Launching the first Iowa Outdoor Learning Environments Conference!

June 18-19, 2018 – Ames, Iowa

Gateway Hotel and Conference Center


Goals for the Iowa Outdoor Learning Environments (OLE) Conference:

  1. Building community and a statewide network.
  2. Educational sessions featuring regional and national experts.
  3. Connecting people to effective and innovative resources.

Educators, administrators, site managers, design professionals, and others strongly value professional development opportunities that improve their teaching techniques and content knowledge. This conference will include sessions on OLE process and planning, creating educational programs, and OLE design, implementation, and maintenance.

Prairie Rivers of Iowa leads the state in championing the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) Program.

Purpose of the OLE program:
To provide a unique opportunity for Iowans to build community value by creating accessible and vibrant outdoor learning spaces that enhance people’s relationship with the outdoors and inspires people using Iowa’s native landscapes.


Conference Partners:

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is a federally recognized 501(c)3 innovative non-profit organization headquartered in Ames, Iowa. Our mission is to promote economic development through the restoration and conservation of Iowa’s cultural and natural resources, which will in turn promote economic development. We fulfill our mission through dedicated programs that work with community members, landowners, partner organizations, and many others to build connections that drive economic and conservation value in Iowa.

Founded in 1958, the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC) is a non-profit organization with a long-standing tradition of providing professional development to environmental educators. We are the unifying voice for conservation and environmental education in the state of Iowa. ICEC promotes environmental education by building connections between educators and their local resources. This helps educators connect learners with authentic content and knowledge about the real world outside their windows. In doing so, learners of all ages may find small, relatively simple methods of becoming better land and resource stewards in ways that benefit their local community.

In 1988, the Iowa Legislature established the Living Roadway Trust Fund (LRTF) within Iowa Code 314.21. The Iowa Department of Transportation administers this fund, including an annual, competitive grant program that provides funding for integrated roadside vegetation management (IRVM) activities to eligible cities, counties, and applicants with statewide impact. In doing so, the Iowa DOT and its partners promote and educate the public about the need for an integrated approach to managing the vegetation along Iowa’s roadsides. This approach ensures that roadside vegetation is preserved, planted, and maintained to be safe; visually interesting; ecologically integrated; and useful for many purposes.