Ames, Iowa – The Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education programs Iowa Learning Farms (ILF) and Water Rocks! have been recognized by the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) with the 2021 Conservation Innovation Award for their Conservation Station trailers. The Conservation Innovation Award recognizes an outstanding activity or service that promotes the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
“The Conservation Station Mobile Education Trailer Program embodies conservation innovation,” said Clare Lindahl, chief executive officer of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. “It marries science, practice and art to facilitate learning experiences. I have heard first-hand from farmers and youth who have been inspired and empowered to engage in conservation because of their interactions with a Conservation Station.”
The Conservation Station fleet is comprised of four trailers, each equipped with hands-on demonstrations, educational materials and equipment, games and activities, and are designed to provide an immersive educational experience that is uniquely relevant to Iowa. The newest trailer, Conservation Station Marsh Madness, was launched in May 2021 and focuses on wetlands education. It features three 3-D museum-quality interactive models that demonstrate the unique landscape placement and hydrology of different wetland types in Iowa, as well as a full sensory immersion learning lab with images, sounds, 3-D plants/animals, and floor-to-ceiling artwork.
“We are delighted to have our Conservation Station trailers be selected by SWCS for this innovation award,” said Jaqueline Comito, Iowa Learning Farms director. “These mobile education platforms are integral to the core outreach and education mission of the Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks! programs and make up the heart of our summer activities. We are very fortunate to have ongoing support and funding from partners that enable us to continue bringing science-based information about water quality and natural resources to as many Iowans as we can.”
Funding for the Conservation Stations is provided by ISU Extension and Outreach, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA Section 319), Iowa Nutrient Research Center, and Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
The Conservation Station trailers are fully booked for the 2021 summer season with planned appearances at field days, community celebrations/festivals, fairs, farmers markets, youth camps and summer school events. Staffed by ISU experts, the Conservation Stations provide a comprehensive learner-centered platform to encourage multi-generational visitors to be active participants in exploring the interconnectedness of the natural resources around them.
To find a Conservation Station appearance in your area, please visit https://www.waterrocks.org/calendar