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Iowater: Thirsty for Volunteers

This April, make a commitment to water conservation. Iowater, Grinnell College’s water management club, dedicated to water quality and conservation awareness, will be hosting a variety of water quality projects this month. The campus group will be collaborating with Imagine Grinnell, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Grinnell, and Grinnell’s Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP).

On Saturday, April 12, the student-run club will be hosting cleanup events to remove trash that has built up around Little Bear Creek and Arbor Lake. This event will be hosted in collaboration with Imagine Grinnell and the Poweshiek Soil and Water Conservation District. Sarah Smith, Executive Director of Imagine Grinnell, believes that a dedication to preserving the beauty of Little Bear Creek is essential, and the upcoming event is a step in the right direction.

“The trash is really terrible. We found an entire house down there: sleeping bags, plates, utensils, plastic bottles, a lawn mower and kid’s riding toys. We made a pledge as a board that we would help improve the water quality in that area through cleanups every year,” Smith said. “We want to make people aware that we need to start focusing on getting water back into our water table.”

Later on in the day, the group will be conducting an Arbor Lake cleanup in collaboration with GORP. GORP will be providing canoes at the event, and volunteers will have the opportunity to canoe down the lake as they pick up trash.

On Saturday, April 19 and 26, Iowater will be hosting a Little Bear Creek Storm Drain Labeling Event. In a campaign to improve the quality of water around Grinnell’s natural bodies of water, Iowater volunteers at this event will be labeling storm drains. According to Tayler Chicoine ’14, student leader of Iowater’s Grinnell chapter, labeling storm drains can help limit littering, excess fertilizer use, dumping and other practices contributing to pollution in Grinnell’s local bodies of water.

On Tuesday, April 29, Iowater, as a part of the Student Environmental Committee’s film series, will be screening the movie “Tapped,” a film detailing the environmental problems associated with the water bottle industry.

Students involved with Iowater can also receive training to be certified as a water monitor through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. As a water monitor, students measure the mineral and chemical content of Grinnell’s water bodies. The data they collect goes into a national database used in stream restoration projects.

“A lot our research on these smaller streams leads to improvements,” said Rebecca Wong ’17, a trained Iowater volunteer.

In order to encourage students to get involved in the organization, Iowater plans on starting an educational campaign about water conservation for the community. Members will go door-to-door, placing door hangers informing the community about the initiatives the club is advocating.

“That’s how Iowater is different from other sorts of student groups, [because we want to] bridge that community gap,” Chicoine said.

Chicoine has also recently been recognized as a Newman Civil Fellow because of her work with Iowater. The award recognizes student leaders who are working to find solutions for challenges facing communities in the U.S. As one of 196 students in the nation to receive this distinction, she believes that the award will help the public image of Iowater in the community.

“It recognizes that we are really trying to be a community outlet and that we’re not just a student organization on campus … We are really trying to interact with the community,” Chicoine said.

Regarding future endeavors, Iowater plans to continue to sustain itself through collaboration with various local organizations, according to Chicoine. Iowater will also be meeting with Iowa State’s Soil and Water Conservation student group to talk about future collaborative projects and plans.

Anyone interested in getting involved in any of Iowater’s upcoming events may sign up by going to the following link:

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  • K

    Keith winburnApr 21, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Hey, i’m keith winburn i was at little bear creek cleanup im the one who carried the rusted wheel barrel back to the pile? I have a twin brother Wyatt my dad’s name is Aaron Winburn