Donor Spotlight: Liz Roy: Izaak Walton League "Friend" for Life

Liz Roy

Liz Roy (A.D. Sutherland Chapter, Wisconsin) shares why she supports the national efforts of the Izaak Walton League through our monthly giving program.

The Izaak Walton League has been an important part of Elizabeth "Liz" Roy’s life since childhood.

Liz grew up next door to the A.D. Sutherland Chapter, where she spent her days roaming the woods. "I used to fish in the creek that runs through the chapter grounds. I was so proud to even catch chub minnows and turn over rocks to find little crayfish." Located on 27 acres between the city of Fond du Lac and vast areas of farmland, the chapter grounds provided a haven for deer, turkey, songbirds, and other wildlife. Liz became a self-taught naturalist, avidly reading "Golden Guides" nature books and taking on every conservation project offered by her local 4-H Club.

Although Liz’s father was a member of the A.D. Sutherland Chapter and she looked forward to the chapter’s annual family picnic (mostly for the pony rides), Liz was never quite sure what the Izaak Walton League was all about. That changed after her father passed away. "I wanted to know what went on at the chapter and to be able to put in my ‘two-cents worth’ on how they managed an area that I loved," recalls Liz, so she talked with one of the members about joining. Within a few days, chapter treasurer John Boettcher and his father, L.E. Boettcher, stopped by her house and signed her up.

Liz attended the next A.D. Sutherland Chapter meeting and was immediately voted in as chapter secretary. "I guess the newest member always gets the tough assignments," Liz jokes, "but I was actually glad because having a ‘job’ at the chapter made me responsible for attending meetings." This helped her become an active — and valued — member of the chapter.

Since joining the League in 1970, Liz has served the A.D. Sutherland Chapter as both chapter secretary and treasurer. She has also been dedicated to the success of the League beyond Fond du Lac. When chapter president Orv Theyerl was elected president of the Wisconsin Division, he encouraged Liz to get involved at the state level as well, where they voted her in as division secretary.

In 1987, Liz attended her first IWLA national convention — and has missed only two conventions since then. "Going to the national conventions has been very valuable to me as a chapter member," she says. "You can learn what other chapters around the country are doing and get new ideas for your home chapter. The workshops put on by the national staff and other presenters have been very helpful. And I enjoy visiting with friends from across the country."

It was during an IWLA national convention that Liz heard about another chapter’s successful program to engage families and get kids excited about being outdoors. She adopted that model and now organizes the A.D. Sutherland Chapter’s annual Teddy Bear Hunt, which is free to families throughout the community (an area hit hard by economic decline). Each child applies for a "license" to hunt the chapter grounds for teddy bears — roaming the same outdoor spots where Liz spent her youth. To keep older kids coming back, the chapter offers crafts and outdoor sports, including archery and target shooting with pellet guns.

Liz also volunteers for the League’s national Environmental Education Committee — a topic near and dear to her heart. "As a third grade teacher (now retired), I always found ways to bring nature and science into my lessons. I have many stories about the times our class would sit by the back window to do some of our lessons so we could watch the deer, tundra swans, turkeys, or first snow. Knowing the joys I experienced growing up and that many of today’s students have not had the chance to just play in the woods, I feel it is really important to bring kids and nature together."

In 2016, Liz took another meaningful step to show her commitment to the Izaak Walton League’s mission by joining the "Friends of IWLA" monthly-giving program.

As a "Friend of IWLA," Liz is part of a group of dedicated members who contribute $10 or more each month to provide a steady, reliable source of income to support the League’s national initiatives. "When I read about the past accomplishments of the IWLA, including our own Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin, I see what can be done by committed people to preserve critical areas," Liz says. "The League has many knowledgeable and dedicated individuals who are wonderful resources for any chapter looking for "how-to" ideas, but with limited funds available, these dedicated individuals can only do so much. Just think about how much more could be accomplished with more financial support. And the national staff can interact with lawmakers much more easily than someone living half-way across the country."

Our many thanks to Liz for sharing her story and for being a vital part of the League’s efforts to conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources — in Fond du Lac and the rest of the nation — through her monthly support.