Help Transform Iowa's Parks

Help Transform Iowa's Parks
Become a Friend of the Iowa Parks Foundation

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Iowa Parks Foundation launches effort to improve, promote state parks

A Des Moines man with a background in education and public policy is leading an effort to improve Iowa's state parks. The Iowa Parks Foundation Board of Directors recently named Kent Sovern as the organization's first executive director. The Fort Madison native says his ultimate goal is to encourage more Iowans to visit the state parks and to improve the visitor experience.

The Iowa Parks Foundation was established in April of 2008 by former Governor Terry Branstad, former Congressman Neal Smith and Musco Lighting President Joe Crookman. The state parks system was established in Iowa in 1920. Branstad says Sovern will be charged with enlisting public support for the centennial celebration in 2020.

Sovern admits he has a lot to learn about the usage, infrastructure needs and long-term goals for the parks. "I have six days set aside in January where I will be meeting with representatives with the Department of Natural Resources who actually manage the parks system and have that kind of information," Sovern said. "I'll be meeting with them in regional meetings across the state and really educating myself."

Sovern has served as the executive director of the Des Moines Higher Education Collaborative and says he hopes more kids will become interested in the state parks. "We hear a lot about leave no child behind or No Child Left Behind as far as the educational system...well, maybe we ought to have a statewide initiative that makes sure that we leave no child indoors as well, and get them an experience and appreciation of the natural world," Sovern said.

Sovern plans to hold a planning session with the Iowa Parks Foundation Board of Directors in April. For now, Sovern's consulting and management services company, New Iowa Group Limited, has signed a one year service contract with the foundation.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Iowa Trust Fund for Natural Resources

Help Establish a Trust Fund for Iowa's Natural Resources

Email your Iowa State lawmakers or visit them in person in Des Moines on Feb 17

We are well into the 2009 legislative session and I want to keep you informed on the progress of the Natural Resources Trust Fund bill (SJR1/HJR1).
With your help it will pass the Iowa Senate and Iowa House early this session.

SJR1/HJR1 moved quickly through the House and Senate Natural Resource committees and is expected on the Senate floor in short order. You will need to encourage your Senator and House Representative to bring theb resolutions to their chamber floor for a vote. Please email your legislators and urge them to support SJR1 (Senate Bill) and HJR1 (House Bill)!

We still have some work ahead of us even if this passes in the Senate. The measure will need to come to a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives and be passed there.

RALLY DAY is Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - we will start at 10AM at the Wallace Building Auditorium to provide you with legislation background, comments from legislative guests and a "how-to" regarding the lobbying process prior to heading to the Capitol for lunch (an opportunity for you to invite your legislators to lunch) and begin conversations with legislators.

Join hundreds of your friends and neighbors as they take to Capitol Hill to talk with Iowa legislators about the importance of investing in our natural resources so Iowa's future generations can use and enjoy them.

What you can do:

Click here to learn more about this Trust Fund.

Questions? Contact Rosalyn Lehman, campaign coordinator
or 515-202-7720.