Obama returning to Iowa and other events coming up during the next two weeks

President Barack Obama will speak about energy in Newton on Earth Day (April 22), a White House official told the Des Moines Register today. Two manufacturers in the wind energy industry have located in Newton since the former Maytag plant shut down.

Click “there’s more” for information about other events during the second half of April.

As always, post a comment or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if you know of something important I’ve left out.

Thursday, April 16:

From One Iowa:

April 16, 2009 7:00 PM

PFLAG Dubuque Meeting

St. John’s Lutheran Church

1276 White St.

Friday, April 17:

Senator Chuck Grassley will be in Des Moines for a “Tweetup” with Twitter users. Details here:


From the Iowa Environmental Council e-news:

Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Conference

The Iowa Academy of Science will hold its 121st annual meeting April 17-18 at Des Moines University in Des Moines. In addition to presentations by Iowa researchers and scientists, there will be several symposia and speakers of general interest. Topics include: the role of science and technology in public policy; a scientific approach to animal welfare; Iowa’s catastrophic weather of 2008; antibiotics in agriculture and medicine; the year of astronomy; evolution and creationism; and how chimpanzees inform the understanding of human evolution. For more information, go to http://www.iacad.org/.

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is hosting its monthly Crossroads luncheon. Call to make sure you can still get a reservation, because technically RSVPs were required by April 14:

The next Crossroads luncheon is…

Speaker:               Luai Amro

President, Islamic Center of Des Moines

Subject:                Islam 101

Date:                    Friday, April 17

Time:        11:45 – 1 p.m.

Location: Plymouth Congregational Church, Des Moines (42nd Street & Ingersoll Avenue )

Cost:         $9.00

Reservations are required for Crossroads.  Please call (515-279-8715) or email (events@interfaithallianceiowa.org) by Tuesday, April 14.

Saturday, April 18:

If you’re within striking distance of Iowa City, check out this event:

The Green Summit “Environmental Conference & Expo”

What: Workshop

Host: UISG, UIEC, UI Office of Sustainability, Green State Solutions

Start Time: Saturday, April 18 at 8:00am

End Time: Saturday, April 18 at 5:00pm

Where: W401 Pappajohn Business Building until noon, Pentacrest until 5pm (Iowa City)

From the Iowa Environmental Council e-news:

Osprey Fun Run/Walk

The Osprey 5K, a fund raiser for Annett Nature Center Osprey Project, will take place Saturday, April 18, 9:00 am. (8:00-8:45 Registration/Packet Pick Up at the Annett Nature Center). The course starts and finishes at the Annett Nature Center, located at 15565 118th Avenue in Indianola. The 3.1 mile route includes Lake Ahquabi State Park. Immediately following the event, snacks and refreshments will be served and prizes will be awarded. REGISTRATION BY MAIL OR IN PERSON- $25 by April 13. $30 after April 13th. For more information, directions and registration, go to http://www.warrenccb.org/index…  

From Iowa Interfaith Power and Light:

A Cool Congregations workshop will be held at Plymouth Church, 42nd and Ingersol, DM on Sat. April 18.  Registration and complete information found at http://plymouthgreen.org  A $20 registration fee is suggested, but no one will be turned away.

Learn how to organize a meaningful new dimension to your stewardship program in which interested congregants make a faith based pledge to reduce their global warming emissions by taking energy efficient actions, often saving money in the process!  Participants will calculate their carbon footprint, find ways to reduce it. and learn how to organize a “Cool Congregations” stewardship program in their congregation.

Green Team Networking  At the same time, we will be offering a networking workshop for congregations that have already sent people to a Cool Congregations workshop and established a green team to address the problems of global warming.  The intent of this session is to share our experiences, successes, and concerns and to band together to present programs to our congregations and to the public.

I learned about what sounds like a really fun event in Muscatine from the UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education:

April 18 – Saturday

1 – 3 p.m., Environmental Discovery Center, 3300 Cedar St., Muscatine

Creating Your Story

This family program, part of Muscatine’s Annual Community Read for the Environment initiative, will be led by author and Department of Natural Resources district forester Mark Vitosh along with Muscatine County naturalist David Bakke.  Ideas for creating a family book will be shared. Participants are encouraged to bring cameras and dress for planting trees and enjoying the outdoors. For information, call Dave Bakke at 563-264-5922.

From the Iowa Environmental Council e-news:

Spring Clean-up Day at Beeds Lake

April 18, North Central Iowa

The Friends of Beeds Lake are hosting a Spring Clean-Up Day at Beeds Lake State Park, April 18th begining at 9AM. Help us celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day! The Hampton Kiwanis will provide a free lunch for volunteers. Chores range from staining park benches and tables to picking up sticks and trash. Rakes, shovels, brushes/stain and bags will be provided. Dress for the weather and bring some gloves. Contact Gale Goranson at the park office (641-456-2047), Dave Heyden at fobl@friendsofbeedslake.hamptoniowa.org for volunteer opportunities.

Sunday, April 19:

Numerous Earth Day-related events are going on around the state. Check your local newspaper’s calendar of events. I’ll be at Earth Day in the Junction in West Des Moines’s Valley Junction.

In Burlington there will be the first of a series of events honoring Aldo Leopold:

Events Honoring Aldo Leopold

Spring 2009, Burlington

The Leopold Heritage Group in Burlington will host several spring events in honor of Burlington native Aldo Leopold.

April 19: Wild Words and Art Contest Awards and Readings, 2 p.m., Starr’s Cave Nature Center.

April 25 – Bird walk, 6:30 a.m., Starr’s Cave.

April 25 – “Whitetail: Treasure, Trophy or Trouble – A History of Deer in Iowa,” by Larry Stone; 2 p.m., Starr’s Cave.

May 7 -“Aldo Leopold: Writing From His Burlington Roots,” by Steve Brower, 7 p.m., Burlington Public Library.

Throughout April – Readings from “A Sand County Almanac,” KBUR radio, Burlington. For information, visit http://www.leopoldheritage.org/

Monday, April 20:

The UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education will host this event at 7 pm in the CEEE auditorium in Cedar Falls:

Wes Jackson, president of The Land Institute and an international leader in the sustainable agriculture movement, will discuss “The 50 Year Farm Bill,” looking at key ideas in agriculture as well as environmental studies. Jackson founded The Land Institute in his native Kansas in 1976. He is the author of several books including “New Roots for Agriculture” and “Becoming Native to This Place.” He was a 1990 Pew Conservation Scholar, in 1992 became a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2000 received the Right Livelihood Award (called the “alternative Nobel prize”.)  

From One Iowa:

April 20, 2009 6:30 PM

PFLAG Cedar Rapids

Faith United Methodist Church

1000 30th St., NE.

Nate Silver, the statistician who was once known as “poblano” and blogs at www.fivethirtyeight.com, will give a public lecture at Iowa State University at 8 p.m. The topic is “How Obama Really Won the Election.”

Tuesday, April 21:

Plains Justice founder Carrie La Seur will speak at two events in Iowa City:

Careers in Environmental Justice

What’s it like to have a career working in social justice and environmental law? Find out on April 21, when Carrie La Seur will discuss her experiences as the founder of Plains Justice, a public-interest law center that defends the right to environmental justice and a sustainable economy through community partnerships. The talk will take place from 4 to 5 pm at the University of Iowa in Room 1124 of the University Capitol Centre. This event is free and open to the public. Contact Amy Palace for more information: amy-palace@uiowa.edu. Campus map: http://www.uiowa.edu/~maps/u/u…

Climate Change Lecture

Carrie La Seur, the Founder and President of Plains Justice, will discuss climate change and what can be done about it. Plains Justice is a public-interest law center that was founded in part in response to a now-cancelled proposal to build a new coal-fired power plant near Waterloo, Iowa. Plains Justice works for environmental justice and a sustainable economy through community partnerships. The lecture will be held from 7 to 8 pm at the University of Iowa in Room 1117 of the University Capitol Centre. This event is free and open to the public. Contact Amy Palace for more information: amy-palace@uiowa.edu. Campus map: http://www.uiowa.edu/~maps/u/u…

From Iowa Interfaith Power and Light’s e-mail newsletter:

A Find-Out Event: Is it feasible to grow a garden at your church?

Churches, non-profit organizations, businesses, and schools that are located on properties with open landscapes are invited to a “find-out” meeting regarding constituent gardening on Tuesday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Black Hawk County Extension office, located at 3420 University Ave., in Waterloo.

Across the nation, churches, businesses and schools are tilling sections of their property to grow vegetables to share garden produce with seniors or with those who may not have the means to grow their own vegetables.

The find-out session will help representatives of Cedar Valley organizations determine the feasibility of such projects in our own area.  The event will be coordinated by Julie Evenson, Extension Horticulturist, and Allen Ricks, Black Hawk County Extension Education Director. Models of community gardens and “how to” suggestions will be shared at the find-out event.

To register please call the Black Hawk County Extension office (319) 234-6811, or e-mail aviet@iastate.edu.

From the Sierra Club Iowa Topics e-mail list:

“Poisoned Waters” will be aired on the PBS program, FRONTLINE, on April 21.  According to the PBS news release, “More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways-the great coastal estuaries Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay-are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture, and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species is also threatened in both estuaries. As a new president, Congress, and states set new agendas and spending priorities, FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem, and why it’s so hard to keep our waters clean.”

You can see a promotional trailer for the program at the link below.


Wednesday April 22:

President Obama will speak in Newton, as I mentioned at the top of this post. Renewable energy, global warming and the role of “green jobs” in rebuilding the economy are likely topics in his speech.

From the Iowa Environmental Council e-news:

Earth Day Invasive Species Removal

April 22, Polk County

Grab the family or your co-workers and come help remove invasive species from a local park from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Invasive plants like honey suckle and garlic mustard are taking over our woodlands and degrading the habitat. Please bring gloves and dress according to the weather. Refreshments will be served. Join us in one of the following locations: Brown’s Woods, Easter Lake Park, Shelter #3, Fort Des Moines Park, Shelter #1, Jester Park, Shelter #5.  Contact Polk County Conservation at 515-323-5300 or www.leadingyououtdoors.org for more information.

Thursday, April 23:

Benefit Concert for Heritage Trail

April 23, Dubuque

Dubuque County’s Heritage Trail sustained heavy damage in the floods of 2008. A benefit concert April 23 by Jon Stravers and the Big Blue Sky band will help raise money for repairs. Vocalist Kristina Castaneda and alma sub rosa also will perform. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Mindframe Theaters, 555 JFK Road, in Dubuque. Admission is $10. For more about the trail, visit http://www.envision2010.org/tr… For more about the event, call Jennifer Tigges at Tri-State Trail Vision, 563-583-7128.

Saturday, April 25:

The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation is organizing this important event:

Prairie Rescue-Volunteers Needed

Jones County

Celebrate Earth Day by saving an original Iowa landscape! Volunteers are needed for the Prairie Rescue at Breen Prairie Farm in Jones County, Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This event, hosted by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, is part of the 10th annual statewide Prairie Rescue. Volunteers will use hand tools to remove invasive shrubs and trees from the prairie. Adults and kids over age 7 are welcome – no experience necessary! More information about this and other 2009 prairie rescue events are at www.inhf.org/prairierescue2009.htm, or contact Ann Robinson or Joe McGovern at INHF, 515-288-1846.

There will be another Cool Congregations workshop (see above), this time in Ames:

Saturday, April 25th, 9:00 AM – Noon  (Registration begins at 8:30 AM)

First Christian Church, 611 Clark Ave, Ames, IA 50010

Please pre-register with Kay Scott, (515) 233-1849 or revkscott@aol.com.

From the Iowa Environmental Council’s e-mail newsletter:

Earth Day Environmental Learning Fair and Celebration

Please join us at Gullpoint State Park Lodge, on the shore of West Lake Okoboji, in Wahpeton, for our 6th annual Earth Day Environmental Learning Fair and Celebration.  9-4:00 pm: Lectures Series; informational Displays; live animal displays; Kids corner, hikes and food. Join us for this FREE FAMILY FUN DAY! At 5:30-8:00 PM is our “EARTH DAY CELEBRATION.” Bring hors d’ourves to share, your family and friends to our annual Earth Day Celebration! Rich Leopold, Director of the Iowa DNR will kick off our celebration with a keynote Speech.

Monday, April 27:

From One Iowa:

April 27, 2009 7:00 PM

PFLAG Decorah Meeting

St. Benedict’s Catholic Church

309 W. Main St.

Thursday, April 30:

Iowa Bicycle Coalition Fundraiser in Iowa City:

IBC will host a Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament on April 30 at 7 PM to raise funds for better and safer bicycling in Iowa. 1st place will hopefully pay between $400 – $500 depending on the number of players. Buy in is $30 for 800 chips, with an opitional $20 for a 500 chip add on or rebuy. If you ride your bicycle to the event you will receive an extra 100 chip. All are welcome. Even if you don’t play cards, please stop by — the Legion has food and beverages. Let’s fill the parking lot with bicycles.  Iowa City American Legion, 3016 Muscatine Ave.  For more information, please call 319-330-5587

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