Lois Green-Sligo Chapter looks back at 100-year legacy of Izaak Walton League

The Lois Green-Sligo (LGS) Chapter of the Izaak Walton League has provided conservation and outdoor recreation activities for local residents since it was founded in 1949.

Having started as the Women’s Auxiliary for the Wildlife Achievement Chapter, LGS became co-ed in the 1980’s, always remembering its mission for conservation education and outreach. Since moving to Gaithersburg in the 1970’s from the Takoma Park area (thus the “Sligo” portion of our historical name) the chapter has been successful in maintaining 63 beautiful acres of woodlands, offering outdoor recreation opportunities for the community and holding events to raise awareness. Our grounds were donated by conservation farmer Lois Green.

One of the most popular annual events is Family Nature Fun Day, held the Saturday before Mother’s Day. With crafts, archery, fishing and a light lunch—all offered for free—this event has been a huge success; we look forward to hosting this each year. We also hold a Wild Game Dinner and Silent Auction annually and have member social events including crab feasts and dinners.

LGS’ robust Save Our Streams Program has earned the reputation of “Defenders of the Cabin Branch Watershed.” Stewardship of this Chesapeake Bay feeder has allowed us to encourage neighbors to share in and understand the necessity of keeping our water clean. Community partnerships have spread this awareness far beyond our membership. And our Forest Management Team maintains a year-round bowhunting permit to increase forest health.

 

Throughout its 100-year history, the Izaak Walton League’s chapters have served as the place where kids caught their first fish, tried their hand at shooting sports or found their own way to appreciate nature. We have strong relationships with area youth groups like scouts and Youth Civil Air Patrol, and offer these groups a place to hold camping, picnic and other events.

Nationally, the Izaak Walton League has more than 200 chapters and thousands of members and supporters who champion community-based conservation, outdoor traditions and protection of the nation’s natural resources.

The chapters have provided the backbone for many conservation achievements over the past century, whether restoring bass populations in streams during the 1920s, promoting ethical hunting in the 1950s or serving as recycling hubs in the 1970s. The chapters also advanced some of the most effective conservation ideas in the nation’s history, like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, shaping the laws and policies that protect natural resources now and for generations to come.

History of the National Organization
In January 1922, a group of concerned anglers and hunters gathered in Illinois to create an organization to stop the degradation of America’s waterways and natural areas. They named the organization after Izaak Walton, the conservationist and author of “The Compleat Angler.”

During the 1920s, industrial pollution, raw sewage and soil erosion threatened many of the nation’s rivers. Forests and other wild areas were also suffering as road building, development, and commercial hunting and fishing took an immense toll.

For 100 years, the League has been at the forefront of local and national efforts to safeguard water resources and our drinking water across the U.S.—from a push for sewage treatment in the 1930s, to the landmark Clean Water Act of 1972, which tackled pollution and protected wetlands.

The League has also created thriving volunteer citizen science programs like Save Our Streams and Salt Watch to monitor stream health and collect data about water quality. By collecting and reporting data in dozens of states, these programs now provide a wealth of information for scientists and policymakers and a basis for taking action to protect water quality.

For many decades, the League has also served as a leader in conserving the natural resources on the hundreds of millions of acres of agricultural land in the U.S. Beginning in 1937, the League began a push for a national program to conserve soil.

In short, no other organization has done more to shape the nation’s bedrock laws that protect our environment and natural resources. The League has a unique role in promoting conservation and citizen science locally while advocating for strong state and national policies to protect our air, water and wildlife.

For millions of people, the League has provided a pathway to outdoor recreation and traditions.

Looking to the future, the Izaak Walton League has ambitious goals to get more Americans involved in local conservation, citizen science and advocacy. For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/view/iwla-loisgreensligochapter/home.

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