Hagie Award Winner 2009: Rosie Partridge
“All Iowans should realize that their state is beautiful,” says Rosie Partridge. “It hurts me when they don’t.”
After purchasing a homestead near Breda, Rosie and her husband, D.G., embarked on a mission to protect that beauty. Her mission became one that – three decades later – helped her win the 2009 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award.
The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation presents the Hagie Heritage Award annually to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa’s natural environment while encouraging others to do the same.
Rosie was nominated for the award by Mike Delaney, president of the Raccoon River Watershed Association; Chris Bass, executive director of the Sac County Conservation Board; Hugh Espey, executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement; and her son, Todd Partridge.
Home and work
Rosie’s conservation efforts began on her family’s land. D.G. and their adult children, Todd and Liz, also support conservation. Another son, David, worked as a fisheries biologist and provided much support and inspiration, but passed away in 2007.
Over the years, Rosie and family have planted native trees and shrubs, restored a wetland and used sustainable farming methods. She worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create habitat for the Topeka shiner, a federally endangered fish.
The family purchased land in 2005 along the Raccoon River, on which they have planted native grasses in filter strips and are restoring an oak savanna. This work, Rosie said, is the most important.
“There was an immense amount of run-off going into the river from row-crop fields that are now planted entirely in native grasses,” she said.
Conservation also extends to the family business, Computer Transportation Services, Ltd. In 2008, the company moved into a new, eco-friendly headquarters, built under Rosie’s direction to be as environmentally responsible as possible.
Rosie continues to develop her own environmental education through classes at Des Moines Area Community College. Meanwhile, she teaches others through guided walks on her land. Partridge is also a conservation activist. Focusing on issues like water quality, she has met with contacts ranging from county supervisors to U.S. senators.
“It is important to reach out at a public level, but these are family projects, and I really feel it is most critical to involve the next generation.” Rosie said.
As this year’s Hagie Heritage Award recipient, Rosie received $1,000 from an endowment created by the Hagie children, and an acorn sculpture, carved and donated to INHFby Dennis and Linda Schlicht.
Always committed to the cause, she plans to use the award money to support the Sac County Conservation Center.