Affiliate of the Week: Iowa Wildlife Federation
In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, the Iowa Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
Who We Are
For over 60 years, the Iowa Wildlife Federation has been a voice for wildlife diversity, outdoor recreation and science-based conservation in the state with ‘the most altered landscape’ in the nation. While many Americans may think of Iowa solely for its agricultural lands, the natural landscape was once a patchwork of prairies, wetlands, woodlands and forests. The rich prairie soil that comprises most of the modern landscape is vital for wildlife and communities, and also produces abundant bumper agricultural crops to feed a hungry world. IWF’s volunteer board and members are challenged to retain and re-establish wildlife habitat as well as a conservation-healthy attitude among Iowans. Getting kids — and their families — outdoors is the Iowa Wildlife Federation’s priority.
What We Do
This summer, IWF has taken on the advocacy role in Iowa’s Teaming With Wildlife (TWW) Coalition, the largest and most diverse coalition ever assembled in support of wildlife conservation funding, with nearly 200 members. As the national conversation picks up, with introduction of the Restoring America’s Wildlife Act (HR5650) in Congress, the Coalition’s goal is to grow membership to 300 in the coming year. IWF looks to bring in more conservation groups, nonprofit organizations, clubs and especially businesses which have a stake in the outdoor community.
Two special targets for membership are those with an interest in Iowa’s growing recreational trails industry and advocates of the fast-expanding pollinator species movement. Both target groups share similar interests—and concerns — about the habitat around them. IWF focuses and takes part in schoolyard and backyard prairie establishment, so they are looking to involve others interested in these priorities. They are currently working with other groups toward building a Monarch Consortium late this year.
The TWW follows in the path of previous advocacy pushes from restoration of trumpeter swans and peregrine falcons in Iowa to help in establishing one of the first statewide ‘bottle bills’ in the U.S. The bottle bill is credited with an 80% reduction of roadside bottles and cans across the state, from the late ‘70s through today.
IWF is once again part of the ‘Pelican Watch’. Wait… pelicans in Iowa? Yes, thousands migrate through the state each year — joining a few hundred local juveniles, which feed in the shallows of several reservoirs. Families flock from all over to see the big birds. There are usually dozens of pelicans, sometimes hundreds, which float by (in the sky, as well as on the water!) within spotting scope range.
Throughout the year, IWF works to increase their visibility by participating in events like Bald Eagle Day, an outdoor show, and fishing clinic venues.
Making a National Impact
In September, IWF hosts other affiliates of the National Wildlife Federation located in the upper Mississippi River at a workshop to identify what is being done state-to-state to reduce the flow of nutrients to the Gulf of Mexico ‘Dead Zone’. The Dead Zone refers to a region now about the size of the state of Connecticut where little to no marine life can be found.
Affiliate representatives will detail efforts in their states, and discuss what more can be done — by affiliates and their respective states — to reduce the flow of phosphorus, nitrates and other pollutants down our nation’s largest recreation and transportation corridor.
See what is new and learn more on their website: www.iawildlife.org. Check on Lowell Washburn’s outdoor wanderings, or see what Iowa Wild Kids are exploring.