On Oct. 12 the Marshall County Conservation Commission, along with the Marshall County Izaak Walton League, celebrated 30 years with the Uncle Ike's Program. This program was the dream of Ike member, Don Montgomery. Don had a vision of his young son Danny and other children his age learning how to appreciate the environment. Don often said, "We need kids to get involved now, to keep programs like Izaak Walton Leagues alive. Kids now a' days just do not get to explore the great outdoors like I did as a child."
Judy Levings was the naturalist at the time. With an eager group of willing volunteers so began the Uncle Ike's program. Don's vision was contagious.
Naturalist Diane Hall, took the program over after its initial first couple of years and has developed it into what it is today. I, speaking for many other grandparents, parents, volunteers and kids would like to take this opportunity to thank Diane for her dedication for continuing this program for so many years. Even though Don, whom many of us thought of as the real "Uncle Ike" is no longer with us, his dream has lived on through the direction of Diane. Many of the alumni of Uncle Ike's sent in memories and updates of their lives. I was moved by how many of them took career paths to environmental careers. If people join Marshall County Izaak Walton League merely for this program to continue, their money will be very well spent. Our goal of 30 alumni children, parents and volunteers was far outreached at the celebration. Each decade was represented well.
I would also like to thank volunteers, Janey Swartz and Sally Wilson for their years and years of sharing their educational expertise and general love of children. Long live Uncle Ike's!
The Uncle Ike's program meets from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the second Saturday of each month October through April for children in grades first through fifth. Family members are welcome to tag along. Contact the Marshall County Conservation Board for details.