As only the second woman to lead the Executive Board in 93 years, Jodi Arndt Labs has great aspirations for the League and its impact on conservation in the 21st century.
Jodi Arndt Labs joined the Izaak Walton League in 2001, during the early years of building her law practice. “I was looking for a local conservation group to get involved in, and I was introduced to the League by a friend. I had never heard of the Izaak Walton League and was intrigued by the organization’s mission and motto.”
The League also stood out to Jodi because of the range of member interests. Members of the Brown County Chapter in Wisconsin include hunters and anglers as well as people who enjoy camping, hiking, canoeing, bird watching, and other outdoor recreation.
As a self-described conservationist and an environmental lawyer, Jodi was inspired by the legacy of the Brown County Chapter — including that several members played an integral part in addressing environmental issues in the Green Bay area — as well as the League’s efforts throughout Wisconsin
Jodi’s conservation roots grew from her love and appreciation for Wisconsin’s lakes and waterways. “Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed relaxing and hanging out around water,” Jodi explains. “Water had a calming effect on me, and I have always had a desire to protect water quality to ensure that I (and others) would always have rivers and lakes to enjoy.”
She witnessed water pollution up close while working at the Manitowoc Sewerage District at the young age of 13. “I learned how much effort it took to create clean drinking water for our community,” Jodi recalls. “I also saw first-hand how much trash was thrown into our lakes and rivers — a fact that shocked me as a young teenager. That inspired me to focus on water issues in law school.”
Jodi was determined to develop the skills needed to work on conservation at both the professional and personal levels. With this in mind, she attended Vermont Law School, the largest and highest-rated graduate environmental law program in the country. Today, as an attorney for the law firm of Conway, Olejniczak & Jerry, S.C. in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Jodi works every day to apply fair environmental and land-use law in both state and federal courts.
Her passion for conservation also led her to share her love of the outdoors with her daughter. “I am proud to say that my daughter elected to do her part for the environment by becoming a marine biologist,” Jodi says of daughter Tamara, who now lives and works in Florida (and is a former IWLA National Conservation Scholarship awardee). Jodi also found the love of her life — fellow Ike Steve Labs — through the League.
As chairwoman of the League’s Executive Board, Jodi has many ambitions for the League. “I want to raise the visibility of the League so we can grow our membership and donor base. If we don’t grow in these areas, we will not be able to continue all of the great conservation programs the League has in place now or develop new programs in the future,” she explains. Jodi has focused on engaging youth and families at her chapter and sees other chapters on the same path — a trend she hopes to foster throughout the League.
Through her annual donation to the League as a “Partner in Outdoor America’s Future,” Jodi knows she is making such efforts possible. “My contribution allows the League to continue important work at the national level on programs that benefit our entire membership and the communities in which we live. Without this conservation work — particularly on clean water and agriculture, for which the League is well known — we would lose our impact on issues that affect America’s soil air, woods, waters, and wildlife.” For Jodi, that’s an investment well worth making.