Robin Moore to deliver keynote at Outdoor Learning Environments Conference

Happy Outdoor Fun Friday! As you may have heard, we are hosting our first Outdoor Learning Environments Conference here in Ames on June 18th. We are very excited to announce that our Keynote speaker will be Professor Robin C. Moore from North Carolina State University, College of Design. Robin Moore has worked in landscape architecture as an educator, researcher, and consultant. He is an international authority on the design of children's play and learning environments, user needs research, and participatory public open space design. Moore has been involved in many large projects for outdoor spaces including the Nature PlayScape at the Cincinnati Nature Center, the Blanchie Carter Discovery Park at Southern Pines Primary School, the Playspace family play center in Raleigh, NC, just to name a few. More information about Moore and his work can be found here. Please don't miss this fantastic opportunity to see Robin Moore and learn more about how to implement, maintain, and use Outdoor Learning Environments. Make sure to...
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Field Day: Soil and Water Health in Action

On November 7, 2015 Prairie Rivers of Iowa hosted an informational field day which included a tour of two farms near Stratford, Iowa. The beautiful, crisp day filled with sunshine and pastoral landscape views created a perfect setting for learning about soil and water conservation practices such as prairie buffers, filter strips, wetlands, rotational grazing, and cover crops. The highlight of the day for many of the attendees was the hay-rack tour. It was a classic way to learn about two Iowa farms and their stewards. It's definitely safe to say that both the farmers and the group covered a lot of ground. The first stop of the tour was at a ridge on Jim and Anita Johnson's farm, Prairie Hill Farm of Hamilton County. From this location you could see the prairie field borders, a prairie filter strip, and a wetland surrounded by a large riparian area. This area intercepts water draining off their farmland, which includes rotational cattle pasture and row crops. It also intercepts some...
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Local Firm Helps Farmers After Bird Flu

Our Board Member, Jan Sherwood works with Shekar Engineering, out of Des Moines Iowa. Below is about a project they received to help farmers recover and clean up after the effects of the Bird Flu. Shekar Engineering, from Des Moines Iowa, has been in business since the 1990’s performing environmental consulting and construction services. In September, Shekar Engineering was awarded a contract with the USDA to work on turkey farms affected by bird flu in Sac, Buena Vista, and Cherokee counties. Each of the farms, consisting of four to five barns, lost turkey flocks consisting of as many as 40,000 birds earlier this year. Altogether, the various farms we worked on lost in total over 500,000 turkeys due to the strain of bird flu that was particularly virulent this year. The USDA provided clean up services to remove the birds as well as clean and disinfect the barns while they were under quarantine. The birds were removed along with up to a...
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Local Food Cycle on KCWI Great Day Show

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is bringing back the Local Food Cycle again this year. The Local Food Cycle is a culinary bike ride that is a special event where bike riders tour local farms, meet farmers and eat delicious culinary delights prepared by area chefs. This year’s ride is through eastern Story County. We were fortune enough to be a guest on KCWI Channel 23 Great Day show on Friday August 14th. Jessica Johnson, Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s Marketing Coordinator and Emily Zimmerman, with the Sustainable Agriculture Student Association were the interviewees. To register and find out more about the stops visit www.prrcd.org/bike Listen to the interview below: ...
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That Chautauqua Thing on October 3-4

For many older Iowans, Chautauqua is not a new word. But for non-natives, or if you are from a younger generation, you may have never heard of the word Chautauqua! In the late 1800's and early 1900's, each Chautauqua was a popular multi-county gathering, where folks would travel far and wide to attend the popular assembly. A Chautauqua brought education, culture, and entertainment for the whole community with speakers, teachers, musicians and entertainers. Legacy Learning Boone River Valley is putting a new spin on an old tradition with "That Chautauqua Thing" on October 3-4, 2015. It's about learning - a new skill, discovering a new hobby, the history of the region, or learning a heritage craft. This community-wide intergenerational learning weekend will feature events for the entire family with entertainment, tours, and both short and longer workshops. There's a range of prices - some are free! Individual workshops with their details and registration are on the website (see October 3-4 classes), so...
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Drake University Presents Plans

April 1st staff members and a few board members (Jim Richardson, Erv Klaas, Jan Sherwood, and Reed Riskedahl) ventured down to the capital city to listen to Drake University students present their comprehensive public relations campaigns for our organization. Four teams presented to our group followed by a question and answer session from us for each group. The result of these plans stem from a yearlong partnership with Drake University’s Public Relations Research Methods (JMC 136) and Public Relations Campaign Strategies (JMC 146) classes. First semester they focused on primary and secondary research. This time presentations were focused on giving Prairie Rivers of Iowa a variety of ways to strengthen our brand. Students communicated ideas on outreach opportunities, internal communication solutions, program building and materials are just a few of the subjects they tackled. The students were professional and very knowledgeable of their research they had conducted for their conclusions. With energy, imagination, catchy presentations and a few surprises to catch our attention,...
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Technology, it’s ever changing

Technology is something that is ever changing but yet is something that in this day and age we need. Staying on the ball is something that we all struggle with and are trying to always find that magic eight ball to stay ahead of the curve. For us here at Prairie Rivers of Iowa we are trying to keep up and one way is we make a point to make an investment in out staff by sending them to development trainings. Today, April 9, 2015 I am currently at the Minnesota Nonprofit Council Technology Conference. So far this morning I have gotten to get a more in depth view in Google Analytics and talking to various vendors on different technology products. I hope today I will come away with many great ideas to make ideas on how to help the user experience be more pleasant when you interact with Prairie Rivers of Iowa. This conference started at 7:30 this morning and its...
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Barn Owls May Be Coming Back to Iowa

Written by our Board Vice President, Erv Klaas   I just finished reading the Fall 2014 issue of the DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Newsletter in which biologist Bruce Ehresman wrote an article entitled “What’s Happening With Iowa’s Barn Owls?”  It brought back nostalgic memories of my own encounter with Barn Owls more than 40 years ago.  It was in the early years of my career as a research biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Maryland.  I was conducting studies on the effects of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides on Barn Owls.  The Chesapeake Bay was dotted with numerous off-shore blinds built by duck hunters.  These were often elaborate structures consisting of a large wooden rectangular box mounted on stilts in shallow water.  A partial roof projected over a bench for 3 to 4 hunters to sit inside.  A rough lean-to on the blind provided a place to hide a boat.  The outside of...
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Ride. Eat. Repeat. 1st Annual Local Food Cycle

September 7th was an exceptionally perfect day for a bicycle ride.  70 degrees with a slight wind out of the south made for the finest circumstances to enjoy the 1st Annual Local Food Cycle, a bicycle ride celebrating healthy sustainable food systems in Central Iowa.   Over 120 riders participated in the first year of the event.  Riders explored farms while savoring local foods prepared by area chefs.  The riders varied in skill level and age but all enjoyed the opportunity to experience local food in a new way.   The 40 mile route started at Moore Memorial Park in Ames and did a loop north through Story and Boone Counties.  Participants had the opportunity to visit six farms and a private wetland.  The farms were all small to mid-sized and did mostly fruit and vegetable production.   Mustard Seed Community Farm was the fourth stop on the route.  The small farm is dedicated to sustainable, simple living and creating a community in which everyone...
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Working with Drake University

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is happy to have entered early this year into a partnership with Drake University’s Public Relations Research Methods (JMC 136) and Public Relations Campaign Strategies (JMC 146) classes this academic year. Prairie Rivers of Iowa is working with Drake students to assit us in creating a wide range of marketing, research, writing, and other activities. During this the students receive their own professional experience that will aid them as they prepare for the job market. Students have begun working on primary and secondary research. The students came in to our office on November 7th to interview staff and are in contact with our board members, donors, and volunteers by sending out surveys. These interviews will help the students gain more insight to our organization and the people  we support. If you receive an email survey, please be sure to take a few minutes to complete it. Jim Richardson, Prairie Rivers of Iowa Board President, says, “Prairie Rivers is extremely...
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