Iowa Army National Guard recruits clean up state park

Photo by The National Guard, Flickr.
Photo by The National Guard, Flickr.

Polk City’s Big Creek State Park will receive some help from Iowa Army National Guard recruits.

On April 28th, more than 100 recruits will help pick up trash and debris around Big Creek.

Last year, 120 recruits pulled invasive species around Big Creek and resurfaced a trail at Ledges State Park.

Read more here.

Progress report of UI’s 2020 vision


The Little Village has published a “progress report” of the University of Iowa’s 2020 vision.

The 2020 vision refers to a set of sustainability goals adopted by the university in 2010 that they hope to complete by the end of 2020.

The progress report covers the vision’s seven general goals: achieve net-negative energy growth; green the energy portfolio; decrease the production of waste; reduce the carbon impact of transportation; increase student opportunities to learn and practice principles of sustainability; support and grow interdisciplinary research in sustainability-focused areas; and develop partnerships to advance collaborative initiative, both academic and professional.

Read the progress report here.

Iowa City businesses help the environment through composting

Photo by Plan for Opportunity, Flickr.
Photo by Plan for Opportunity, Flickr.

Some Iowa City businesses are composting to reduce their impact on the environment.

The Bluebird Diner, New Pioneer Co-op and four Iowa City-area Hy-Vee stores all have composting programs.

Composting helps the environment by producing healthier soil and by keeping food waste out of landfills. As food decomposes in landfills, it releases the greenhouse gas methane.

Read more about the environmental efforts of Iowa City businesses here.

The Iowa Flood Center offers tools to track local flood conditions


With the abundant rain in Iowa over the past couple of weeks, it’s important to remember that the Iowa Flood Center offers tools for tracking flood conditions.

Make sure to check out the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). This online tool allows you to track rainfall and stream levels across Iowa.

UI and ISU participate in EPA’s College and University Green Power Challenge

Photo by Photo Mojo Mike, Flickr.


The University of Iowa and Iowa State University participated in the EPA’s 2012-2013 College and University Green Power Challenge.

This challenge compared the green power usage of the collegiate athletic conferences. The Big Ten Conference and the Big 12 Conference finished first and second. The University of Iowa contributed 9,842,480 kWh of Green Power, while Iowa State University contributed 17,964,3300 kWh.

Check out the rest of the results here.

Ecolotree helps clean our environment

Poplar trees
Poplar trees

Lou Licht, who received his PhD in the University of Iowa’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is using poplar trees to clean polluted water.

Licht started the Iowa-based company Ecolotree. This company installs forests of poplar trees near sites that leak pollutants. Through a process called phytoremediation, the roots of the poplar trees help filter some of the harmful pollutants, and keep them from contaminating the water and soil.

Ecolotree has worked with 110 sites in the U.S. and one in Europe.

Learn more about Licht and his company here.

ISU’s BioBus Club continues to create sustainable fuel

CyRide. Photo by Manop, Flickr.
CyRide. Photo by Manop, Flickr.

Iowa State University’s BioBus Club has now been around for three years.

This student initiative takes waste vegetable oil from the campus dining facilities and converts it into biodiesel fuel. The fuel is used on Ames’ CyRide buses.

The recycled fuel significantly reduces the harmful emissions released by the buses.

The BioBus Club consists of students, faculty and community members from many disciplines.

Learn more here.