The Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks! team is the recipient of the 2023 Team Award from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. Team members include: Jacqueline Comito, Ann Staudt, Elizabeth Ripley, Nathan Stevenson, Alena Whitaker and Hannah Preston, agricultural and biosystems engineering; Matt Helmers and Kay Stefanik, Iowa Nutrient Research Center; Mark Licht, agronomy; and Adam Janke, natural resource ecology and management. Team members contribute to the successful impact the programs make on Iowa in the areas of conservation, water quality, natural resources, biodiversity and agricultural practices.
Iowa Learning Farms, which began in 2004, provides education and outreach to farming and conservation communities. Their activities include weekly educational webinars, field days, Conservation Station trailers, a Whole Farm Conservation Best Practices Manual, and a robust water resources internship program. Water Rocks! began in 2012 and delivers award-winning educational programming to K-12 students across the state through school visits. Water Rocks! also offers a teacher summit and provides educators with hands-on learning and overviews of current research on conservation, water quality, climate change and other science-based topics. A colleague states, “When it comes to conservation, stewardship and building strong healthy communities, ILF and Water Rocks! lead the way by combining art, science, nature and communication to empower all Iowans to appreciate the beauty and potential of our state, by giving all of us the knowledge we need to make Iowa an even better place.”