More Iowans like these, please

Five great conservationists have been nominated for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation's 2008 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award. I am fortunate to know two of the five. Their knowledge and commitment inspire me.

After the jump you can read the press release that briefly describes each nominee. Click the links below to read longer summaries of what these people have accomplished. The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation will announce the winner later this summer.

Roland Bernau of Algona

Susan Heathcote of Des Moines

Roslea Johnson of Des Moines

Erwin Klaas of Ames

Jimmie Thompson of Ames

Feel free to mention any other outstanding environmentalists you know in the comments.

Nominees for the 2008 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award announced

This article was written and released in July 2008.

The Hagie Heritage Award is given annually to a person who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa's natural environment while encouraging others to do the same. The endowment fund for the award was established by Jan Shindel and Ila Jeanne Logan in honor of their parents, Lawrence and Eula Hagie. The recipient, to be named later this summer, will be awarded $1,000 and a hand-carved acorn sculpture. This year, five outstanding nominees are being recognized for their dedication to conservation in Iowa.

Roland Bernau of Algona owns a large native prairie in Kossuth County. The virgin prairie has never been plowed or seeded. For half a century, Bernau has preserved this prairie's natural condition as neighboring properties have become farmland and land values have risen.

Susan Heathcote of Des Moines is the Water Program Director at the Iowa Environmental Council, and she devotes many volunteer hours to protecting water quality in Iowa. Under her leadership, a volunteer water-monitoring program was formed, and support and funding for water quality improvement has increased significantly.

Roslea Johnson of Des Moines owns land in Madison County that contains native prairie remnants. She has restored and nurtured her prairie while sharing its beauty with others. She also has also led her neighbors in protecting and restoring their prairies for future generations.

Erwin Klaas of Ames has been called a "conservation guru." He is involved in an impressive range of conservation efforts around Ames, advocating for issues like water quality protection and sustainable growth. He also works to educate the public about conservation and to encourage civic action.

Jimmie Thompson of Ames has painstakingly documented the plant life in several counties in central Iowa, all while spending volunteer time and resources. He's a self-taught botanist who publishes his findings in scientific journals and helps the DNR preserve threatened plant species in Iowa.

For more information, e-mail Cathy Engstrom, Director of Communications, or call (515) 288-1846.

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