Hundreds of volunteer state environmentalists meet in Des Moines today for their annual state conference. Matt Edwards, volunteer coordinator at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the two-day meeting is a chance for the volunteers to celebrate, network and learn about other things going on around the state. The conference gathers members of the Iowa D-N-R “Keepers of the Land” volunteer program and the “Iowater” volunteer water quality monitoring program, along with other volunteers who help with prairie restoration, urban forestry projects and campground hosts. Edwards says he’s looking forward to one speaker later today — a hero to many Midwestern environmentalists.Chad Pegracke organized a nationally-known cleanup initiative on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Edwards says there’s a special presentation planned for Saturday’s session.They’re highlighting the Civilian Conservation Corps oral history program which documents the life histories of members of Iowa’s C-C-C who essentially built Iowa’s parks system in the 1930s and ’40s. Of the 115 members interviewed so far, 35 will be at the conference. A 15-minute video will be shown as part of the oral history program. The conference is underway through Saturday at the Holiday Inn/Airport in Des Moines.
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