Conservationist of the Year

Winterfest celebrates Michigan’s outdoors

December 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

Public invited for a day of family fun The Izaak Walton League of America (the “Ikes”) has had another busy year with many activities at the local Dwight Lydell chapter. The nonprofit conservation club has stayed active in environmental issues at the state and local levels, following their interests in water quality, energy, fishing, hunting, and their love of nature. Some of their members also participate in other groups concerned with Great Lakes fisheries, Asian carp, and the Rogue River watershed. With the Ikes you can be as involved as you want to be, from simply attending dinners, to volunteering, to activist. This past year, 2010, started with an annual event that is just around the corner again: Winterfest! Last year’s was a lot of fun, with ice-fishing and skating at their pond, archery, making candles over an outdoor fire, cross-country skiing, snow castles, and exploring the beauty of nature in the wintertime, plus a free lunch. On Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, the Ikes will open their gate to the public again, at 5641 Myers Lake Rd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Ikes hold many events that spread their message to the public. Each year they give two $1,000 scholarships to area seniors pursuing careers in an environmental field. A Conservationist of the Year award is given every year at their annual fundraising banquet. An interesting speaker is found, and many great items are collected for a silent auction, which is their main fundraiser for the year. This year’s banquet will be in March, with a program about salmon in Lake Michigan. Fishing is dear to the heart of the group, and they have many days devoted to getting children involved. Every Saturday morning in May they open their pond, supplying gear, bait and advice to those who want to give it a try. On Wednesday evenings from mid-June to mid-July, volunteers bring fishing equipment to the dock at Versluis Lake, helping any kids that meet them there. During the spring and fall, Ikes president Georgia Donovan and vice president Barb McGuirl have an after-school “Kids’ Nature Club,” where kids play and explore outdoors in an unstructured way. The idea is to allow them to feel at home in nature, become familiar with […]

Young honored as Conservationist of the Year

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

When people think what issues may be high on the priority list in local government, environmental conservation might immediately come to mind. For an organization that is dedicated to protecting land, air and water quality, the City of Rockford stood out for just that reason. The Izaak Walton League of America’s local chapters recognized Rockford City Manager Michael Young as Conservationist of the Year at their annual banquet, praising him for his care of the environment. The group specifically praised Young for his part in the creation of the PARCC Side Clean Water Plant, now treating the wastewater of Rockford and the townships of Plainfield, Alpine, Cannon and Courtland. Young was influential in creating and continues to chair the North Kent Sewer Authority, which is responsible for the building of the plant, which offers state-of-the-art sewage processing resulting in water clean enough to drink. The group had other reasons they believe Young is worthy of the award. The City of Rockford administers their own soil erosion control program, requiring permits for every lot, regardless of size. This is to protect the creeks and the Rogue River as well as the City storm sewers from siltation. The city also requires new development to have conservation easements and park, a total of 15 percent set aside for recreation. Rockford continues to work toward creating a buffer on the west side of the Rogue River, similar to the buffer provided on the east side by the White Pine Trail. Finally, the City is one of few that has developed a sustainability plan that includes wind, energy, watershed protection and electrical cost savings. “Michael grew up in Grand Haven and developed a love of the outdoors as a child,” said Fred Eyer during the banquet. “This has carried over into the outdoor interests he has today of flower gardening, inland lake fishing and upland bird and waterfowl hunting. During his 15-year tenure with Rockford, many environmentally friendly things have happened under his guidance.” Young stated, “The City has quietly been making wise choices with respect to natural resources.” Izaak Walton League members called this “an understatement.”