Chatting about river ecology, restoration, and policy

Labor Day weekend is just around the corner… planning to spend any time out on one of Iowa’s rivers?  The latest episode of the Conservation Chat podcast features an interview with Molly Hanson, Executive Director of the nonprofit river advocacy group Iowa Rivers Revival.

Listening to this podcast, you will quickly hear how Hanson’s energy and enthusiasm runneth over – she is extremely passionate about the environment, ecology, and education … oh, and turtles, too!

ConservationChat-Hanson(angle)Iowa Rivers Revival is a statewide advocacy group, working to restore Iowa’s river ecosystems to a healthier state of functioning. That may be through streambank stabilization work, in-stream work, and/or dam modification/mitigation. River restoration also involves working with citizens across the state – talking with farmers and landowners about in-field conservation practices, and working with urban residents to build awareness of issues like stormwater.

“Rivers are conveyor belts of water and soil – that’s what they are, and they’re constantly moving both of those things.”

Hanson comes to IRR from the naturalist/county conservation world, and it’s clear that education also continues to be a passion of hers.

“The education, especially of kids, is such a key piece. They’ve gotta get out there and see it for themselves and have their ‘aha’ moment … then they’re way more likely to care and to take care of it. Science teachers, mentors, family, grandparents: we’ve got to get kids outside!”

So I mentioned turtles earlier …  One of Hanson’s other projects has involved working with IRR and other conservation groups to push for new legislation to protect four different species of aquatic turtles (snappers, spiny softshell, smooth softshell, and painted turtles).  Many of these turtles are being commercially harvested and sent overseas, with no protected seasons or catch limits in our state. Hanson helped to champion a bill that will put regulations in place to help protect these species – every species has an important role to play in terms of biodiversity and overall ecosystem health!

Tune in to Episode 23 of the Conservation Chat to hear more of this engaging conversation with Molly Hanson! Download or play this podcast and others at

Ann Staudt

Want to be a facilitator for the Master River Stewards Program?

Master River Stewards ProgramIowa Rivers Revival (IRR), a non-profit statewide river advocacy and education organization, is looking for a few dynamic river-loving facilitators for their Master River Stewards Program (MRSP). If you and/or your organization or agency are interested in teaming with IRR to provide MRSP workshops to adults in your area, consider applying to attend the MRSP Train the Facilitator training on March 30 and 31, 2016, at the Fire Station in Webster City.

About the Program

The Master River Stewards Program is an adult education program created and piloted by IRR with funding from a REAP-CEP grant and other donors.

MRSP brings 32 hours of instruction to Iowans on:

  • Watersheds,
  • River and stream dynamics,
  • River and riparian habitats and wildlife,
  • River paddling and navigation,
  • River chemistry and water monitoring,
  • River and stream restoration and stewardship, and
  • Policies related to protecting river and stream water quality.

Additional coursework includes group projects conducted by participants and a follow-up project-reporting meeting.

The aim of MRSP is to engage and educate Iowans about a broad range of river issues, and to create a citizenry that is knowledgeable and will advocate for Iowa rivers so that current and future generations can enjoy these important natural resources.

Should you be accepted, IRR will provide:

  • Facilitator training
  • All written materials for the course (books and thumb drives)
  • Evaluations, reporting forms, and other course templates
  • MRSP certificates and patches for participants
  • MRSP mentoring and course follow-up by IRR

MRSP facilitator applicants must:

  • Have an in-depth understanding of one or more aspects of the curriculum,
  • Be well-organized and have experience in educating and communicating with adults, and
  • Have the ability to serve as a positive listener and catalyst in discussion of issues related to rivers and streams.


How to apply

IRR will accept up to 20 people for this facilitator training. To apply, send the following information by January 16, 2015 to Roz Lehman, IRR Executive Director, P.O. Box 72, Des Moines, IA 50301 (or via email at Applications may not exceed 4 pages in length.

Please include all of the following:

  • Name, complete address, phone, email
  • Organization/Agency represented (if applicable)
  • County and watershed
  • Why do you want to be an MRSP facilitator?
  • What is your experience in working with adults?
  • What is your knowledge and training (including any degrees) in one or more of the MRSP curriculum areas?
  • Please give an example of an event or course you have helped organize.
  • What can you and your organization or agency bring to the MRSP?

Those accepted for this training must be willing to commit to:

  • Offering 2 MRSP workshops over the next 3 years utilizing IRR’s course materials and curriculum
  • Report regularly to the IRR MRSP Coordinator, including photos, evaluation summaries, and project reports from each MRSP offering; and
  • A fee of $50 per participant to IRR to cover course books, thumb-drives with course materials, and other program-related costs.


About Iowa Rivers Revival

Iowa Rivers Revival is a non-profit statewide leader in river education and advocacy and is committed to protecting some our most precious natural resources — our rivers and streams. IRR works to engage individuals, organizations, communities, and government leaders in river awareness, responsibility, and enjoyment in an effort to improve and enhance the condition of Iowa waterways — ensuring a quality, safe, and lasting resource for future generations. For more information, go to

Iowa Rivers Revival, P.O. Box 72, Des Moines, Iowa 50301 • (515) 724-4093


Liz Juchems