Disappointment and Hope
by Anita O'Gara, Vice President, Development and Communications
I've been blessed through INHF to know so many people who share my love for the bounty of Iowa – our fertile soil, our rivers and lakes, our birds and wildlife.
I know that many of those good people are hurting now as we ponder the governor's veto of $20 million that the legislature had approved for voluntary conservation programs and water quality initiatives.
We had hope. Now we have disappointment.
We know these funds are not luxuries. These funds go to the very basis of life and our quality of life as Iowans. Huge needs have been waiting for support, decade after decade. INHF commented on this in the media.
Personally, there are three things on my heart that I want to share with you who share my love of the land.
Gratitude. Please join me in thanking the legislators who listened and responded to the land's needs. I'm especially grateful for their vote of $25 million for REAP, the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program – my very favorite state program ever.
REAP touches every Iowan's life. It improves the parks and trails you enjoy, the water you drink, the soil conservation methods you see on crop fields. Through naturalists, museums and public land, it helps you pass on to your children and grandchildren the joy of nature and what it means to be an Iowan. I'm grateful to the legislators who tried to fund all this at an unprecedented level!
Impatient frustration. If not now, when?!? I get tired of seeing this important work treated as an “extra” on the funding menu. I'm not alone in this.
There was such energy in 2010, when Iowans had an opportunity to vote directly for conservation. People worked hard together for the dream of a permanent, steadily funded Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, and it was heartily approved. Today that trust fund is still empty—waiting for the legislature and governor to establish its funding source. It's time to do that.
We should all make sure our public officials and candidates know that we care deeply about this land we call Home. They need to know that we're impatient for stronger action.
Invitation to enjoy and hope. It's summer. The sun shines, the rains come, things grow. Let's not miss the refreshment that's offered to us! Let's notice how nature renews our spirits. Help others notice, too.
Some of us are regularly attuned to what needs to happen for Iowa to be a healthy place for our grandkids. We notice when water is not clean and soil is eroding to be gone forever.
We deserve to notice the successes and the hope, too! While state funding is a really big deal, it's not the only game in town.
- So many good people are caring for the land on their own.
- INHF is constantly saving and restoring great places in Iowa.
- So many conservation agencies and non-profits are ready to help you and your friends take action for the land.
Each of us can ease our disappointment and amplify our hope by doing just a little bit more, personally. Take an extra walk in nature. Give a little extra. Try a new volunteer venture.
Let's keep ourselves, and each other, revived and going strong in this important work. Disappointments come and go. Hope is always within reach, and hope keeps us strong.