2023 Izaak Walton League National Conservation Scholarships

Kayla Reed at walleye bootcamp - credit Kayla Reed

Each year, the Izaak Walton League awards two $2,500 national scholarships to complement scholarships offered by League chapters and divisions. The national scholarships help pay for the education of future conservation leaders, supporting college students pursuing degrees in natural resources and related studies. They 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 2023-2024 school year. Their thoughts about conservation follow.

Kayla M. ReedKAYLA M. REED

Fisheries and Water Resources/Aquatic Sciences
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

Conservation Philosophy: “All aspects of natural resources should be managed in conjunction with one another. No matter what type of natural resources management is being practiced, they all help to conserve the natural environment we all love to go out to enjoy and explore. From foresters, to fish and wildlife biologists, to soil conservationists and beyond, all of these management duties need to take one another into consideration to make sure that they are properly conserving our great planet to the best of their abilities.”

Critical Conservation Issues: “I have been exposed to quite a few conservation issues ranging from land and water use to pollution on the ground, in the air, and in the water. Each one of these problems will lead to another catastrophe if no proper action is taken to help remediate these critical issues.

“However, issues concerning water pique my interest the most. The depletion of freshwater resources will lead to many negative impacts. Less water in our aquifers will impact spring-fed systems, such as smaller streams and tributaries. With less groundwater available, many streams will lose depth. Lowering water levels will also impact lakes and rivers. This can negatively impact many species living within these aquatic ecosystems.”

More About Kayla Reed: An avid outdoorswoman, Reed plans to earn her master’s degree to become a fisheries biologist, and she hopes to land this position in the Midwest. She also hopes to be able to use her job to reach out to the public, especially young students, to promote the importance of water resources conservation and healthy aquatic ecosystems.

Charlotte A. JohnsonCHARLOTTE A. JOHNSON

Environmental Engineering
Montana State University

Conservation Philosophy: “Utilizing natural resources is critical to maintaining the current quality of life in America, along with enabling continued innovation. While these natural resources are needed, the extraction of these materials, such as through mining and logging, can and should be done in a manner that minimizes its effects on the environment.

“In addition, while recreational areas preserve natural landscapes, these lands are not without human impact. Though public and private use of resources has drawbacks, the impact can be minimized with sustainable conservation practices.”

Critical Conservation Issues: “While there are numerous conservation issues facing North America such as climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution, I believe waste production and management is a big issue. Addressing the feasibility of recycling, along with counteracting Americans’ view of waste, are the first steps toward addressing this problem.

“Although efforts have been made to promote recycling, feasibility and public education are hurdles present today. For example, making new plastic is considerably cheaper than reusing recycled materials. Finding ways to reduce the costs of recycling associated with the amount of water and energy used would encourage more businesses to use recycled materials.”

More About Charlotte Johnson: Her plans are to pursue a career where she can help others improve their lives and bring clean water to people across the world. At the same time, Johnson plans to explore ways to reuse waste materials, rather than sending them to landfills.

This article was excerpted from Outdoor America 2023 issue #4. Want more articles like this? Join the League and get four issues of our award-winning magazine every year.

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Know a conservation-minded college student who could use an extra $2,500 for tuition and expenses? The next application cycle begins January 1, 2024, with a deadline of May 15, 2024.

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