threatened fish in the West by creating and selling custom-designed socks and other merchandise and donating all profits to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“I believe you don’t have to be an expert to help the world. You just need to be really motivated to do something,” Jones said. “I’ve learned that the world has so many problems, but we can come up with solutions. Everyone can help make a difference.”
Part of the proceeds from his project will pay to develop an informational kiosk and signs at Fish and Game’s Redfish Lake Creek fish trap. The kiosk will provide information about the sockeye recovery program. The trap is in a high-profile location due to its close proximity to Redfish lake and surrounding campgrounds. The site is accessible to the public and will be enhanced with an informational kiosk, especially at times when Fish and Game staff are not available to answer people’s questions.
The Lonesome Larry Project is named for the lone sockeye salmon that returned to Idaho in 1992. When Jones learned about the fish and the plight of sockeye salmon, he decided to help them. He designed the Lonesome Larry logo and socks, and has since added bottle openers, decals, and keychains to his line. He sells his wares at Idaho Steelhead hockey games, at coffee shops and on his website.
More details via Barronprize.org:
Topher Jones has raised nearly $11,000 to protect sockeye salmon and other threatened fish in the Western U.S. Known as the Sock Guy for the Sockeye, Topher sells custom-designed socks and has donated all profits to the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation to support fish restoration projects. His initiative, called the Lonesome Larry Project, is named for the lone sockeye salmon (dubbed Lonesome Larry by the media) that in 1992, swam 900 miles from the Pacific back to Idaho’s Redfish Lake to spawn, only to find himself alone. Topher first learned of Larry and the plight of salmon a year ago. An avid fisherman, he was dismayed. He’d also just spent much of his 5th grade year studying Idaho’s fish and their importance to the ecosystem. He decided to help protect them.
“Socks to save the sockeye!” came to mind and Topher set to work. He reached out to nonprofits, Native American groups, and government officials to learn about the challenges facing salmon. He asked for help designing a Lonesome Larry logo and socks, and has since added bottle openers, decals, and keychains to his line. He sells his wares at Idaho Steelhead hockey games and local coffee shops, as well as on his website. His goal is to raise $100,000 to help the salmon. He also hopes to inspire people to take care of fish and the environment. He raises awareness by speaking to school and community groups. “I believe you don’t have to be an expert to help the world. You just need to be really motivated to do something,” says Topher. “I’ve learned that the world has so many problems but we can come up with solutions. Everyone can help make a difference.”