Conservation Currents

In This Issue

Congress Reconvenes, President's Budget Due Later this Month

U.S. Capitol domeLast month, Congress reconvened for its second session. Although it is impossible to predict which legislation Congress will actively consider, the League will be particularly focused on the 2012 Farm Bill and annual appropriations bills, which fund critical conservation, outdoor recreation, and fish and wildlife priorities.

The budget season will kick off on February 13 when the president submits his funding request for fiscal year 2013. The budget environment remains very challenging, and the League will continue to work to ensure that conservation funding is not cut disproportionately compared with other federal spending.

Please stay tuned to future editions of Conservation Currents for policy updates and take action through the League's online Advocacy Center to support critical conservation funding.

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Celebrating 90 Years of Defending Outdoor America

Snapshots in Conservation coverTo commemorate the League's anniversary, we are proud to announce our "$90 for 90" campaign. Donate $90 or more to the League, and you will receive the limited-edition Snapshots in Conservation, a 255-page anthology of classic conservation articles from Outdoor America. These articles by well-known conservationists and politicians – including Will Dilg, Ding Darling, Zane Grey, Rachel Carson, and Stewart Udall – vividly illustrate the changing face of conservation over the past nine decades. The result is a book that entertains, enlightens, and inspires.

If you are interested in the past, present, and future of conservation in the United States, Snapshots in Conservation is a must-have addition to your reading library. It is available exclusively to participants in the "$90 for 90" campaign. And your generous contribution will directly support the League's conservation work.

You can make your donation online or mail a check to the Izaak Walton League, 707 Conservation Lane, Gaithersburg, MD 20878.

With your support, we look forward to many more decades of conservation success.

To read more about the past 90 years of League conservation successes, visit our 90th anniversary Web page.

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Insurance for Healthy Soil and Water

The American people rely on farmers to protect our soil from erosion and keep our waters clean. Farmers have made tremendous progress in stopping soil erosion and protecting wildlife habitat thanks, in large measure, to Farm Bill conservation programs. But most of these conservation programs are voluntary and funding for these programs has been cut.

Farming in PAAt the same time, spending on government-subsidized crop insurance has skyrocketed. When we think of crop insurance, most of us likely imagine policies that protect a farmer if a hail storm or flood destroys a season's harvest. But federally-subsidized crop insurance extends well beyond weather disasters to guarantee revenue for farmers, at taxpayer expense. On average, American taxpayers subsidize 60 percent of the cost of these crop insurance premiums. And unlike all other federal farm payment programs, farmers are not obligated to meet critical soil or water conservation standards in return for literally billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies each year.

The Izaak Walton League believes that any recipient of federal crop insurance subsidies should be obliged to protect the country's soil and water – and we're taking that message to Capitol Hill on March 6. Want to learn more about this effort and share this message with your representatives? Contact Gwen Steel at or 651-649-1446 x10.

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Distributing Renewable Energy

Solar panels at Dwight Lydell ChapterWhat do dairy farmers, homeowners, auto repair shops, and Izaak Walton League chapter houses have in common? They are all owners of small-scale renewable energy systems that generate power and then feed it into the electricity grid in an arrangement known as "net metering" – an arrangement that benefits energy consumers and utilities. Energy consumers want the opportunity to generate their own clean power. For utilities, small-scale renewable energy projects help diversify their mix of energy resources, empower their customers, enhance the local transmission grid, and spur private investment in clean energy.

Solar panels on chapter houses, manure digesters at dairy farms, and even small-scale wind turbines can generate enough electricity to power the owner's needs. Sometimes these systems generate more power than needed, so electricity is fed back to the utility grid. At other times, these systems produce less electricity than is needed and the owner draws power from the grid. At the end of the billing cycle, generation and consumption are balanced and owners either pay a utility bill or receive a credit from the utility. This flexibility makes individual investments in renewable resources much more cost effective.

Distributed renewable energy systems are becoming more prevalent as renewable energy technologies improve and become more cost competitive. Homeowners, farmers, businesses, and IWLA members are taking steps toward energy independence. For progress to continue, state laws governing energy production and distribution from small-scale renewable energy systems must be updated to eliminate roadblocks. In Minnesota, League energy staff are working to improve outdated state policies that govern such projects so that distributed renewable energy becomes a growing part of the clean energy economy.

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March 15 Deadlines for Tobin and Chapter Awards

Time is running out to get your nominations in for two national League awards, one for your most outstanding chapter volunteer and one for your chapter.

Tobin Award 2011Judge John W. Tobin Award: Who is the most dedicated Ike among your chapter members – the one who shows up for all meetings, signs up first for work crews, serves on committees, and makes the organization run more smoothly? Who is the key volunteer for your chapter's conservation projects or outdoor activities? Give your chapter's outstanding volunteer a hearty "thank you" by nominating her or him for the League's 2011 Judge John W. Tobin Chapter Volunteer Appreciation Award (pictured right). (Nomination Deadline: March 15, 2012)

Defenders Chapter Achievement Awards: This award recognizes outstanding chapters across the country that embody the League's motto: "Defenders of soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife." These chapters showcase the depth of the conservation commitment among Izaak Walton League chapters. (Nomination Deadline: March 15, 2012)

Visit the League's National Awards Web page for nomination forms and more details. Questions? Contact Tara Scibelli at (800) IKE-LINE (453-5463) x255 or e-mail

NOTE: Nominations for National Awards and Chapter Member Recruitment Awards are due June 1st.

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IWLA National Scholarships

Students in computer labDo you know a college student studying conservation or an environment-related major? The Izaak Walton League offers two $2,500 scholarships for qualified college juniors or seniors. Specific requirements are available on the League Web site.

Applications are due no later than April 1. For more information about the application criteria and process,
e-mail Earl Hower, IWLA Director of Chapter Relations, or call him at (800) IKE-LINE x216.

These scholarships are made possible through the generous support of the Izaak Walton League of America Endowment.

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Log Into the League

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Support the League: Shop Online

You can support the Izaak Walton League just by doing your everyday shopping at the online shopping village. The amount contributed varies among participating companies but is clearly indicated on the Web site. stores include the brand-name products you already use from leading online retailers.

Make it a habit to visit any time you're ready for a little online shopping. It's a great way to do something good without doing anything extra.

League Member Resource

Advertise your chapter's next event using one of a series of full-color promotional posters designed to help chapters promote their activities. The mixed set includes five themes and taglines and comes with an instructional CD-ROM.

Chapter Promotional Posters

Visit the Chapter Promotional Posters Web page for more information and an order form.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions about this newsletter or other IWLA programs, please contact:

Dawn Merritt
Communications Director
707 Conservation Lane
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 548-0150 ext. 220

Founded in 1922, the
Izaak Walton League of America
protects America's outdoors through community-based conservation, education, and the promotion of outdoor recreation.

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