Last fall, the Iowa Environmental Council’s board of directors chose Margi Weiss its president. Weiss, who begins a two year term, brings a wealth of experience working as a consultant to nonprofit organizations specializing in development, marketing and communication, advocacy and project management. She wrote this letter to greet the Council’s supporters:
Members and friends of the Iowa Environmental Council—
The idea of conservation—of good stewardship—for Iowa’s land is close to my heart. This year, as I begin to serve as president of the Council’s board, I remember the farm where I grew up in rural South Dakota. I learned early in life to appreciate the many gifts the natural world gives to us—including the ability my family had to earn a living. In turn, we knew we were responsible for protecting the land and keeping it healthy.
Throughout 2012, the Iowa Environmental Council will provide many opportunities for you to share your own passion for our unique landscape and its future. The Council is fortunate to have your support as we continue to realize our vision of “an Iowa where waters run clean, soil stays on the land, the air is clear, flora and fauna are diverse, and people are proud to call home.”
Keeping Iowa’s water clean has been a central priority for the Council throughout its history. This year, we will focus considerable attention on runoff from cropland and livestock operations in the state, which is a major source of water quality impairments in our streams, rivers and lakes. No quick fixes are available for this issue—each farm has unique needs, and we must listen very closely to farmers’ ideas for making positive progress. The Council will continue to engage farmers, state government representatives, and other conservation and agriculture organizations to develop strategies that will achieve real results. And we will recognize that all Iowans, urban and rural, have a role to play in keeping our water clean.
The Council will also continue its efforts to build a renewable energy future for Iowa. We expect Iowa’s utilities to meet their commitments for enhanced energy efficiency, and we will support a range of policies to increase the use of renewable energy supplies in the state. Transitioning Iowa to renewable energy sources is beneficial to the state in many ways—including providing jobs and economic development opportunities in the renewable energy industry and achieving reductions in harmful air pollution from the state’s current overdependence on aging coal plants.
Further, the Council is committed to realizing the vision of 63% of Iowans who agreed in 2010 to create a permanent, constitutionally protected source of conservation funding in our state through the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Until funding for this new trust fund is in place, Iowa can take a number of steps to adequately fund conservation efforts, and the Council will make that point in collaboration with other organizations.
As you can see, we have much to do! As the new year begins and the legislative session approaches, I’m grateful to be able to depend on you, our supporters, for your strength of will, clarity of vision, and readiness to act in defense of Iowa’s environment.
President, Board of Directors
Iowa Environmental Council
Linda Kinman, who served as president from 2007-2011, will remain on the board in the role of immediate past president. The board and staff are greatful to Kinman for her leadership during her term and look forward to her continued participation on the board.