Northeast Iowa RC&D receives Sorp Award

Northeast Iowa RC&D was recently awarded the 2016 Project Excellence Award from the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals (SORP). The Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals is the leading association of outdoor recreation and related professionals who strive to protect our natural and cultural resources while providing sustainable recreation access.  Each year SORP hosts a large conference to bring together these recreation professionals from academia, local government, state agencies, and private business.At this conference, the organization also recognizes outstanding people and projects with awards. This year Northeast Iowa RC&D was one of only four organizations nationally, that was recognized for the Project Excellence Award. Jared Nielsen, the RC&D’s Senior Design Specialist and the project coordinator traveled to Boise, Idaho to receive the award.The award was given in recognition of a statewide project that was spearheaded by design staff and byway coordinators at Northeast Iowa RC&D. The recognized project entitled, “Conservation Interpretation Along Iowa’s Byways” selected conservation practices along the state designated scenic byways to highlight on interpretive kiosks. These kiosks were then installed on pull-offs, overlooks or parks along the scenic byways. In total, 25 of these kiosks were developed and installed across the state.The RC&D’s contribution to the project included much more than graphic design and kiosk development. While each byway board selected a conservation practice to highlight, the RC&D provided much of the content as well as high quality images and illustrations.  These conservation practices included wetland restoration, the introduction of pollinator habitat, the benefits of intensive grazing, and using prairie buffers to name a few.The RC&D worked in partnership with several different entities to complete the project including each byway’s coordinator and board of directors, local NRCS offices, community members, county conservation boards, individual communities, the Iowa League of RC&Ds, wildlife photographers and naturalist illustrators. “This was a great opportunity for us to have a far-reaching impact to really educate Iowans and visitors to the state about different practices along Iowa’s Byways – and it was neat to work collaboratively with so many different people and agencies.”If you would like more information on this project, please contact Northeast Iowa RC&D at 563-864-7112 or

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