We scribes who have the privilege of keystroking columns about the great outdoors have a wide variety of topic options. For me, today's is tops.|
Amanda Ion is a senior at North Scott High School in Eldridge. She's exceptionally active, does well academically and is heavily involved with Future Farmers of America. Many of us associate the blue corduroy jackets of FFA with high schoolers who look to a future in agriculture — but not Ion.
"I'm not yet exactly sure of what I want to do in life," she said. "But I do know I want to be outdoors and involved with animals, fish or maybe trees. Possibly a conservation officer, biologist or forester. I just don't know yet. I'm planning to go to Scott Community College for two years, then transfer to a four-year college of university."
Amanda lives with her folks in a rural area near Princeton, Iowa, and the Wapsipinicon River, an area that bodes well for the energetic teen. Included in the family-owned land is more than 100 acres of river bottom land — an ecosystem full of critters to observe, hunt and trap.
"My family got me interested in outdoor activities," she said. "My dad and grandpa took me pole-and- line and trot-line fishing, a cousin introduced me to hunting, my uncle taught me how to trap, and a long-time family friend, Dave Roete, has been a fishing and hunting mentor for the past several years. He knows a lot about fishing and hunting.
"Last fall I harvested two deer, a buck with my bow while hunting alone and a doe with my shotgun. I field-dressed the buck all alone for the first time and messed that up some. Dave and I skinned and butchered the animals. We eat a lot of venison, so that's how I can contribute to the family."
That's not the only way she helps out her family. For spending money, she helps her grandma clean houses, does chores on a horse farm several days a week and cuts and splits firewood. There is no backing away from hard work for this young lady.
An active member for all four high school years, she is currently secretary of the North Scott FFA chapter. Amanda participated, or maybe better said, competed, in the FFA Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award program. She chose the category of Wildlife Production & Management, and carefully filled out the 15-page application form carefully listing her plan with goals, progress, analysis & evaluation, skills and competencies, community development, storyline for the multi-year project and experience-learned programs. Just keeping track of her activities and completing the application was undoubtedly a monumental task.
It should come as no surprise that Amanda's effort sailed through district-level competition and on to state-wide judging. At the state convention in Ames, she received the Iowa first-place plaque in her chosen category; her application now goes on to national competition. She will attend the national convention in Louisville in October as an alumni where college scholarships will be awarded for top finishers in the program.
We at the World Outdoors congratulate Amanda on her thus-far sterling efforts and results and predict the outdoors community has not heard the last of and from this exceptional young lady.
— Dueling NWTF banquets: On the same evening, March 23, two Quad-Cities area National Wild Turkey Federation fundraising banquets will be held.
Geneseo's Green River Gobblers chapter's 15th annual banquet will be at Lavender Crest Winery. Tickets are $60 per membership, $80 for a couple and $25 for jakes (youngsters 17-and-younger.) For complete information, call Barry Snodgrass at 309-944-3592.
Rock Island County's Mississippi Valley Gobblers North chapter's seventh annual banquet will be at A Prairie Lodge. Tickets are $50 per membership, $70 per couple and $20 for jakes. For complete information, call Cord Brandt at 309-654-9318.
Bob Groene is outdoors writer for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, he can be reached at email@example.com
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