Scott Meyer has a connection with the Izaak Walton League that goes all the way back to his early days as a student at Emerson Hough Elementary School in Newton, Iowa. Like Meyer, Emerson Hough was born and raised in Newton, and his childhood home is located across the street from the school that was renamed in his honor. The nearby League chapter also shares the “Emerson Hough” name in honor of the early 20th century author who was an advocate for conservation of western lands. In fact, Hough’s explosive editorial, “Time To Call a Halt,” was featured in the first issue of the League’s national magazine and became a rallying cry for sportsmen to take action to protect our nation’s natural resources.
Although Meyer grew up surrounded by the legacy of Emerson Hough and the Izaak Walton League, it wasn’t until he moved to Virginia that Meyer became an Ike, joining the Loudoun County Chapter in 1995. “I had been a member of other organizations, but I liked the conservation approach of the League versus the preservation approach of so many other groups,” he recalls.
As it turned out, the League’s unique mission was a perfect fit for Meyer’s conservation sensibilities – and his favorite hobbies. Growing up, his mother was a staunch conservationist and loved the outdoors. “She took me to my first Earth Day event, but we truly lived like every day was Earth Day. She impressed upon me that little actions added up to a big impact. We never left trash, no matter where we found it. She insisted that we take showers that were 4 minutes or less, open and close doors quickly, and turn off lights when leaving a room. She also taught me the joy of being outdoors.”
As a child, Meyer spent as much time as possible in or on the water, and he loved visiting family in Minnesota because it meant going to a lake to swim, boat, or fish. Today, Meyer still loves to fish – and is still in the habit of cleaning up outdoor areas wherever he goes.
As a member of four League chapters, Meyer has a favorite activity at each one. “Each chapter is different for me. I enjoy clay target shooting, fishing, firearms safety training, and just being around like-minded people who care about conservation.”
In 2016, when the League announced the Clean Water Challenge and the goal of monitoring 100,000 more streams by 2022, it truly inspired Meyer. “Water is difficult to protect because it is affected by everything we do. Pollution moves from the air to the ground and water. Trash, industrial use, human waste, agriculture, storm drain runoff, and other actions pollute our waters. There is very little that happens on Earth that doesn’t have an impact on water. Since only about one percent of Earth’s water is available to us as the fresh water that we need to survive, the League’s clean water efforts are very important.”
To help kick start the Clean Water Challenge, Meyer recently contributed $25,000 to support critical components of the program. League Clean Water Program director Danielle Donkersloot is grateful for Meyer’s generous support: “Scott is a true supporter of clean water. It’s what he loves most about the outdoors. Because of his donation, we will be able to expand our reach, train more people, and connect with more like-minded organizations around clean water and stream monitoring. We have launched a huge campaign, and it’s inspiring to know that our members and supporters are behind this effort.”
Meyer recently attended a Save Our Streams training led by League staff, and he is excited to see the foundation of the Clean Water Challenge being set for success. What are his aspirations for the League in the next 10 years? “I would love to see the League as the national leader for water quality monitoring and reporting.”