Hagie Award Winner 2014: Carol Kramer
A resident of Jasper County will receive a statewide award for her commitment to conservation in her county and throughout Iowa for her work done above and beyond job requirements.
Carol Kramer is the recipient of the 2014 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award.
“Her work in conservation has gone beyond a desire for recognition. She truly has a passion for what she has done for the environment over the years,” said Joe McGovern, INHF President. “She taught elementary biology in Newton and, through that work, influenced many students on the importance of nature and how it impacts their lives. She has also been a member of the Jasper County Conservation Board since 1987 and served on the Iowa DNR Natural Resource Commission, among other conservation work.”
Kramer’s most public conservation contribution has been her work on the Jasper County Conservation Board. She served on the board since 1987 and has mentored many board members and employees, pushed for another naturalist to be on staff, helped with education programs and expanded the Jasper County Conservation Board’s outreach to over 20,000 people.
Kramer said that she draws much of her inspiration from her childhood. She grew up as a member of the Pillager Band of the Minnesota-based Ojibwa Tribe and was born and raised on the White Earth reservation.
“I have grown up always loving the Earth,” Kramer said. “Every summer my dad and I would spend our day working out in the woods. It inspired me to build a love for nature and build it for future generations to come.”
In the late ’60s Kramer moved from Minnesota to Newton where her husband was installed as priest of the local Episcopalian Church. She became an elementary school teacher at Berg Elementary in Newton. She taught her students conservation practices and provided learning experiences through field trips related to conservation measures. Carol taught at Berg Elementary for 30 years, impacting the lives of many students.
In 1987, Carol Kramer was appointed to the Jasper County Conservation Board, a position that she still holds today.
“I retired in 2005 (from the board), and I always knew the board was in good hands as long as Carol was there,” stated Dennis Black, State Senator. “Her demeanor is such that you learn without even realizing you are being taught. Her magic has been felt in the county for nearly three decades and at the state level for approximately one decade.”
Kramer was appointed to the Natural Resources Commission, the executive committee that oversees a segment of operations of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, by Governor Tom Vilsack in 1999. She held this position until 2009.
She has helped create many programs in Newton, most recently Project Awake, which funds and administrates the upkeep of Newton Arboretum and Botanical Center. She has been a board member there for 10 years and has helped bring in huge support for the yearly fundraiser, the Annual Arboretum Plant Sale. Kramer spent multiple hours planning the event and is a wonderful recruiter for volunteers.
“Retirement did not slow Carol down,” stated Katy Lee, Kramer’s daughter. “She continues many volunteer activities, including those focused on environmental conservation. In her spare time, she is an avid gardener. Playing in the dirt is one of her most treasured past times.”
Kramer was nominated for the Hagie Award by Senator Dennis Black, Katie Cantu, Linda Dalton, Fran Henderson, Kathryn K. Lee, Anne G.K. Yakle and Keri Van Zante. They have all worked with her in different ways and saw many different qualities that they felt were fitting for this award.