The Fate of Cedar Rapids’ Trees Featured in National Geographic Article


Via Flickr

Nicole Welle | December 14, 2020

Cedar Rapids residents were devastated after the August derecho swept through and destroyed most of the city’s trees. But in the months following the disaster, their efforts to replant smarter and ensure that the city’s trees will return for future generations has captured national interest and become the topic of news stories across the country.

Freelance journalist Dustin Renwick took interest in the fate of Cedar Rapids’ trees shortly after the derecho hit and chose to write an article for National Geographic. In it, he highlighted personal stories from community members and local arborists and discussed both the role urban trees played in the community and how the city will replant to ensure the resiliency of its trees in the future.

Click here to read Renwick’s National Geographic article and learn more about Cedar Rapids’ fight to restore its urban forest.

ISU professor testing sustainable agricultural practices


Nick Fetty | June 14, 2014

Corn field in Black Hawk County, Iowa. Photo via PARSHOTAM LAL TANDON; Flickr
Corn field in Black Hawk County, Iowa.
Photo via PARSHOTAM LAL TANDON; Flickr

Iowa State University agronomy professor Matthew Liebman has been experimenting with crop rotation as a means of reducing waterway-polluting fertilizer usage, according to a recent article in National Geographic.

Liebman used a three- and four-crop rotation – consisting mostly of corn, soy, oats, and alfalfa – across 22 acres. The study concluded that crop rotation not only reduced nitrogen levels – a byproduct of fertilizers that pollute waterways – but also produced higher corn yields. These pollutants contribute to contamination in the Mississippi River which has lead to a virtual organic “dead zone” where the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

Iowa’s Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers has seen record high nitrate levels in recent years. Iowa corn farmers produced 2.2 billion bushels across 13.1 million acres in 2013 which is expected to rise to 2.4 billion bushels across 13.6 million acres.

Environmental winter clothing options


Young cyclist wearing REI winter gear. Photo by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

Looking for new winter clothing? Consider some green options.

Many companies, including manufacturers of winter clothing, are now utilizing many environmental practices.

The Iowa State Daily reports that in addition to donating a portion of their sale’s revenue to environmental organizations and research, Patagonia is increasingly using recycled materials for their clothing. To date, Patagonia has made 34 tons of clothing from recycled material.

Other winter clothing companies such as REI and the Mountain Equipment Co-Op also show a firm commitment to the environment. REI hopes to become climate neutral by 2020, and the Mountain Equipment Co-Op uses recycled and organic material in most of their apparel.

For those into Do-It-Yourself projects, National Geographic offers tips for creating your own recycled clothing.

Reusable bag use on the rise


Photo by MD Anderson's Focuse on Health, Flickr

Iowans are using reusable bags more than ever before, but some U.S. cities are showing Iowa that there’s room for considerable improvement. The Press-Citizen reported yesterday that, based on non-quantified information, more people in our state more people bring reusable bags to grocery stores than ever before. Additionally, some grocers are creating incentives to encourage customers to bring these reusable bags: Continue reading