Updated: Feb 23
You're here to read about all the amazing projects and events Green Iowa AmeriCorps Members have accomplished between September 2020 and December 2020, right? You got a little taste in the newsletter and you just had to learn more. Well, below you'll get to read about many of the fun and inspiring achievements. Keep Calm and Read On!
Trees Forever in Cedar Rapids
Trees Forever, in partnership with the City of Cedar Rapids and Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust, held two Tree Adoption events where residents of Cedar Rapids were able to purchase trees at a low cost. Over these two events, they were able to hand out 1200 trees to residents, a small but significant start to their replanting efforts post-derecho. Olivia Dove, the Growing Futures Program Assistant, worked on program and volunteer coordination, by managing volunteer tasks and event logistics. Gina Errico, Marketing & Communications Support, developed the online ordering system, managed outreach materials, and also planned event logistics. The Tree Adoption event was a safe success, and the team reports that they are looking forward to hosting more in the spring to keep their replanting efforts going strong!
Tallgrass Prairie Center in Cedar Falls
During the month of October, Andrew Olson and Ethan Evans, the Land & Water Stewards at the Tallgrass Prairie Center, organized a two-day Prairie Plant Rescue event. The team coordinated and assisted with volunteer efforts to remove over 100 prairie plants from the construction site of the new Cedar Falls High School. This prairie was initially planted 10-15 years ago by the Tallgrass Prairie Center as part of the reconstructed prairies on University of Northern Iowa's campus. Andrew and Ethan trained volunteers on basic plant identification and equipped them with the necessary tools needed to transfer the plants back to the Tallgrass Prairie Center. In the Spring, the rescued prairie will be replanted within bioswales on the new High School's property, as well as donated to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank for a future rain garden.
WasteTrac in Cedar Falls
Throughout these last few months, Sustainable Schools Member Liz Stange has been working with the Black Hawk Co. Solid Waste Management team to create online formats of the BHCSW Education Team’s lessons. This process involves video creation, scripting, aligning standards, and lesson planning – as well as cleaning vermicompost bins! The creativity and collaboration has brought the team together through creating COVID-19 friendly content to classrooms. They've submitted this project as a presentation topic for the conference to be held next Summer.
Practical Farmers of Iowa in Ames
Emma Liddle and Megan Sweeney, Land & Water Stewards, have been writing articles and blogging for Practical Farmers of Iowa's (PFI) website, magazine, and newsletters! Emma crafted a 4-page Horticulture feature about high tunnel builds after the August derecho, and Megan wrote a piece for their blog focused on late-seeding cover crops. Megan also co-authored an article about the history of the PFI’s on-farm research program called the Cooperator’s Program. Both of these articles will be featured in PFI's Winter 2020 Magazine. The two have loved the writing opportunities that PFI has presented and look forward to more topics to cover in 2021.
If you're interested in reading more about late-seeding cover crops, you can find Megan's article here!
Matthew 25 in Cedar Rapids
The Sustainable Ornament Workshop began with the Lovseth family in Cedar Rapids demonstrating how they created ornaments from fallen trees after the Derecho in August. This sparked the idea for Marin Dettwiler, the Education Coordinator with Matthew 25, to plan an event that teaches participants how to craft upcycled Christmas tree ornaments from various products around the house. While crafting, individuals learned about the positive impact sustainability, recycling, and upcycling can have on the environment. Marin Dettwiler, Alyssa Young, and Michael Garner each presented their own hand-crafted ornament (see below), which were made from recycled paper, lightbulbs, and clothes pins!
Clear Creek Amana Community School District in Oxford
The project that's changing the Clear Creek Amana School District is Erica Dodge and Megan Watt's Sustainability Class. The two Green Iowa AmeriCorps Sustainable Schools Members have partnered with the Middle School STEM Teacher to create a class for all 8th grade students. This class covers sustainability in Food, Water, Stuff, and Energy, and offers students an inside look into how sustainable measures are created and implemented around those categories. In the first session, students learned how to make a water filter that meets current clean drinking water standards. In the next few weeks, as part of the second session which begins mid-January, students will take on the role of lawmakers to craft legislation about sustainability. The student's final project will revolve around reflection of what they've learned and a plan they will create for the Middle School for implementing more sustainable measures.
When not assisting with the Sustainability Class, Erica and Megan are hard at work applying for the Green Ribbon Award for their school district and organizing an Outdoor Classroom model. They also coordinate a Sustainability Virtual Club and a Sustainability Newsletter!