Governor kicks off conservation milestones campaign

Governor Tom Vilsack helped kick off a new conservation campaign called "Conservation Milestones at the Millennium." The kickoff was held in conjunction with a riparian demonstration field day held recently at the vonLackum/Mack farm in Grundy County.

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Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack helps students from Grundy Center plant a tree at the vonLackum/Mack farm in Grundy County.

The Grundy County event was the first of 10 statewide events, each celebrating a different conservation milestone. The statewide campaign will celebrate conservation achievements on Iowa's private lands, while raising awareness that more can be done. At the Grundy County milestone, special recognition was given to the 100,000 acres of conservation buffers that are now improving water quality and wildlife habitat in Iowa.

Students from the Grundy Center Schools helped plant hundreds of trees as a conservation measure near a stream that runs through the farm. Governor Vilsack helped students plant a tree and was presented with the Iowa's Visions Book, a collection of concept statements on conservation from several Iowa organizations that deal with conservation issues.

Governor Vilsack visited with landowners, farmers, students, and conservationists and praised their dedication and leadership in protecting and preserving Iowa's natural resources. "I want to thank all of the partners represented here, specifically the private landowners and farmers of this great state. There has been a century of dedication to these milestones and I am looking forward to the next century of dedication. But it doesn't happen unless farmers and landowners are an integral part of the process. They have been, and they will continue to be (the reason) why we are able to celebrate this level of success."

The Conservation Milestones at the Millennium campaign emphasizes the importance of person-to-person relationships, bringing landowners and farmers together with the people who are affected by their work in conservation. The campaign also emphasizes the importance of partnerships and recognizes that many different agencies, organizations, and groups have worked together in the past century to protect and improve Iowa's natural resources.

The Conservation Milestones campaign was established to inform all Iowans about the accomplishments made in natural resources conservation on private lands, while highlighting the challenges that remain in caring for our natural resources. Enlisting the help of every Iowan is vital in gathering the resources needed to continue conservation efforts.

As farmers gear up for the growing season, it is hoped that the campaign will raise awareness of the importance of conservation as well as remind them of the reasons for using special farming techniques.

Leroy Brown, state conservationist of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and cochair of the campaign, says that continuing conservation work is important. "As we approach the new millennium, many issues important to our state surface--and none is more critical than the work of conserving Iowa's natural resources on private lands. In this campaign, we are trying to call attention to the significant progress that's been made in taking care of our land, water, wildlife and other resources, but also to point out what still needs to be done."

Conservation Milestones at the Millennium Events

Date Place Activity Milestone
ongoing (concludes Sept. 28-30) "A conservation farm is a thing of beauty (statewide) art contest $100 million in state cost share for conservation
April 21 vonLackum/Mack farm (Grundy County) field day 100,000 acres of conservation buffers
April 26 Springbrook State Park (Guthrie County) Iowa Envirothon 50 years of conservation education
May (to be announced) Loess Hills (western Iowa) to be announced 100 years of soil survey
June 25 Lake Sugema (Van Buren County) bus tour and barbecue 50 years of watershed protection
June 12 Dallas Center farm (Dallas County) kids' field day 50% of crops in conservation tillage
August 2 Three Mile Lake (Union County) tour and picnic 100+ years of water quality
Iowa State Fair Varied Industry Building at the Fair Grounds (Polk County) Iowa Quilters 100 years of building diversity in wildlife habitat
September 13 Iowa River Corridor Project (Iowa County) barbecue 50,000 acres of restored wetlands
September 14 Manley Bigalk Farm (Howard County) kids' fly fishing 100 miles of coldwater stream protection

This article originally appeared on page 55 of the IC-482 (9) -- May 10, 1999 issue.

Updated 05/09/1999 - 1:00pm