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Friday, December 31, 2010

There's Still Time to Make a Difference in 2010 -

Your tax-deductible investment in the Iowa Parks Foundation will help finance critical improvements in 22 State Parks, preserves and recreation areas in 2011.

1) Visit the Iowa Parks Foundation website and click on the 'Invest Now' button.

2) Invite five friends to become FB Fans and match your investment.

3) Plan to 'GO WILD' in 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Iowa Rivers Revival Congress - Saturday Jan 8th

Iowa Rivers Revival Congress  
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Izaak Walton League - 4343 George Flagg Pkwy, Des Moines
RSVP:; 515-202-7720
(name, address, phone, e-mail, and river(s) of interest)
FREE & open to anyone interested in attending


12:30 p.m. Registration and social time
1:00 p.m. Welcome
1:15p.m. Introduction to Iowa Rivers Revival River Congress Goals
RR Legislative Agenda
1:45 p.m. Break
2:00 p.m. Economic Value of Rivers
3:00 p.m. Break-Networking
3:20 p.m. Building a Statewide RIVER Coalition
4:15 p.m. River Bill of Rights
4:45 p.m. Closing
5:00 p.m. Adjourn

Each River Congress continues to build and broaden the base of Iowa’s river community and strengthen river policy influence. The most important aspect of the Congress is to develop a statewide river network-a force of river supporters who communicate with policy leaders about the importance of water quality and river conservation. We continue to hear from Iowa legislators and Iowans alike that there is no voice for Iowa’s rivers – with your help, we can to change that!
IRR is fortunate to have retained lobbyist representation for the 2011 session to provide representation for Iowa’s rivers on the hill, and an opportunity to better inform you about river policy issues during the legislative session.
Congress participants will learn about the 2011 legislative landscape and river priorities, and how we can work together to achieve those goals. The program will also highlight and discuss the economic value of rivers, and the need, importance and opportunities to expand a statewide river coalition. In 2008 River Congress participants helped draft a vision for the River Bill of Rights, we would like to revisit those principles each year to be sure they continue to be the goals and objectives for Iowa’s river advocates.

River Congress Sponsors: Des Moines Izaak Walton League and the Raccoon River Watershed Association

Please share this invitation – the outcomes from the River Congress should reflect a range of river perspectives and experiences from across the state: River Advocates • Conservationists & Environmentalists • Watershed Groups • Farmers • Anglers • Community Leaders • Hunters • Recreationists • Outdoor Outfitters • Students • Teachers • Wildlife Observers • Concerned Citizens-anyone interested in water quality and river stewardship.

Please RSVP. We will be providing district-watershed specific information for each participant. It will be very helpful to have participants RSVP in advance to help prepare this information. We will enter each participant that RSVPs in a drawing for a door prize.

IRR Facebook Link

Rosalyn Lehman
Executive Director
Iowa Rivers Revival
PO Box 72, Des Moines, IA 50301

New Year’s at Honey Creek Resort

from 5pm to 10pm

Enjoy all your favorites or Build Your Own Pasta Station. Select your favorite ingredients and our Chef will create it! Choose from 4 types of pastas, sauces and meats and a wide assortment of vegetables. Pasta dinners are served with choice of house salad, Caesar salad and garlic bread.

Adults $16.99/ with Champagne toast $18.99
Children 5-12 $7.99

Live music by Small Town Superheroes 9pm to 1am
Doors open at 8:30pm
Tickets at the door are $10. Open to the public.
Party favors and Champagne toast at midnight

12:00am TO 2:30am

Southern biscuits & gravy, fruit, sausage & bacon, breakfast potatoes, mini muffins and pastries. Includes omelet and waffle station.
Adults $9.95 children 5.95

•Indoor water park will be open until 12 am on New Year’s Eve
•New Year’s Day Bowl Games
•Beer specials and homemade chips during the game

IDNR Leadership Announced

From The Muscatine Journal -
Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 2:00 am

Muscatine attorney picked to run DNR
Mike Ferguson

MUSCATINE, Iowa - Gov.-elect Terry Branstad on Monday named Muscatine attorney Roger Lande to head the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Lande, 74, a longtime hunting and fishing enthusiast, is a partner in the Stanley, Lande and Hunter law firm, which has offices in Muscatine and Davenport.

He said his e-mail in box "was filling up fast" Monday afternoon as word of his appointment spread. Lande said he'll bring "my love of the outdoors and of Iowa" to his new job.

But before he can begin work, Lande must be approved by two-thirds of the Iowa Senate.

He said he doesn't plan to spend a lot of time preparing for confirmation. "I plan to simply go forward with what I have and who I am," he said. "I don't think I'll be studying up any."

In some ways, Lande's law career and his interests have prepared him for the job. "A long law career is helpful. You try to get people to make reasonable resolutions in places they may disagree. And I guess your outside interests drive your interest" in leading the DNR, he said. "With Iowa's wonderful outdoors and its parks and recreation and trail system - and the rest of its natural environment - it's a wonderful place to be.

"We will try to market it and make it an even better one," he added. "I don't think we market what Iowa has to offer in outdoor recreation and hunting and fishing. And we need to continue doing all the good work we've been doing on the environment."

The Iowa DNR is responsible for caring for Iowa's state parks, forests and other natural resources. The agency also oversees various conservation and environmental protection functions.

The agency has almost 900 full-time, permanent employees, Lande said, as well as seasonal employees the DNR hires when the weather's nice.

Lande, a Republican, said he never applied for the job. He told Branstad's transition team he'd be willing to help the next governor "remake Iowa government."

"I anticipated being on a task force or a study committee on a narrow issue," he said. "This came out of the blue."

In a prepared release, Branstad said he "can think of no one better to be a steward of Iowa's precious natural resources than Roger Lande. Roger and his family have long been champions of conservation of Iowa's rivers, woodlands, greenways, prairies and trails, and I am confident that Roger will excel in his new role."

Not everyone supported the nomination. Verne Tigges of Carroll, board president of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, said Lande's law firm has ties to agribusiness groups such as Monsanto and the Iowa Farm Bureau.

"Lande must prove that his career work as an industry insider won't prevent him from fulfilling the DNR's primary mission to protect the environment," Tigges said in a statement.

Lande said to his knowledge his firm had never represented Monsanto. "I'd like for him to tell me what that was," Lande said.

Lande also said that "responsible businessmen and farmers want to protect the environment, because it's in their self-interest to do so. When there are problems, some people want solutions and some people want to fight. We are talking about clean water, which we all want."

Lande said he's known Branstad for more than 30 years, but doesn't know him well.

He said he'll learn more about his new job "from a lot of good people" who already work for the DNR. "I know I'll know more about the job six months from now than I know now," Lande said. "It will be a huge task, but I'm sure I will get a lot of advice from my friends in Muscatine."


DES MOINES – Pat Boddy will stay on as deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), according to new DNR Director Roger Lande.

Boddy has served as deputy director since January of 2009 and has been the interim director of the agency since September when former director Richard Leopold stepped down to accept a position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Pat brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the DNR. She is a proven, capable leader who will provide continuity in protecting Iowa’s natural resources,” said Lande.

A licensed professional engineer, Boddy Boddy brings more than 25 years experience in the fields of water resources, parks and land management and communication management. She served as the director of the Polk County Conservation Board prior to joining the DNR and was the president of Boddy Media Group from 1996-2004.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue working with the DNR and helping the new administration reach its goals in protecting and enhancing Iowa’s natural resources,” said Boddy.

The DNR has more than 1,100 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $100 million dollars.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Cold Season is Here: Iowa State Parks Open for Winter Recreation

Iowa's state parks are open all winter, providing opportunities for snow shoeing, cross country skiing, wildlife viewing, ice fishing and to witness spectacular winter scenery.

"We don't hibernate completely," said Kevin Szcodronski, chief of state parks for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "We have a lot of unique opportunities during the winter months and our parks are open all winter long."

A solitary camping experience is available in state park cabins at Lake Wapello, Backbone, Pine Lake, Lake of Three Fires, Wilson Island, Black Hawk, Springbrook and Waubonsie. For a more rustic feel, there are camping cabins and the DNR's only heated shower building at Honey Creek State Park. Click this link to see the cabins, their amenities and to make a reservation.

Honey Creek Resort State Park offers cottages with more amenities, a hotel, an indoor water park, a restaurant and organized activities. Information on the resort is available online. 
Many state parks offer fishing, from northeast Iowa's trout streams to lakes across the state. Iowa trout streams hold fish through the winter and since the streams consist of spring fed, 50 degree water, they rarely freeze. Trout streams are in some of the most scenic areas in the state and offer a near solitary experience during the winter.

Ice conditions are favorable over most of the state and many lakes in Iowa state parks will offer excellent fishing this winter. Lake Anita, Viking Lake, Lake Macbride, Green Valley, Lake Rathbun, Clear Lake, Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, Big Creek, Lake Ahquabi, Red Haw and more are already producing excellent fishing for panfish and walleyes.

The trail systems in state parks are popular venues during the winter for hiking, snow shoeing and cross country skiing. Some state parks have trails that accommodate snowmobiling. For a listing of state parks, go to the Iowa DNR's website  then click on the state parks link in the column on the left. Select the park from the interactive map at the bottom of the page to see if snowmobiles are allowed on the trails.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


On Thursday, December 16 at 8 p.m., viewers across the state can enjoy the first in a new series focusing on outdoor recreation, environmental issues, conservation initiatives, and Iowa’s outdoor natural resources. The occasional series, called Iowa Outdoors, is created through a partnership between Iowa Public Television and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The premiere episode of Iowa Outdoors brings viewers to frozen farm silos in northeast Iowa for a one-of-a-kind ice climbing experience, record-breaking ice fishing on Spirit Lake, pheasant restoration efforts across Iowa, and the beauty of fall migration at DeSoto Bend National Wildlife Refuge.

Every edition of Iowa Outdoors will also offer how-to outdoor cooking recipes and nature photography tips from Iowa’s top wildlife shutterbugs.
Following the December 16 premiere, viewers can see the first episode again December 18 at 8 a.m., December 20 at 6:30 p.m., December 24 at 8:30 a.m., and on IPTV LEARNS January 3 at 8:30 a.m.

The series of six high-definition programs broadcast on Iowa Public Television will coincide with the publication of Iowa Outdoors magazine, which is published six times a year. 
Special Gift to Iowa Parks Foundation Investors
Make an investment of at least $125.00 in the Iowa Parks Foundation to Transform Iowa's Parks in 2011 and receive a complementary subscription to Iowa Outdoors Magazine. Just click on the INVEST NOW button on the right side of this page.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Transforming Iowa's Parks - End of Year


I am very proud to serve as a member of the leadership team for the Iowa Parks Foundation. We are a relatively new organization with a mission to strengthen the connection between Iowans and their parks by creating innovative partnerships and making strategic investments that will transform Iowa’s Parks and will improve Iowans’ health and quality of life.

Park use in Iowa is at an all time high and yet most of our state parks have become virtually self-service as we are challenged to repair or replace many outdated facilities. I think we are making great strides as we begin the transformation of our parks and strengthen the interpretive educational offerings available to visitors. I need your help with this effort.

As you and your family consider end-of-year charitable contributions, I ask for your financial commitment to assist the Iowa Parks Foundation build the organizational capacity that can advance our shared vision and mission.

In the near term, your investment will help finance critical improvements in 22 State Parks, preserves and recreation areas in 2011. I know our work will be of long-term benefit to all Iowans and will result in healthier Iowans, a healthier environment and healthier local economies as we build toward the 2020 centennial of the founding of the Iowa Parks System.

Your personal financial investment is absolutely critical to the success of our efforts. Through your contribution, you will support education outreach initiatives, advocacy with state and federal agencies, ongoing marketing and communication efforts and creation of a statewide constituency in support of parks and other places of natural beauty. Please consider your gift as one of vision, forethought and leadership in our shared efforts.

 I invite you to join our efforts and consider supporting the IPF by clicking on the 'INVEST NOW' button on the right side of this page to make an investment through our secure online system.

If you invest $125 or more, you will receive a complimentary subscription to Iowa Outdoors magazine, published six times each year and dedicated to providing readers with all of the latest information regarding Iowa’s natural resources. Iowa Outdoors brings you in-depth articles on Iowa’s natural resources including coverage about recreation, natural resources management and a broad spectrum of topics related to the outdoors.

What has the Iowa Parks Foundation accomplished to date?

 In partnership with the Iowa DNR, we completed a comprehensive state park asset inventory and needs assessment catalogue.
 We developed a database of more than 350,000 Iowans who are identified as active supporters of environmental conservation and outdoor recreation activities.
 We developed a communications strategy to be implemented in 2011 that will motivate Iowans to engage and volunteer in IPF programs and activities through their local parks.
 In 2010, Iowa legislators approved a $5 million annual appropriation (for 5 years) to begin the effort of re-building Iowa’s system of parks, forests, preserves and other places of natural beauty.
 The IPF worked as a member of Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy Coalition to encourage Iowa voters to approve the Iowa Land and Water Legacy Amendment - approved in November by an impressive margin.

These are important early steps to restore our parks but they are just the beginning. We need your help to continue the journey as we look forward to our 2011 goals for park transformation:
 Build state-wide constituency of supporters for long-term sustainability.
 Secure resources to match the investment made by the State Legislature in our parks. This will include applying for support from many potential corporate and foundation partners.
 Finalize market research and begin citizen input for the 21st Century park master plan.

For more information on Iowa Parks Foundation, please check out our website at – I appreciate your time and hope you will join me in this effort.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends.

Kindest Regards
Kent Sovern

The Iowa Parks Foundation is approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a not-for-profit private charity under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN 26-3418492). Your contribution to the Foundation is fully tax deductible under § 170 of the Code.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Friends Groups Are Invited to Apply for Every Day Grants

Deadline is January 30, 2011. The Application is Online Now!

Our nation's public lands need support every day. That support comes from "Friends Groups" who promote and help maintain public lands. The National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) seeks to strengthen these organizations and unleash their potential to serve their public lands.

If you work with or know of a Friends Group in need of additional funding, invite them to apply for NEEF's Every Day Grants.

Every Day Grants, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., are designed to provide funding to strengthen the organizational effectiveness of community based 501(c)(3) Friends Groups. NEEF will award 20 grants of up to $5,000 each to enable the Friends Group to improve their capacity to better serve the lands they love.

All public land Friends Groups that meet the eligibility requirements are invited to apply.

Applications are due January 30, 2011. Find out more and apply here.

Questions about the Every Day Grants? Consult our FAQs or email NEEF at

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Photographing Iowa Nature

A very interesting interview on Iowa Public Radio's "Talk of Iowa" program this morning.

Photographing Iowa Nature

Iowa's beauty is subtle—sometimes you have to look closely to find it. This hour, capturing Iowa's beauty in photographs. Charity Nebbe will speak with Robert and Linda Scarth, their work is featured in "Deep Nature: Photos from Iowa," (Univ. of Iowa Press) and Bill Witt of Cedar Falls, his photos appear in "Enchanted by Prairie" (Univ. of Iowa Press).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Bird Feed Prep

by Joe Wilkinson, DNR Information Specialist 

Another blast of cold air is a chilly reminder; winter... and winter bird feeding... lie just ahead.

Your winter bird feeding, and the backyard show of birds that comes with it, is best enjoyed by starting early. "Birds are establishing their feeding routes; where they will be visiting," explains Pat Schlarbaum, with the Department of Natural Resources wildlife diversity program. "If you're in that 'loop,' so to speak, then you are going to be seeing a lotta songbirds, this time of year."

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates about one million Iowans enjoy watching wildlife and spend $304 million a year on trips, equipment and supplies to pursue that past time. The largest share of that 'watchable wildlife' boom is most likely birding and the seed, suet and other high-calorie, high-protein food that makes it fun when winter envelopes the landscape.

"It's one of those things that improves the quality of our lives when we can connect with nature and have that immediate gratification of seeing songbirds and listening to their calls," offers Schlarbaum. "(Many of those people) feel like they are helping the birds and connecting with these wonderful resources."

Ronda Wilson has seen the fall birding boom for about a month now. The owner of Birds Eye View birding store in Coralville says a lot of our chickadees, cardinals and nuthatches are here year-round. "Others, the mourning doves, robins, redheaded woodpeckers for example, will shift to the south, if not full migration," says Wilson.

There will be plenty of new arrivals, too, as the hardier songbirds from Minnesota, Wisconsin and southern Canada decide that Iowa is far enough south for them.

And the best thing to set out for them? "Black oil sunflower seeds," echo Schlarbaum, Wilson and most other winter feeding experts. "I also suggest white proso millet and the thistle seed for many songbird species; suet, of course, for the woodpeckers," suggests Schlarbaum. "Peanuts really attract the tufted titmice. I suggest people set up individual feeders, rather than using the combination seed mixes in one feeder."
Those various feeders get a lot of attention, too. "The newest thing in feeders? Better ways to make them squirrel resistant," says Wilson. "Some of them even have fine adjustments, to keep out starlings and grackles."

Safflower seeds work, too. Squirrels ignore my old, house type feeder now that it is packed with safflower. And it still attracts cardinals and nuthatches. The sunflower seed and peanuts are in tube feeders, on poles; a lot harder to get to if the critter has fur instead of feathers. If squirrels...or pesky starlings start taking over, I stop stocking those feeders for a few days. The 'desirable' species have other stops to make in your neighborhood.

They'll be back. And the flocks of 'undesirables' will hopefully cross you off their mental maps and move on.

How to Ramp Up Your Bird Feeding Hobby?

Hemp. Wilson sells it as a supplement, "Bite for bite, hemp seed has more fat, oil and protein than other winter food sources. Plus it's a native Iowa species," plugs Wilson. And, yes, since you asked, the seed is sterile.

Year round? Get some cover on the ground for year round birding. "If you enjoy birds in the winter, try planting some natural cover; shrubs like wild plums, high bush cranberry; really beneficial to songbirds; escape cover, food and nesting cover," urges Schlarbaum.

Water. Birds need a drink, too. And a quick splash-even in sub freezing weather-lets them stay clean and regulate their body heat. An extension cord and an inexpensive clip on heating element keeps an open water supply...and multiplies the number of birds you will see. And use some of that water and disinfectant to clean out feeders before they are pressed into full winter service.
Learn More. Whether you rely on full service birding stores or reading it yourself, the more you know, the more you enjoy birding and the outdoors. That full service store wants your business and will advise you on the new techniques and products. A host of online sites and other links steer you in the right direction, too.

Just for fun... here's a quiz about winter bird feeding from Jim Pease, Iowa State University Extension,  Wildlife Specialist