Thursday, August 31, 2006

Turtle Lady Wikipedia Entry needs help!

I got this e-mail from Anne Toal:

Hey Sandy,

Ila Loetscher has a mention on the Texas Wiki Project inside Wikipedia
as one of the most important Texans, but the link to her entry hits an
empty page. Think you could get some people who knew her to contribute
some content?




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ila's story is one of a remarkable woman with great determination and a lesson for all of us. When she was growing up in Pella, Iowa, she became intrigued by her father's Model T Ford. He was a physician and had one of the first autos in the area with which he made house calls. Ila went along on the house calls with him, but not to learn about medicine. At age twelve, Ila was driving her dad's Model T. At age twenty-two, she became the first licensed woman pilot in the state of Iowa at a time when there were only about 120 women in the United States who were licensed pilots She became associated with Amelia Earhart as a charter member of the 99's Club, formed by ninety-nine licensed women pilots in the United States. Recruited by Amelia, their purpose was to encourage other women to achieve their goals in technical fields not then easily accessible to women These women flew air shows, county fairs, delivered mail and gave flying lessons. Ila went on to marry and with her husband, David Loetscher, moved to the east coast, eventually settling in New Jersey. Her continued interest in flying brought her into contact and friendship with Charles and Ann Lindbergh. Ila reminds us that in addition to being a great writer, Ann Morrow Lindbergh was also a pilot. Living on the east coast, Ila found her flying too great a drain on the family finances and so she gave up flying. She remained active in the 99's, enjoying the meetings, which were held in New York City.
In 1955, Ila's beloved David died of cancer. She tells us that it was too painful to remain in New Jersey and in 1957, moved to South Padre Island to work through her grief. Ila has many wonderful stories of those early days on the Island, beach combing with her dune buggy and driving across the bay in her amphibious car.
In 1966, Ila saw a film depicting the plight of the most endangered all of sea turtle species, the Kemp's ridley and was determined to help. Although not a biologist and sixty-two years old, Ila made a difference. Enlisted by the Adams family from Brownsville which had seen first hand the slaughter of these smallest of all sea turtles, she traveled to Mexico with them to help protect the turtles, their nests, the hatchlings, and the only known nesting site of those turtles. Ila studied everything she could find and, with Darrell Adams' successful appeals to the Mexican government in Mexico City, received permission from the Mexican government to bring turtle eggs to South Padre Island to begin imprinting experiments to try to expand the Kemp's ridley nesting site. She participated in research projects and was the first person to breed sea turtles in captivity. In the 1970's, her efforts turned toward rehabilitation and education. In 1977, Ila formed the not-for-profit corporation, Sea Turtle Inc., and her home became a sea turtle rescue center and classroom for the thousands of people who visit each year.
In addition to her message of conservation, Ila's life gives us another message. When Ila was a twelve-year-old girl, people said she was just a girl and couldn't drive a car. She did it anyway. When she was a young woman of 22, she was told she was a woman and couldn't fly a plane. She did it anyway. When she was 62 years old, she was told she was an old woman and that she couldn't make a difference. She didn't listen to those naysayers either and today she is internationally recognized for her unflagging efforts on behalf of sea turtles. Television talk shows, documentaries, National Geographic, Mother Earth Handbook, and other magazines and news articles all honor Ila and her efforts. She is ranked among the top three of the pioneering Sea turtle conservationists, along with researcher Archie Carr and Darrell Adams. Jacques Cousteau anointed Ila "Wavemaker" for her outspoken efforts on behalf of the endangered sea turtles and today thousands of people still come to hear her message.
Counted among her great achievements must be the spark she lights within us to follow her example - to choose a goal and go for it and never be deterred by those who do not believe.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Lucinda said...

Hey anonymous -- this is fantastic! (Please identify yourself! Would sure love to give credit where it is due.)

5:45 PM  
Blogger Anne Toal said...

Thanks for posting my question! I never knew any of that about Amelia Earhart and Ila Loetscher. Anyone else have any info on her? For instance I'd like to know her reaction to the way she was treated on the Letterman show.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Honest, is that stuff copywrited? That has to be the best bio of Ila I have ever heard.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys...used to work there (city hall). Sam and Sandy may be able to figure it out. I was in meetings with you Sandy, and Sam I used to send you email when you were considering your move. I wrote you Sam, to visit me on Lake Travis when I was there.

I wrote a lot about Ila with the help of Mary Ann Tous, (one of the nicest and most gratious people I have ever known). I miss most of you, but never got to know most of you as much as I would have liked. I was on a leash; and I hate about that kind of restraint especially when it was so politically generated. I believe most of this verbage was written by someone other than me, perhaps, by Jeff George, but I did my utmost to perpetuate her memory and give her her proper due (hugeness) and still do to this day.

Ila was a remarkable person on the same scale as Beryl Markam. "West With the Night". One of the most privilaged nights I spent in my life was being present with Mary Ann and Ray at the presentation of the marker at the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame when Ila was honored there.

One of my fav stories waas about Ila's amphicar. She used it to cross the bay.

During my time, on SPI, or perhaps my life I had no greater honor than spreading Ila's memory. I regret having never met her.

Hope you are all well and safe. Many times I miss being there, and always miss the beach and the smell of the salt. My best to you all....

2:07 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Michael Montgomery? Is that close? Gosh I feel bad I never called you when I was down the street in Leander, by Lake Travis. I was painting the house, blew out my knees, and had to pack a 6-ton truck. Oh, and with 2 kids over 11 years in the same house, the obligatory 3 trips to the dump! Sorry I missed you.

I was surprised that when I got down here on SPI and started noodling around, No Mr. Montgomery anywhere. You don't have to post why ... I was just perplexed, as I looked forward to meeting you here.

But dude, you can write like a charm, I tell ya. What you wrote is something that should ... well, shared and savored. Happy Labor Day Weekend 2006,

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We remember you fondly, Mike, and miss you. Your leaving was a loss to the Town even if "they" did not know it.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems the gig is up. Thanks friends, I appreciate your comments. I hope we will meet or meet again sometime. I enjoyed serving you. I will always be watching,listening and sometimes writing. My experiences on SPI go back to childhood. I always loved the place. Call if I ever can help...Sam, I do post some stuff on your blog as well, not often, but mainly when I hear BS...And, there is definately a large jar of that.

11:55 PM  

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