Monday, May 05, 2008

GO Iowa! - The G-reat O-utdoors of Iowa

May 5, 2008, 7:30 a.m.

GO Iowa! If you have any interest at all in clean water, conservation, or the G-reat O-utdoors of Iowa generally, you'll probably enjoy getting to know the Web site GO Iowa! --

GO Iowa! is not a new organization, it doesn't hold meetings, doesn't ask for money, and doesn't have advertising.

It has two purposes. First and foremost, it's simply a resource for those involved in Iowa's outdoors, its land, water and natural quality of life. It lists the organizations that could be helping each other in these pursuits. It references the media coverage of relevant issues. It posts a calendar of forthcoming events -- when known. And it provides useful textual information and links about the greenbelt movement.

Second, the number and range of its listed organizations -- roughly 120 -- and news stories -- roughly 70 during the three months from February through April -- make a point in very dramatic fashion.

The "Resources" (organizations) Web page on the GO Iowa! site groups the 120 links by such categories as Land Trusts, Conservation Organizations, Outdoor Recreation Associations, Hunting and Fishing Organizations, Agricultural Organizations, Policy and Political Organizations, University Departments and Organizations, "Smart Growth" Organizations -- plus, of course, relevant Government Organizations and "Links to General Information Regarding Greenbelts."

These are odd bedfellows in some respects. For example, some are interested in just watching birds, or creating wildlife refuges; others want to hunt and fish. But all know that without woodlands and prairies no one will be satisfied. All know that wetlands, trees and the right vegetation can filter carbon from the air, and pollution from reaching our rivers. All know the value of outdoor recreation for our souls as well as our bodies. All see the need for the "commons" represented by public lands and parks -- and recognize the urgency of improving Iowa's rank near the bottom of all the states.

If you've ever done anything in politics you'll immediately recognize that this is a potential coalition the likes of which has seldom existed. Not only does it involve large numbers of individuals, the diversity is as broad as America itself: young and old, rich and poor, Mayflower descendants and recent immigrants, Democrats and Republicans, atheists and fundamentalists, Ph.D.s and high school dropouts, backpackers and RV drivers.

This is an assemblage of people for newspapers to recognize as actual and potential readers -- as The Gazette does (four or five stories from its May 4th paper are referenced in the GO Iowa! Web site's "Media" section).

The Web site is an obvious resource for those promoting the proposed $20 million bond issue in Johnson County, Iowa for the acquisition of more conservation land (the group is called, "Our Land, Our Water, Our Future").

It's something for developers to welcome -- as land values increase along nature preserves.

It's relevant for those pushing Iowa's economic development -- a major factor in attracting new businesses and the professionals to staff them that Richard Florida identifies as the creative classes.

Oh, and not incidentally, we're going to have to do it anyway to preserve our water, land, and life on Planet Earth.

Take a look at GO Iowa! If your organization isn't listed, its forthcoming events aren't noted, or a story about your group has been left out just let me know -- we'll add it.

# # #

No comments: