Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Izaak Walton League Honors Pekinites

The famed Izaak Walton League of America has announced that they have honored two local Pekin “Heroes” of conservation efforts at their Annual Illinois State Directors’ meeting in Elgin, Illinois on April 9, 2011.

The Izaak Walton League is a diverse group of 50,000 men and women dedicated to protecting our nation's soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife.  Their strength lies in their grassroots, commonsense approach to solving local, regional and national conservation issues. Their interests span the spectrum  of outdoor recreation and conservation activities, from angling and birding to stream monitoring, wildlife photography and hunting. But we all share one major goal: to protect and use sustainably America's rich resources to ensure a high quality of life for all people, now and in the future.

Cathy Beers, a long-time member of Havana Illinois’ Izaak Walton Chapter with Larry’s Casting Kids nominated Dan Johnson of  NTS Telephone in Pekin for his long term dedication to the efforts to getting children and their families fishing together.  With over 60 volunteers and ten years of “free events” the group nominated Johnson for his relentless dedication as a PREMIER SPONSOR from the onset of the launching of this important conservation activity in Illinois.  Johnson is also an avid semi-pro bass fisherman and you’ll see him at the many Bass Fishing Tournaments across our state.  Johnson and his crew at NTS have seen the group through inclusion as one of only 30 TAKE ME FISHING communities in the nation, becoming a much anticipated event at the Sun Foundation’s Annual Clean Water event and bringing thousands of kids through these events to appreciate the importance of conservation for their fishing and outdoor enjoyment.

“Dan goes out of his way to insure unparalleled success. This effort has allowed us to pull together a tremendous group of conservationist, educators, and children from 2 to 92 to keep our world and waters fresh, exciting and peaceful.  Just take a look at the organizations on our website who were so excited by what we were doing that they too joined us.  He provided the much needed volunteers and funds over the years, attended every event himself, and loaned equipment whenever it was needed” said Beers, one of the Co-Directors of the Organization.   “Dan and NTS just made our growth that much grander and he has been key to our success each year.”  Pekin Mayor-elect Laurie Barra recently presented Dan with his award.

The second local award recipient was Pekin Community High School for the inspirational YOUTH Award.  PCHS was the first High School in the state to make Bass Fishing a sanctioned sport.  Not only did they put a bass fishing sport team together, but the kids placed wins in the first Annual State Sanctioned event.  Most kids on this sports team have ambitions of bringing others into the sport and some even plan to go into a career in conservation.  Particularly exciting is that this High School set trends for building up the momentum across the state for a sport that truly helps us populate conservationists at such a young age.  No other "Sport" works in conjunction with keeping our waters, lands and outdoors safe.  Coach Steve Graves has joined as a volunteer for the Larry’s Casting Kids Bass Tournament and The Peoria Sportsman’s club furthers the conservation efforts by supporting the Annual tournaments at Spring Lake in Manito, Illinois.  Cathy Beers presented the award to the PCHS team and coach at a recent ceremony.

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