ICL has worked to protect and restore the clean air, clean water, wildlands, special places, fish, and wildlife that give Idahoans such an exceptional quality of life for over 50 years. And in each and every of those years, we’ve relied on our members to make this work possible. Our accomplishments do not just fall on the shoulders of our staff—the work of staff relies on our conservation community, made up of dedicated members, advocates, and volunteers. Our members are at the core of our conservation mission, and are the heartbeat of our organization. In appreciation of these behind-the-scenes “Faces of ICL,” we showcase the stories of our members on a monthly basis, shining a spotlight on their unique contributions, experiences, and reasons for supporting conservation in Idaho.

This piece was written by ICL supporter Brenda Sims.

Why We Support Idaho Conservation League

Longtime ICL supporters Brenda and Cort Sims.

Like most things in life that are dear to us, our concerns for environmental conservation have deep roots. My happiest childhood memories center on days spent with my cousin and sister  playing on a creek at my cousin’s place in Anson County, North Carolina. We fished for minnows using an old discarded coffee pot and imagined building a raft to float down to wherever the creek ended up. We figured it went to the Atlantic Ocean but didn’t know or care  much beyond that. Only as an adult did I learn from my uncle that our special place is Birmingham Branch that flows to the Rocky River and then to the Pee Dee River before merging into the Atlantic Ocean. I knew in my heart that kids of the future should have access to special places like that branch. 

In 1967 a friend and I drove cross-country to Idaho State University to participate in an  archaeology field school. The project involved the excavation of a Native American site just downstream of the under-construction Hells Canyon Dam. Several housepits and a rock shelter needed to be salvaged since the site was scheduled to be flooded by additional dam projects planned along the Snake River. Six weeks camping on the site made clear that this was a special place that deserved protection. 

The field school brought Cort and me together. Growing up in Blackfoot and Pocatello, Cort didn’t think much about the beauty and specialness of Idaho. Once he began his studies at ISU, he worked for the state museum there. His archaeology fieldwork across the state impressed upon him that the gem state’s diverse geology and landscapes were very special. At the field school in 1967 Cort was an ISU student in archaeology and I was a greenhorn with a Southern accent, but we both loved Hells Canyon. After our marriage, we enjoyed many camping and hiking trips across Idaho and other parts of the country. Most of those adventures introduced us to special places and wildlife that needed protection. 

We know we are extremely fortunate to live amid Idaho’s beauty and are aware of constant challenges to the protection of our public lands. We are grateful to ICL for your hard work. The well-written ICL newsletters remind us of the diversity of your endeavors including protection of wilderness areas and public lands and taking stands against projects and regulations that will diminish the air and water quality of our beautiful state. Jonathan Oppenheimer’s reports on the actions of the state legislature help us understand the political “ups and downs” of conservation work. We are pleased that ICL is not only fighting against poorly considered projects, but it is also loud in its support of projects and regulations that protect public health and deal with climate change.

Our Conservation Priorities  

Our conservation priority is the protection of wilderness and public lands that provide spaces for future generations to play in creeks and imagine where the water goes, to hike across diverse landscapes, to breathe clean air, to drink clean water and to simply find peace in our beautiful state.  

Thank you to everyone at ICL who helps us toward those ends.


Each of our members brings a unique perspective and a distinctive connection to our mission, creating a collective commitment to Idaho’s air, land, water and wildlife that is backed with a culture of caring. The diversity in why people support ICL is just as diverse as the landscapes and natural heritage of our great state. This diversity also reflects the huge breadth of issues ICL works on, and the collaborative and creative ways we work to get things done for our environment. Interested in sharing your ICL story? Contact Development Assistant, Jess McFarlane by email at jmcfarlane@idahoconservation.org or phone at 208.345.6933×227.

Not an ICL member yet but want to be? Or are you already a member and know someone who loves Idaho’s lands, waters, fish and wildlife? Become a member today and share the love of Idaho with others!