Grinnell College’s alternative spring break options help the environment


Grinnell College campus. Photo by Amy Nicole, Flickr

During their spring break, a number of Grinnell College students will volunteer their time to help the environment. Some of the students will head to Cedar Rapids to aid flood relief efforts. These efforts include construction and painting in flood recovery areas.

Other students will stay in Grinnell to help sustainable farming efforts. These students will volunteer at Barney Bahrenfuse’s farm and the Grinnell Sustainable Agriculture Project farm.

Bahrenfuse’s farm is “beyond organic”. He avoids chemicals and antibiotics, and his animals are given ample room to roam.

Some of the food produced at the Grinnell Sustainable Agriculture Project farm will be served in Grinnell’s dining hall.

For more information on alternative spring break options, read The Gazette’s article here.

Rebuild Iowa Office to close its doors this summer


The Rebuild Iowa Office, which was established in 2008 to help Iowans recover from flood damage, will close for good on June 30, 2011.

Iowa House and Senate Rebuild Iowa committees already met for the last time in 2010, and are now a part of each house’s Economic Growth Committee.

The downsizing of available government support for future flood prevention across the state is causing some to worry about the areas still suffering across the state.  The Quad-City Times reported on the new approaches to recovery earlier this month.

A little well-timed rain and high water might not be all bad when it comes to convincing the Iowa Legislature to maintain its commitment to disaster preparedness and recovery.

“Memories begin to fade” after a disaster, such as the historic flooding of 2008, said Susan Judkins, a legislative lobbyist for the Rebuild Iowa Office. “I can tell you in 2010, the fact that bad weather and flooding started happening while the legislature was in session probably helped get some things passed.”

Judkins isn’t wishing for more floods or other natural disasters. Instead, she is hoping members of the 2011 General Assembly keep in mind there are presidential disaster declarations open in all 99 Iowa counties. Continue reading