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Izaak Walton League of America

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Bush Lake Chapter Awards - 2017-2020

11/01/2020 2:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Since 2017 we have been giving out awards to our members and others for their outstanding contributions to the Chapter and conservation. Below is a list of the awards and award winners.

Chapter Awards 2020

1) Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award- for member with outstanding contributions to the chapter in 2020.

Duayne Wincell, with help from his wife Cindy, spent numerous hours repairing the Chapter’s informational kiosks by constructing new roofs for them. He donated all his time, materials, labor, and travel costs. This was a significant donation and contribution by Duayne and Cindy. The kiosks look better than ever, and Duayne plans to continue improving them. Duayne and Cindy are long time members of the Chapter, and frequently attend our events and support the Chapter. In the past, Duayne made some pollinator houses for the Chapter and has helped with other Chapter improvement and activities, such as the canoe race. He is also the undefeated (in modern times) Annual Canoe Race champion. Due to Covid, we are not having the canoe race this year- so we are happy to give Duayne this award instead! Thank you Duayne for all of your great work, and Cindy, for your support.

2) Gordy Bratsch Award- named after our old neighbor Gordy Bratsch that was the unofficial caretaker- he was committed to keeping Bush Lake clean- this award is given to a member that contributes to the chapter and the environment, year after year.

John Crampton has been involved with the Bush Lake Chapter for many years. He, Jill, and Gregg were part of the “new guard” that came to the Chapter some 20 years ago to find a board of directors that didn’t recite the pledge/our commitment to conservation “because they didn’t believe in it.” Through John’s determination and leadership, the Bush Lake Chapter became a conservation organization again.

John has advanced our conservation mission in many ways. In recent years, his focus has been on climate change, and he came up with the Clean Energy Grant for the Minnesota Division Izaak Walton League that is used by Chapters to implement practices that help combat climate change. He has been an integral part of our Annual Watershed Summit and helps with planning and videography. In 2019 he and Jill Crafton put together the Watershed & Climate Summit, which brought together people from around the state and beyond to discuss protecting our water resources while also combatting climate change. John is also active with environmental advocacy at his church, Oak Grove Presbyterian, creating environmental programs and implementing green infrastructure such as solar panels and raingardens. Thanks to John, the Church has hosted several Izaak Walton League events and a semi-annual Electric Vehicle Expos.

John is always quick to volunteer and help the Chapter and our cause. He comes to most of our volunteer events, and last year he put on our first KidsWind event- which brough kids out to the Chapter to build mini-wind turbines and taught them all about renewable energy. The current board considers John as an “honorary board member” as he attends many of our long meetings and helps to remind of us our mission and what is at stake. John is also good at spreading our environmental message to the public that he does with both passion and a sense of humor. He has a “fire in the belly” that is contagious with all that interact with him. John has served as both Chapter president as well as Division president. We thank John for his commitment to the Izaak Walton League and our environment. We would also like to thank John’s wife, Mary, for all the support she provides John to allow him to do these things- and for keeping him from going off the rails!

Paul Raymaker Thanks to Nancy Carlson, Paul and his family joined the Chapter a few years ago. Also, thanks to Nancy, Paul soon joined our board of directors and has been an integral part of our Chapter ever since! Paul is our official chapter photographer- his incredible images have allowed us to spread our conservation message more effectively on social media and beyond. He runs our Instagram page that is full of awesome content about nature and why it is important to protect. Along with Nancy, Paul plans and manages most of our youth programming, and getting kids outdoors in nature is more important than ever. Paul also put together an excellent virtual Chapter orientation video that we will be unveiling soon. He attends most Chapter events and is not afraid of getting his hands dirty. A busy husband and father of two boys- Paul is always quick to lend a hand and has been a tremendous help to Paul Erdmann the caretaker, and the Chapter in recent years. We thank Paul for his dedication and all his great work! We of course also thank his wife Jackie, and sons Wesley and Waylon for all the support they give Paul!

3) Public Good Award- Award given to non-profit, city or public staff for their contributions to water quality, conservation, and/or the environment.

Patty Acomb represents Minnetonka, Plymouth, and Woodland in the Minnesota House of Representative. She is the leader of the Minnesota House Climate Action Caucus which has 59 members. As chair she has led the drive to pass 100% Clean Energy in Minnesota by 2050 mandate along with other clean energy transportation, renewable energy, carbon sequestration, and public health initiatives in the 2020 and now the 2021 Minnesota House of Representatives. Patty has served on the Park Board and City Council of Minnetonka as a staunch advocate for sustainable land and water conservation practices. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in natural resources. Patty presented at our Watershed and Climate Summit back in March. We thank Patty for her contributions to conservation and the great state of Minnesota!

4) Bush Lake Commitment to Conservation Award- Given to an individual or organization inside or outside the organization that has contributed to restoration, habitat, and conservation in Minnesota.

Lisa McEntire is a one-woman army, defending Tierney’s Woods, Hyland Park, and other Bloomington parks and open spaces from alien invaders. Each year, Lisa spends countless hours pulling and managing garlic mustard, narrow leaf bittercress, and other invasive plants to ensure they do not take over our most important wildlife habitat areas. She also reports new invasions of invasive plants, so the proper authorities are aware. She also educates the public on invasive species issues and collaborates with others to protect our natural areas. She monitors bluebird houses and helps wildlife and our natural world in numerous other ways. We thank Lisa for all her great work!

5) Youth Conservation Award- awarded to youth under the age of 21 for their outstanding contribution to the Chapter, conservation, or the environment.

Yanyan (Xiaoxin Zeng) (pronounced “Yan Yan Zeng”) is a co-founder and president of the newly re-envisioned Jefferson High School Earth Corps. This was once called HOPE (Help Our Planet Earth) Club, but the group said it is too late for hope--that people need to actually get to work. Yanyan is not afraid to do the work. She has continued to serve on the City of Bloomington Sustainability Commission, focusing on climate, getting youth involved, and asking the hard questions. Yanyan's interest in the environment is thoughtful and passionate. She spends her time fighting for climate justice and social justice, behind the screen of her computer or with boots on the ground, even in a pandemic. She practices what she preaches in her diet and daily routines. She was recently recognized as an Earth Action Hero and featured in a City video. She continues this work as she plans for college and her future. She wants her future to be healthy and happy, and she is not going to wait for someone else to make the world a better place. She is going to change the world for herself.

Bush Lake Chapter IWLA Awards 2019

Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award- for member with outstanding contributions to the chapter in 2019.

1- Paul Cress- Paul has been a member for several years and has been a huge asset to the Chapter. He built the paddleboard rack several years ago and always turns out for volunteer events and takes on special projects. He almost single-handedly prepped the South Woodland Restoration in 2019- as others have said “He’s a beast!” He’s been an integral member of the Dock Team as well as the Beaver Dam Team! His attitude, skills, and demeanor are exemplary, and we thank him for all of his great work!

2- Bush Lake Board of Directors- for their outstanding contributions and volunteering the last several years. Special recognition should go to: Paul Raymaker (photos, signs, Kids Crafts, Instagram- Check It Out!), Nancy Carlson (Canoes, Kids Crafts, Graphic Design), Rafael Bustos (signs and lodge/grounds help), Gregg Thompson (website, membership, Canoes, outlet, caretaker assistance/therapy and more), Louise Segreto (newsletter articles, history research, advocacy), Jill Crafton (treasurer, advocacy, watershed summit), Doug Claycomb (AIS monitoring, advocacy, education) Rick Wheeler (leadership, calming the ship, Chapter work), Tim Olish (Neighborhood Watch) and Paul Erdmann (misc).

Gordy Bratsch Award- named after our old neighbor Gordy Bratsch that was the unofficial caretaker- he was committed to keeping Bush Lake clean- this award is given to a member that contributes to the chapter and the environment, year after year.

Marilynn and Tom Torkelson. They have been members of the Chapter for a few years and are always willing to help. Marilynn has been active with our Plant Posse, this summer she helped out in the South Woodland Restoration, single-handedly removing a patch of non-native/invasive lily of the valley. Marilynn is the President of the Wild Ones Prairie Edge Chapter in the west Metro. Wild Ones works to educate others on native plant landscapes and gardening. Marilynn and Tom have a beautiful yard in Eden Prairie that is almost entirely (if not entirely) native plants that also features rain gardens to improve water quality. They frequently hold tours to educate others on how they can implement environmental practices in their own yards. They are active in their community, advocating for conservation. Marilynn is also a Master Water Steward who works to improve water quality in her community. She is also on the Citizens Advisory Committee at the Riley Purgatory Creek Watershed District, where she has been working on a restoration project at the Scenic Heights Elementary School, involving students and community members in this process. Tom, I'm sure, helps Marilynn with all of this stuff and provides great support! There are also probably quite a few other great things that they do that we don’t know about. Please thank them for being great Defenders and all they do for conservation!

Public Good Award- Award given to non-profit, city or public staff for their contributions to water quality, conservation, and/or the environment.

Three Rivers Park District Natural Resource Staff and Richardson Nature Center Staff who are involved with restoration activities and prairie maintenance at Hyland Park/Richardson Nature Center as well as environmental education in our community. Our Chapter caretakers frequently hike and bike in the park (as a nice get away from work at the Chapter) and are always excited and inspired by the beauty and diversity of the prairie and other lands in the park. They have been especially impressed with and happy to see lots of work being done in the woodlands and with buckthorn removal in recent years. Other Chapter members enjoy Hyland and the Nature Center as well. The Bush Lake Chapter is fortunate to have this wonderful oasis of habitat not far from the Chapter, as it acts as anchor and conservation corridor for wildlife and helps to protect water quality. Additionally, Nature Center staff provide excellent nature and natural resources education to our community year-round, another very important asset for conservation! We thank them for all of their great work!

Bush Lake Commitment to Conservation Award- Given to an individual or organization inside or outside the organization that has contributed to restoration, habitat, and conservation in Minnesota.

Ron Erdmann He has played a huge role in restoring the Chapter property, from removing buckthorn and tree work and building and maintaining wildlife structures. For our Chapter’s wildlife he has built and donated bluebird houses, Great crested flycatcher houses, wren houses, bat houses, and even woodpecker bongos! In the summer he works for the MN DNR doing similar work at St. Croix State Park, and has worked throughout the state restoring the land, putting conservation in the ground, and creating wildlife habitat. He’s planted thousands of trees, shrubs, and native plants, and has killed just as many invasive plants. We often offer to pay him for his great work at the Chapter, but he always refuses and says that he is working for “Ike”- Izaak Walton. Ron has been an inspiration to his brother, Paul, our caretaker, and without Ron, Paul would probably be an accountant or shoveling coal somewhere, and not our caretaker. Let’s all thank Ron for his great contributions to the Chapter and to conservation!

Youth Conservation Award- awarded to youth under the age of 21 for their outstanding contribution to the Chapter, conservation or the environment.

Sam Hodges, whose family belongs to the Chapter, who repaired and renovated the Chapter playground for this Boy Scout Eagle Scout Project. He has been a good communicator and took the initiative to approach the board and propose the idea. This project was really, really needed. He and his crew have did an excellent job on the playground in a very expedient fashion. We thank Sam for his contributions and hope that he remembers the Chapter and conservation in his future plans. Thank you, Sam!

Claire Carlson- Claire is a recent Jefferson High School graduate. She served on the Bloomington Sustainability Commission and recently worked to revive Jefferson's Environmental Club. She came to our planting day and brought friends with! She worked on recycling and solid waste issues at both the Commission and at Jefferson, making some cool videos that teach people the importance of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose. She is a good communicator and has a contagious passion that makes others want to get involved in environmental issues. It’s encouraging to know that there are young people that are working to protect our planet and all of its creatures. Let’s thank Claire for her great work!

Bush Lake Chapter IWLA Awards 2018

1) Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award- for member with outstanding contributions to the chapter in 2018.

Rafael Bustos- he is a new member, but was quick to offer a hand and work on tasks around the chapter.

Worked on bathouses- woodpeckers had pecked holes in all of them, he put aluminum sheeting on all of them.

This is good because Paul and Liz counted 30 bats come out of 1 bathouse this year!

(DOCK STORY)- Paul

He’s more than happy to help any time we ask. Members that are always willing to help and spring into action is exactly what we need!

2) Gordy Bratsch Award- named after our old neighbor Gordy Bratsch that was the unofficial caretaker- he was committed to keeping Bush Lake clean- this award is given to a member that contributes to the chapter and the environment, year after year.

Louise Segreto- Kick started our fundraising campaign, serves as delegate to the State Division, serves as State Director alternate, is our Chapter historian, has written many great articles for our blog/newsletter, serves as our Wilderness advocate- has been working on the Utah Red Rocks Wilderness issue, and has put together a great Ikes Green Reads Book Club.

Donated the historic sign.

Jill Crafton- Jill Crafton is the treasurer of the Minnesota Division-Izaak Walton and Bush Lake Izaak Walton in which she has served for 15 years....hundreds and hundreds of hours every year.

She is a National Director in the National Izaak Walton League. She served on the Executive Board E-Board of National for several years. And she is a leader in the "progressive" wing of the IKES (the people who actually believe in conservation) .

She is on the board of the UMRI Upper Mississippi River Initiative, funded by MN IKEs and McKnight Foundation.

She is the organizer and champion of the annual Izaak Walton Watershed Summit held every year at Normandale College, which attract the region's top ag water quality experts as presenters.

She serves on the boards of the Riley Purgatory Watershed District in W. Bloomington and Eden Prairie, and BWSR, Minnesota Bureau of Water and Soil Resources, a state agency that has done much to protect Minnesota's waters.

Jill is on the board of the Great Lakes Committee which is fighting against the introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes.

She also serves on the board of Green Step Cities, a coalition of over 130 Minnesota cities that are pledged to becoming more sustainable. She is also in the leadership of the Minnesota Division Energy and Climate Committee.

Jill has a beautiful prairie in her front yard, and is working on restoring her backyard to provide habitat for birds, pollinators and other wildlife. She has solar panels on the roof of her house, and drives a Prius. She walks the talk and leads by example.

From John Crampton- Above all, she is a warm and loving grandmother of beautiful grandkids in Michigan, the oldest of which she took to Camp Izaak Walton at Deep Portage a year ago. And Jill is a dear friend of mine and has been since we urged the Bush Lake board to say the Izaak Walton pledge at the meeting many years ago..... When they refused, we got rid of them. And Jill went on to replace them all by her work ethic and tremendous passion for protecting our earth.

3) Public Good Award- Award given to city or public staff for their contributions to water quality, conservation, and/or the environment.

Bloomington Sustainability Commission- (being accepted by Steve Flagg who is on the commission and is a member of our chapter) this is a new commission for the City of Bloomington that has made great strides within the city on sustainability issues (Energy, Solid Waste, Water Quality/Conservation, and Ecological Land Stewardship). Here’s a few of the commission’s initiatives it has worked on in less than 2 years-

Created the organics dropoff system- residents of Bloomington are able to drop off their organics at 3 sites across the city- this material is recycled into mulch instead of going to the landfill or being incinerated.

Created an Energy Action Plan- this is a plan that works to reduce energy consumption across the City and reduce our carbon emissions

Working on Water Conservation and Water Quality- the Commission is working to reduce water use across the City- because Bloomington’s water is too great to waste! They are also working to improve water quality in our lakes, creek, wetlands and ponds.

Working on restoring the MN River Valley and other parks and open spaces within the City.

The Bush Lake Chapter would like to thank the Bloomington Sustainability Commission for all of their great work!

Commission Members:

Mary Hurliman- City Staff Liaison

Rob Bouta, Claire Carlson, Paul Erdmann, Steve Flagg, John Jaimez, Dwayne Lowmann, Bob Reid, Tim Sandry, Joe Strommen, and Deanna White.

4) Bush Lake Commitment to Conservation Award- Given to an individual or organization inside or outside the organization that has contributed to restoration, habitat, and conservation in Minnesota.

Heather and Brent Holm- Heather is an author and educator that has educated hundreds across the country on native pollinator decline and conservation. Her two books have won awards and are revered by both experts and newbies alike. She leads our pollinator field days and has helped us with our pollinator habitat restoration. She has identified several unique pollinator species that live at our chapter. She is one of the founding members of Wild Ones, Prairie Edge chapter, which is a native plant landscaping advocacy group in the West Metro. Heather of course couldn’t do all of this great work without a great partner- Brent was just here for our planting event last weekend. Heather and Brent are members of our chapter and have helped us kill buckthorn and restore habitat. They also volunteer on their own time to restore forgotten City parks in Minnetonka- (story about big hill and other project). Over the last 10 years, Heather and Brent have restored their home landscape by removing invasive species and impervious surface and planting native plants and creating habitat for wildlife. We thank Heather and Brent for their Commitment to Conservation!

2017 Chapter Awards

1) Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award- for member with outstanding contributions to the chapter in 2017.

Esau Underhill, for his work on the lodge, commitment to the board, and other activities

2) Gordy Bratsch Award- given to a member that contributes to the chapter and the environment, year after year.

Dick Duerre- Dick has turned out for many events, has worked on the lodge, and has worked on his own to protect the environment

3) Public Good Award- Award given to city or public staff for their contributions to water quality, conservation, and/or the environment.

Nine Mile Creek Watershed District- (Erica Sniegowski, Gael Zembal, Randy Anhorn)

4) Bush Lake Commitment to Conservation Award- Given to an individual or organization inside or outside the organization that has contributed to restoration, habitat, and conservation in Minnesota.

Bill Bartodziej- Bill is one of the leading restoration ecologists in the metro, has played a leading role in the Lake Phalen shoreline restoration and numerous other restoration and water quality improvement projects (and is a potential new member!)

5) Youth Conservation Award- awarded to youth for their outstanding contribution to conservation or the environment.

Camille Jones- Camille is one of the few young people that regularly turn out for volunteer events. She is on the Environmental Club at Jefferson High School


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