“[I pledge] to strive for the purity of water, the clarity of air, and the wise stewardship of the land and its resources; to know the beauty and understanding of nature, and the value of wildlife, woodlands and open space; to the preservation of this heritage and to our sharing of it…”
This is the pledge thousands of Izaak Walton League members (a.k.a. “Ikes”) take across the country every month, including 16 chapters that make up the Minnesota Division, an MEF member organization.
The Izaak Walton League was founded in 1922 to conserve outdoor America for future generations. The League’s 54 founders, who were avid anglers, named the organization after Izaak Walton, the 17th century author of The Complete Angler, a classic book about the art and spirit of fishing. They are one of the earliest conservation organizations to set an aggressive course to defend wild America by changing public policy. Almost every major, successful conservation program that America has in place today can be traced directly to a League activity or initiative.
Izaak Walton League’s mission is to conserve, restore, and promote the sustainable use and enjoyment of our natural resources, including soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.
Impact on Minnesota Cities:
Since 2008, Minnesota Ikes have actively engaged in Sustainable Community Development planning. Chapter members have persistently encouraged their municipalities to become Green Step Cities. The Green Step Cities program helps municipalities reduce their energy usage. Of the 16 Ikes chapters around the state, 11 have helped establish and support Green Step Cities in Austin, Bloomington, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Mahtomedi, Maplewood, Rochester, Winona, White Bear Lake, and Woodbury. Members sit on Sustainability Commissions and build relationships with city councils and staff as well as state legislators.
Ikes believe in tackling climate change from many angles with community-based action. Members attend Clean Energy Resource Team events, support solar programs and advocate for transitioning coal plants to solar and investing in electric vehicle chargers and fleets. Minnesota Ikes have successfully supported Renewable Energy Standards, Wetland Protections, and Soil Health priorities. Chapters partner with their local watershed districts to do wetland, shoreline and oak savanna restorations that involve public participation and education. lkes also walk the walk by installing solar on their homes, chapters, and community gathering places, and installing rain gardens and pollinator-friendly landscape plantings at home.