School gardens compost project at Kate Mitchell

Below is a press release from Ames Community School District regarding the school gardens compost project. Mitchell Elementary School Earth Week waste sort/compost project AMES–In celebration of Earth Day, Mitchell Elementary School’s Student Council members are working through much of the month of April to coordinate a school-wide compost project with the help of AmeriCorps VISTAs through the Volunteer Center of Story County. A project of the Kate Mitchell Elementary School Garden, this Earth Week waste sort/compost celebration provides students with hands-on learning experiences that bring to life their core learning in school. After lunch each day, Mitchell fourth and fifth grade classes weigh all the discarded food and chart the categories of waste. The students use their math skills to convert pounds of waste to kilograms. They discuss waste reduction methods such as recycling, reusing, vermicomposting, and others. Mitchell 5th grade teacher Allison Martens-Noll said, “I’m excited to see how we can relate our results in the lunchroom to the classroom with graphing and...
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Celebrating National Public Health Week

This week is National Public Health Week.  Last week I attended the Iowa Governor's Conference on Public Health.  Many elements of the conference continue to plague my thoughts. The Top 3 The current direction of healthcare costs are not sustainable.  -Diane Rydrych, Director, Division of Health Policy, Minnesota Department of Health 70% of factors affecting an individuals health are within their control.  -Governor Branstand, Iowa Governor  "Today, seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to preventable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Another striking fact is that 75 percent of our health care dollars are spent treating such diseases. However, only 3 percent of our health care dollars go toward prevention."  -Iowa Public Health Association After connecting with several entities in the Public and Environmental Health arena.  I discovered a consistent trend.  Unhealthy lifestyle choices are so well ingrained into our culture that even public health agencies struggle to make the change. The average American consumes 14% more...
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“Disrupting the pink aisle and inspiring the future generation of female engineers”

Goldiebox is a toy company that has developed a set of interactive games and toys that will change how parents will buy toys for their children.  CEO Debbie Sterling was disappointed in the female representation in her engineering program at Stanford which is why she developed Goldiebox.  She hopes that by providing girls with toys that spark inventiveness and a different way of playing that silly gender stereotypes are just that, silly gender stereotypes. Watch this Goldibox advertisement that says it all....
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Visit us at the Ames Eco Fair 10-2 March 29th

The third annual Eco Fair will be held this Saturday, March 29th from 10-2pm at the Community Center Gymnasium (515 Clark Avenue). The purpose of this free event is to educate the public on water conservation, reducing electrical consumption, among other green initiatives. There will be over 40 vendors of various businesses and clubs that want to make a difference with different activities on a green lifestyle. Events include door prizes, giveaways, and handouts. Please stop by the Prairie Rivers of Iowa booth to visit with us on our various programs we have. Our Log Products Coordinator, Mike Brandrup will be there to answer question about our Iowa Oak Cabins, and to answer questions to Squaw Creek. Ruth Powell, our Local Foods Coordinator will also there to answer questions....
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Creating a Local Taste

Food is a basic necessity.  It is also a way to experience, explore and understand a culture.  One of my favorite parts about traveling is getting to experience the food.    Generally one third of a trip's cost is devoted to food.  Culinary or food tourism has become a significant economic stimulus for many local communities.  Rebecca LeHeup of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance has been a passionate advocate for food tourism.  She spoke yesterday at the Iowa Culinary Tourism Summit where roughly 60 folks from various locations across Iowa attended.   Parties represented included local farmers, governments, businesses, students, and nonprofits. It was great seeing so many people engaged in utilizing food to improve their local economies.  Investing in local foods can have a 1:3 ratio of return.  That means for every $1 invested into local food there is a $3 return to the local economy.  In comparison, food that is sourced outside a local system has a 46 cent return for every...
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Health and Local Food Systems

How do we improve our citizens' health if we don't improve our local food system? We should not let the large, integrated food system coop the progress made by those working on our local food system. Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation North Carolina says they are just starting to understand how the two concepts of local and health can achieve healthier communities. ...
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Lincoln Highway’s Corridor Management Plan

As you may know, Prairie Rivers of Iowa manages the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, one of 11 byways in Iowa (a byway is a road specially designated by the United States or by the State of Iowa for its distinctive qualities).  Part of our work along the byway is telling the story of the people and places of the Lincoln Highway, by working to preserve its history, by promoting local businesses and events, and by working with communities and statewide organizations to recognize its unique character.  If you've seen us at a motor tour stop, presenting to a community group, or read a Lincoln Highway brochure, you've seen some of our work on the byway. Beginning this spring, we are launching a three-year initiative: creating a new Corridor Management Plan for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway.  A Corridor Management Plan, or CMP, is a document that both reveals the assets of the Lincoln Highway and creates a plan for preserving and...
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