The Izaak Walton League continues the tradition of conservation and outdoor activities

MEDINA, Ohio – For the past 100 years, the Izaak Walton League of America has been a champion and defender of the nation’s soil, air, woods, waters and wildlife. For just over 70 of those years, the Izaak Walton League of Medina County has been a local leader in the preservation of natural resources.

Nestled on 73 acres at Friendsville Road, members and guests of the organization find a place to enjoy the outdoors and learn skills that seem to have been lost with modern times and tools.

Director Brenda Swartz notes that although it is a private club, there are many programs to which the public is invited. Right now is the season for fall turkey shoots. “We don’t shoot turkeys,” she adds with a laugh. “Shooters bring their shotguns, aim at targets, and the person with the highest score wins a turkey or other meat product.”

Don Johns won the first shoot of the day with the “oldest gun”.

Don Johns, for example. On a recent Sunday morning in the first round, he took aim and his target showed the best result. He won a bundle of bratwurst. By the way, he used the oldest weapon on set. “My wife’s grandfather bought this new 1897 Winchester in 1914, for $25,” he said. “It has obviously been well looked after as it looks like it came from the showroom.

Izaak Walton

No age limit here. The oldest shooter on Sunday was Kathy Gravatt, 80. She has only been shooting for four years.

Turkey shoots are open to the public and the fall season includes every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. (registration begins at 9:00 a.m.) until November 27.

Other events open to the public include Trap Shooting, at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday. There are basic archery lessons available for anyone ages 9 and up who wants to learn this skill. Twice a month there are programs on birds of prey and the possibility of “flying” a falcon. Other conservation education programs are held throughout the year.

“We had our first car show this summer,” Swartz said, “and it was fun. October 22. It’s free and open to the public too.

The property includes a clubhouse where members can warm up on a cold day around a fire while enjoying a coffee or hot chocolate. An outdoor fire also helps keep fall visitors warm on the back patio.

Chrissy Fisher is one of the club’s newest members. During the pandemic, she wanted to find a place to find the tools she might need to protect herself, and although she lives in another county, she chose Club Medina to join. “People were so friendly and helpful,” she said. She particularly enjoys trap shooting and has become very active in the organization.

Izaak Walton

Jayden Haywood, 12, enjoys target shooting.

Longtime members have planted more than 33,000 trees on the land and are officially listed as forest land by the Ohio Department of Forestry. There are two lakes on the grounds, one is a marsh lake near the clubhouse, designed to have a marshy area where various cereals suitable for wildlife plants are found. The grounds also include a butterfly garden, planted by members in the year 2000. Members can also enjoy fishing, hiking, camping, and nature photography at the League.

Membership information and public events can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/medinachapter/ or by contacting Swartz at bswartz@zoominternet.net.

For more information on the Izaak Walton National League, visit https://www.iwla.org/

Sally J. Minick