The Izaak Walton League awards two $2,500 national scholarships each year to complement scholarships offered by League chapters and divisions. The national scholarships support college students pursuing degrees in natural resources and related studies and are made possible and fully funded through a generous annual grant from the Izaak Walton League of America Endowment.
The scholarship review committee selected the following students to receive the League’s National Conservation Scholarships for the 2022-2023 school year.
HAILEE R. FRITSCH
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
Conservation Philosophy: “Natural resources and environmental policies are not simply about managing the resources more efficiently and effectively, but to integrate the variety of needs, future visions and cultures. To live comfortably on this planet, we need to utilize the vast resources; however we must define our future visions and how we want our generations to thrive on the land as well. Different cultures around the world use land resources in a variety of ways. This is why anthropology also plays a big role in the conservation of the environment.”
Critical Conservation Issues: “I believe the most important conservation issue North America will face in the next 10 years is deforestation. Forests provide habitat to wildlife, manage air and water quality, along with helping aid in the fight against climate change.
"Trees are renewable sources of energy; however the human species is using it faster than it can be restored. This will affect natural resource management activities by resorting to more sustainable resources such as bamboo for replacement of tree paper products.
"Deforestation is also practiced to clear land for agriculture. Farmers are very important for human life on Earth. However, there are better ways to grow crops and raise livestock including sustainable agriculture techniques such as irrigation water management, forest farming and using natural enemies to control pests rather than pesticides.”
More About Hailee: Hailee wishes to become a conservation scientist to assist in making restoration plans for forests and monitoring the land quality. Also, she hopes to help solve problems found in industrial agricultural systems.
HUNTER D. JOHNSON
Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
Colorado State University
Conservation Philosophy: “Conservation is only possible through ethical and adequate natural resource management practices. My philosophy is the belief in emphasizing ecosystem-level management to ensure success at all trophic levels. The only way to be successful in conservation is approaching natural resource management by conducting work with broader implications, through partnerships, education and outreach to increase support.”
Critical Conservation Issues: “The most crucial issue facing conservation in the next 10 years will be habitat fragmentation. While habitat loss is often considered the main source of natural resource destruction, habitat fragmentation is just as lethal yet is much less understood or recognized. Habitat fragmentation destroys wildlife populations on a macro- and micro-scale, creating the double-edged sword that slowly cripples conservation efforts.
“At the macro level, impediments in wildlife corridors have severely restricted or eliminated access to migration routes, seasonal foraging grounds, overwintering sites and other crucial specific-use habitats through fragmentation resulting from urban, roadway, agricultural and other processes. On the micro level, species ranging from plants to big game become island populations as a result of habitat fragmentation and are left with reduced genetic diversity from the inhibited gene flow.”
More About Hunter: Hunter plans to pursue a graduate degree and has set his career goal as becoming a wildlife manager or biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife or a similar agency and potentially becoming a state herpetologist.
This article was excerpted from “Outdoor America” 2022 issue #3. Want more articles like this? Join the League and get four issues of our award-winning magazine every year.
Join the Izaak Walton League
Know a conservation-minded college student who could use an extra $2,500 for tuition and expenses? The next application cycle begins January 1, 2023, with a deadline of May 15, 2023.