Prairie Rivers of Iowa Participating in Iowa Gives Green – A Day of Giving

Prairie Rivers of Iowa Participating in Iowa Gives Green – A Day of Giving

This article was produced in conjunction with the Iowa Environmental Council

The natural beauty of Iowa is a gift to behold. We have a picturesque landscape like no other. We have incredible soils. We’ve had a stable climate. We’ve had diverse flora and fauna in the tallgrass prairie. The Iowa of today may look different than it did 200 years ago, but our state remains a beauteous marvel that deserves to be celebrated.

Too often in Iowa, we’ve put productivity ahead of beauty. We’ve put efficiency ahead of diversity. On August 3 nearly 30 environmental organizations across the state, including Prairie Rivers of Iowa and the Iowa Environmental Council will participate in Iowa Gives Green, a day of giving that shows Iowans’ commitment to our environmental promise.

PRI board member and founder Erv Klaas teaching Iowa youth water quality testing

Prairie Rivers of Iowa board member and founder Erv Klaas working with youth to teach water quality monitoring as part of our efforts to address water quality issues in the state. 

This environmentally-focused day of giving empowers diverse groups to work together to support conservation, preservation, and recreation, and to engage Iowans on the same day with intentional action to support those efforts.

Gifts to Prairie Rivers Iowa and other organizations participating in Iowa Gives Green clean and protect Iowa’s waterways.  During Iowa Gives Green and throughout the month of August a gift to Prairie Rivers will have twice the impact due to a matching gift by one of its founders and well-known and respected champion for the environment ISU Professor Emeritus of Animal Ecology Erv Klaas.

Ag leadership has been touting the same ‘solutions’ for Iowa water quality, without results to show for it. Our environmental and conservation groups have ideas to bring to the table. Your support will help these groups implement new ideas and practices to deliver real results.

  • protect and invest in habitat and landscapes. Iowa is one of the most changed landscapes on the planet. By supporting the efforts of groups that are preserving and rebuilding ecosystems through land management and conservancy helps, you can help to build rural economies and critical pollinator and wildlife habitat.
  • provide recreation and education opportunities. Iowa offers incredible recreation opportunities, but our state ranks one of the lowest in the nation for public land. Your support can help these organizations to expand and improve our recreational spaces.
  • take action on climate. Extreme weather events in Iowa are no longer the exception, they are the norm — hotter summers, intense but erratic rain events, or the December 2021 tornadoes. We need to address climate change together, now. With your support, organizations across Iowa can implement their plans and help you to get involved.
  • Grow clean sources of energy. Our state is a wind energy leader and solar power is poised to grow exponentially. These groups seek to improve the landscape for clean energy development, so our state can transition to true, 100% clean energy 24/7.
  • Address environmental injustices in Iowa. Right here at home, the majority burden of pollution from fossil fuels damages the health and well-being of lower-income and minority communities. Drinking water across the state is threatened by polluting chemicals, lead pipes, and aging infrastructure. Rural Iowans struggle to gain access to transportation improvements, recycling initiatives, and other environmental efforts. All Iowans stand to benefit when we address historical injustices.

Iowa Gives Green helps to create an environmental movement that makes access to Iowa’s natural beauty available to all Iowans regardless of their economic status or the communities where they live. Join us in celebrating and supporting Iowa’s environment on August 3 for Iowa Gives Green by coming together to show how much Iowans truly care about our environment at www.iowagivesgreen.org.

Iowa Gives Green/Erv Klaas Challenge
Prairie Rivers Staffer Shellie Orngard Named to Change for Climate Cohort

Prairie Rivers Staffer Shellie Orngard Named to Change for Climate Cohort

The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition has created a select group of community environmental leaders to be part of a Change for Climate Cohort who will “receive training, professional mentoring and support, and funding to define and implement community projects that address real problems faced by Iowans due to climate change”.

Environmental leaders from across Iowa have recently been named to the cohort including Prairie Rivers of Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Coordinator Shellie Orngard.

Shellie Orngard
Dr. Jean Eells leading a PRI visioning retreat in 2019.

Dr. Jean Eells is seen here leading a visioning session for Prairie Rivers staff and board of directors back in 2019.

Thanks to Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education Program (REAP-CEP) funding along with coaching support from the E Resources Group’s Dr. Jean Eells, a frequent Prairie Rivers of Iowa collaborator, the cohort will create partnership and spearhead project that will address climate change issues based on what is best for their local communities. Additional training sessions will Community-Based Social Marketing and Resiliency and Adaptation to Climate Change workshops. The cohort is slated to begin sharing their projects with their communities in early 2023.

In addition to Prairie Rivers’ Orngard, other new members to the cohort include Northeast Iowa Peace & Justice Center’s Sharlene Bohr, Erica Carns of the Blank Park Zoo, City of Dubuque Sustainability Office/Green Iowa Americorps’ Sam Harris, and Story County Conservation Naturalist Beth Waage.