Honoring Our Heritage, Embracing Our Future
The Izaak Walton League's 100th anniversary convention was an extraordinary event. Ikes celebrated an incredible legacy and charted a path for a second century of conservation leadership. Read on for a summary of key takeaways.
Vision for the Future
League President Vicki Arnold introduced our vision for our second century, which focuses on engaging more Americans in community-based conservation and volunteer science, advocating for sound public policy to protect America's natural resources for future generations, and connecting people to the natural world.
Following the presentation, a panel highlighted ways League chapters and members can begin turning that vision into reality.
Clean Water Program Director Samantha Briggs gave examples of League volunteers who go above and beyond by putting out an informational sign while they're doing community science, taking photos of their community science activities, holding fellow volunteers accountable, sharing the implications of what they discover through doing community science, and simply being persistent in their advocacy efforts.
George Venable, Chair of the Rifle and Pistol Committee at the Lynchburg (Virginia) Chapter, spoke about how chapters can engage people by introducing them to shooting sports and by partnering with Scout groups to reach youth.
Annette Hansen, Executive Director of the Porter County (Indiana) Chapter, gave a brief overview of the importance of creating partnerships. Potential partners are everywhere, including kids who need to fulfill required volunteer hours, university students who need access to research opportunities, government agencies, homeschool groups, and every organization at the local Earth Day festival. The key questions to keep in mind: what do you need from your partners, and what do they get from you? Every League chapter has plenty to offer, including the use of chapter property for recreation opportunities or research projects, and the skills and expertise of chapter members.
Later in the Convention, League Communications Director Michael Reinemer showed us simple ways chapters and divisions can leverage the vision to showcase their strengths, raise their visibility locally and engage the media.
Keep talking about our incredible history, Michael said, while also using the vision statement as a road map for engaging new audiences and meeting future challenges. Be sure to talk to the media; they are always interested in positive local stories.
One additional tip: avoid "IWLA" in favor of "Izaak Walton League." It's easier to understand and it's actually faster to say!
Read the whole vision statement
By unanimous vote, the League members present at Convention elected a slate of national officers:
- National President – Vicki Arnold
- National Vice President – Jodi Arndt Labs
- National Secretary – Jim Storer
- National Treasurer – Scott Meyer
- Directors-At-Large – Richard Sommer and Bill Kelly
The sitting members of the Izaak Walton League Endowment Board elected four new colleagues:
- Steve Labs of Wisconsin (three-year term)
- Lisa McIntyre of Iowa (three-year-term)
- Gary Schwartz of Minnesota (three-year term)
- Annette Hansen of Indiana (one-year term)
League members in attendance at the Convention elected three directors to three-year terms on the Executive Board:
- Dale Braun of Iowa
- Rick Cerwick of Iowa
- Jill Padgette of Virginia
Following clarifying questions and debate, national directors voted unanimously to adopt a change to the League's bylaws that would give the board more flexibility to propose a new logo for the organization.
The directors then promptly voted to adopt a logo similar to the anniversary emblem for long-term use. Watch for further information about the design of this logo and about guidelines for using the League's emblems and mottos.
Delegates voted to adopt resolutions regarding protections for ephemeral streams and wetlands, conservation of native non-game fish, and technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. Following a revised resolutions process that gave delegates more time to consult with the chapters they represent, the League membership voted not to adopt a resolution related to rural electric cooperatives.
The resolutions have been officially added to the League's policy handbook. They will also appear in the next issue of Outdoor America.
League chapters, members, volunteers and partners were recognized for accomplishments in conservation, youth engagement, shooting sports and other areas of excellence. A full list of winners is now available online. More information about the honorees will be published in Outdoor America this fall.
In addition to the typical annual awards for excellence in advancing the Izaak Walton League's mission, this year we also honored the chapters that have been carrying out that mission the longest. Four chapters chartered in the League's founding year are still going strong: Chicago #1 (Illinois) was the very first chapter, while Michigan City #7 (Indiana), A.D. Sutherland (Wisconsin), and Des Moines (Iowa) also opened their doors in 1922.
Throughout the convention, attendees had the opportunity to sign a tablecloth – a nod to an early League meeting at which Will Dilg, one of the 54 founders, scribbled down the names of his colleagues and noted how much they were donating to the organization. By the end of our centennial celebration, nearly 200 Ikes had signed the new tablecloth. Click the image below for a larger version.