"Citizen Science" Leads Group to Conservation Achievements
Friday, January 14, 2022
One hundred years ago today, the Izaak Walton League of America was founded in Chicago, with a mission of local stewardship of wild places, citizen science and celebrating outdoor traditions, and for the future, its leaders are spotlighting the value of community-led conservation.
Scott Kovarovics, executive director of the League, said from conserving land and restoring wildlife to reducing water pollution, achievements have been driven by grassroots engagement. He pointed out it includes hunters and anglers who want to conserve wildlife, and protesters who demanded cleaner air and water in the 1960s and 70s.
"Folks are coming together in their own communities to respond to what's most significant there," Kovarovics explained. "In some places, it may be that invasive plants and animals are taking over the landscape, you know. In other places, it's maybe wildlife at risk, or it's water pollution, or it's any number of things."
He noted the League provides the tools and training for things like water-quality testing, and emphasized the model for citizen science is even more important now, with climate change and increasing threats to the natural world.
Gary Struck, president of the League's Illinois Division, said in the last century, they have fostered reforestation efforts by supporting tree-planting in the Shawnee National Forest, and in former strip-mining areas.
He added early on, they also helped get the General Assembly to pass the first bond issue for conservation funded through hunting and fishing licenses, among other conservation wins. He stated today, connecting families with the outdoors is a big focus.
"Looking forward to the next 100 years, the Illinois Division is going to continue its effort to connect the youth with the outdoors," Struck remarked. "That will include wildlife identification, and outdoor skills such as fishing."
Struck stressed they will continue to focus on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, including silt migration in the Kankakee River. And he encouraged people to participate in the group's Clean Water Challenge, by monitoring and cleaning up local streams and ponds.
get more stories like this via email
One of North Carolina's oldest Historically Black Colleges and Universities is finding new ways to help students stay enrolled and graduate. Recent …
A new survey finds 8 in 10 Kentucky parents say afterschool programs could help their child combat social and mental-health struggles by reducing unpr…
A technology that once existed only in science fiction soon could emerge as a viable solution to climate change. The city of Flagstaff has added …
A new report found Texas likely undercounted the number of people who actually live in the state when gathering information for the 2020 census…
Minnesota has more than 10,000 brownfield sites, which are abandoned or idled properties in need of contamination removal. State officials will soon …
By age 35, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher are about twice as likely as workers with just a high school diploma to have a good job - one …
The mayor of Huntington, where more than 200 homes were recently damaged by severe flooding, said now is the state's "one chance" to prevent other …
Alzheimer's disease is one of the leading causes of death in North Dakota, prompting state officials to launch an online dashboard, where the public …