Sunday, March 6, 2011

Naturally great

Our county is naturally great in outdoor resources.

I didn't get a photo of the event this evening -- the lighting was very dim. Here was the take-home, an autographed copy of _Capturing Iowa's Seasons_.

I've loved Ty Smedes' nature photos (and the Scarths' photos) for years. As a guest of the Polk County Conservation Board (PCCB) volunteer banquet (representing Troop 888), I got to meet him as a guest speaker. His last name is two syllables -- I've always said it with one! He gave backstories that showed discipline in seeking great nature photo-making.

Smedes also gave a preview of his next book (due on May), which tells the story of the bald eagle in Iowa. Did you know that it first nested here (after a 72 year absence) in 1977 in Allamakee County?

My husband and I sat with PCCB's Pat Spain, Carrie Spain (JPEC), and Dennis Parker, as well as two volunteers. As the Planning and Outreach Coordinator, Pat gave a lot of information during the award portion of the evening's program. I'll share some here with you for consideration.
  • Over 600 volunteers gave over 9600 hours to PCCB in 2010. This is without three large events that were cancelled due to weather.
  • The annual River Run Garbage Grab always collects over 20 TONS OF RIVER TRASH. Mr. Spain stated that you'd think the amount of trash would decrease over the years as awareness for the event grows, but it doesn't. This event covered the Des Moines River from Saylorville down to Yellow Banks Park in the past. This year, the Raccoon River will be included.
  • About half of all volunteers and one third to one half of all volunteer-hours go to the Jester Park Equestrian Center.
  • Between 15 - 20 Eagle Scout projects were completed at county parks in 2010.

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