A worthy conservation connection

IZAAK WALTON was an outdoors person of the 17th century. He was an English philosopher and he loved to fish. A dedicated conservationist was another of his titles because his outdoor adventures and observations in England allowed him to understand the relationships between healthy land, clean water and abundant wildlife. His enthusiasm for the outdoors was contagious to all he met. So his society of like-minded folks worked together to maintain clean water, be stewards of the soil and forests. Izaak Walton’s principles spilled over into America soon after. And in the early decades of the 20th century, Izaak Walton chapters started to get organized. As pioneers moved west, many brought the same ideals with them to the Midwest and onto the Pacific coast. The earliest Ikes organizational beginnings were the result of like-minded people getting together in Chicago to address environmental degradation problems, find solutions and work with legislators to put an emphasis on legal and scientific natural resource tasks.

The Ikes are just one of many fine conservation organizations. As a national non-profit conservation organization of about 40,000 members, they work to defend

America’s waters, woods, soil, air and wildlife. Their pledge says it all…”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 spaces; to the preservation of this heritage and to man’s sharing in it, I pledge myself as a member of the Izaak Walton League of America.

Those are pretty lofty goals. One thing for sure, there will never be a time when the natural resources of this nation can be taken for granted. Diligence is required at all times. The Ikes are not anti-development. They are advocates for the wise use of natural resources, an essential human need for us to survive. Wisely using our resources is key to long term availability for all future generations. The Ikes will be there as a voice of reason for long term conservation.

SPORTING CLAYS shooters are at Ikes grounds today. If you want to participate, either as an individual or as part of a team, come on out. The Ikes land is located two miles south of Iowa Avenue on Smith Avenue. Registration will take place from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.. Just pay the fee and have fun. Spectators can learn more about sporting clays by careful observation and asking questions. Target practice are fast flying clay birds will test every shooter, and humble many of them in the process when “easy” shots turn out to be missed targets. And it is all in fun.

The May Sporting Clay event at the Ikes land had a total of 51 shooters, 14 registered, 29 hunter class, three juniors, five sub-juniors and one female shooter. Good food, good fun and safe firearm use made for an enjoyable day outdoors. Hopefully todays shooter numbers will equal or exceed the May totals.

Conservation programs are on-going at the Ikes land. They grow Christmas trees, and replant new stock to replace those cut. Hunter safety classes are hosted three times each year … during May, June and August. Primarily young people age 12 or older can register on-line with the Iowa DNR for the Marshalltown area classes. This reminder is in order: The June 15 and 17 Hunter Safety Class is next up. Save these dates. The Thursday night class begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. Then the following Saturday, the 17th, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., a lot of outside and inside instruction is conducted. Students must attend both sessions to get the required 10 hours of instruction. Most states require young people, or for that matter anyone born after 1972, to take and pass a certified hunter education course.

The last hunter safety class for 2017 will be Aug. 17 and 19. Roger Kaput is the chief hunter safety instructor for Marshall County.

In cooperation with the Marshall County Conservation Board, Naturalist Emily Herring leads summer camps at the Ikes lands. Details of those programs can be obtained through contact with Emily by calling her at her office at (641) 752-5490. Fishing is available for members at the pond. Trails are available for hiking, nature walks, photography or wildlife watching.

Scholarship funds are made available to qualified candidates each year who submit an application prior to March 15. Candidates must be Marshall County students who will pursue studies in some form of conservation related higher education.

Ikes members will gather on June 14 for an ice cream social and enjoy good fellowship. Prior to feasting on ice cream, members may enjoy a bit of target practice at the gun range with handguns, rifles or shotguns. And the Ikes are planning on making gun range improvements this year. Approval was recently made for the expenditure of funds to buy materials to do this work. There may be a minimal amount of down time while construction is underway. Signs will be posted as needed to inform members of work in progress. Firearms target practice at a safe range is a very popular reason for people to be Ikes members.

The Ikes also sponsor a photo contest. Winning submittals get published on the Ikes calendar for 2018. But the work starts now to make the images somewhere in Marshall County. All photos need to be nature related. Submit your photo entry at the June 14 ice cream social meeting. This meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

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We got a lot of small rain showers during May. So I thought I’d provide a few facts about water for you to think about. Here are some things we all know, or should know. Water is odorless, tasteless and transparent at room temperature. And yes it is wet. Water covers about 70 percent of earth’s surface in its oceans, lakes, rivers and glaciers. Ninety-seven percent of the water on this planet is in the form of salt water. That leaves only 3 percent as fresh water and two-thirds of that is ice. Chemically, water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, two of the former and one of the latter. If you could see a molecule of water, it is not linear but bent in a special way. The result is that part of the molecule is electrically negatively charged and the other is positively charged. By weight, a water molecule ratio of hydrogen to oxygen is about 1:8. It works out to 11.1 percent hydrogen and 88.9 percent oxygen. Pure water is a poor conductor of electricity.

One cubic centimeter of water 4 degrees Celsius, its maximum density, weighs one gram. When cooled to zero degrees C, or 32 degrees F, under standard pressure, water changes to a colorless crystalline solid we call ice. Ice is less dense than liquid water and that is why ice cubes in you water glass or soda drink float to the top. And water expands when it freezes. For eons of time, mountain ranges have geologically degraded as rocks spit apart from water turning into ice. When heated to the boiling point of 100 C or 212 F, under standard pressure, water vaporizes into steam. Water vapor can be visible as the clouds in the sky or fog. If sunlight passes through water vapor in the right conditions, we may see a rainbow of colors as while light is split into the spectrum of its wavelengths.

The last water fact is this: The average U.S. resident eats more than 50 tons of food during their lifetime and drinks more than 16,000 gallons of water.

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Why do people fell they need to be digitally connected at all times, even when visiting a state park, a remote mountain side or far out on a big lake? Supposedly our wireless connections are to help us overcome time constraints. I think the real problem is we may have lost our ability to appreciate natural beauty and the outdoors for just being what it is. Perhaps our digital connections are making us prisoners to devices that absorb our time and attention, so we learn how not to communicate face-to face.

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Garry Brandenburg is a graduate of Iowa State University with BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology. He is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at P.O. Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.