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Environmental education extends beyond the classroom
by DJ Kauffman Correspondent · October 26th, 2017

Smelling a primrose is usually pleasant, except when planted beside a toxic river's brim. And drinking from the noxious waters can make a thirsty man's stomach sink.

Thanks to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)'s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program, the state's natural and cultural resources are being enhanced and protected. REAP's overall goal is to "improve the quality of life in Iowa and ensure a legacy for future generations." []

On October 12, an Iowa REAP regional assembly was held at the Trueblood Pavilion in Iowa City. Linn County Conservation Board Member and Linn-Mar teacher Dr. John Lawrence Hanson, Ed.D, who took eight high school students to the event, said the educational experience gave the students an "opportunity to participate in grassroots democracy, learn about career possibilities in conservation, and network."

The following LMHS students were in attendance: Chase Brisel, Colton Cloyd, Mollie Coffin, Lara Gavin, Tyler Hungate, Jacob Leuenberger, Dylan Talor, and Grace Wenisch. A 2014 L-M graduate (Mandy Gavin), now a University of Iowa engineering student, joined them.

Hanson said after attendees heard a presentation about REAP's history, they formed interest session groups, where matters relating to key spending areas of REAP were discussed. Gavin later presented her group's discussion to the assembly.

A key function of regional assemblies, is "to elect delegates to represent each county at the REAP Delegate Assembly 6 in January at the Iowa State Capital," Hanson said. "The delegates sit in the legislative chamber and use the voting system to pass resolutions regarding conservation in the state of Iowa."

During the regional assembly, Gavin and Brisel were two of the three people who represented Linn County, Hanson said. Gavin, a junior, was elected delegate for Linn County.

After the REAP Delegates Assembly is the REAP Congress. Five delegates are elected at each of the 18 assemblies to serve on the statewide Congress, which makes for a membership of 85 people. Responsibilities of the congress are to organize, discuss, and make recommendations to the governor, state legislature, and state agencies. The Congress will use the suggestions made at the 18 assemblies to help form its recommendations.

According to the DNR website, the City of Marion received $150,000 for Waldo's Rock Park Development Project located off of 62nd Street past Highway 13.

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