Since I am currently living in Iowa, I have found the state has less public open space than I am used to after living in California. That said, there is a lot of conservation going on and a lot of spaces that are amazing. Major issues I see here are water quality, which is not good, and restoring prairie and natural habitat and wildlife. Also, energy. While Iowa is a huge user of coal, it also has 20% of it’s energy from wind (and growing). Making the switch to cut coal use and move to clean energy is happening, but slowly.

I am including a list, which is definitely not inclusive of everything that is going on, but a good start. If you know of an Iowan conservation group that deserves mentioning, please let me know!

For those of you living in other states, understand if a small state like Iowa has this riches of conservation groups, yours does too!

Iowa Environmental Council

Leading the way to create a safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa.

Through advocacy, education and coalition-building, we create large-scale change that makes Iowa a better place to live, work, explore and enjoy.

From clean water and land stewardship, clean energy and climate change issues, the IEC seems to be a well rounded and pretty well funded organization. Approximately 14% of their income goes to salaries which leaves 86% for programs and events like Environmental Lobby Day, where 250 people went to speak to legislators (this is co-sponsored by IEC and Iowa REAP Alliance.

The Iowa Environmental Council does a lot of lobbying and activism, and has fact sheets for individuals who want to bone up on what is going on and the major issues.

Iowa Conservation Coalition (ICEC)

The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC) is a non-profit organization with a long-standing tradition of providing professional development to formal and non-formal educators in conservation and environmental education.  ICEC is the unifying voice for conservation and environmental education in Iowa. Individuals, organizations, and agencies interested in promoting conservation and environmental education in Iowa are key players in the success of ICEC.

ICEC focuses on connecting and encouraging conservation education and educators and advocating the benefits of preserving water, land and wildlife and helping get people outdoors for health and connection to land.

Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club

Having a national organization is a definite advantage in information, lobbying and name recognition. The Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club claims about 5000 members, which is big for a state this size.

Local focuses include clean water, clean air and renewable energy, along with specific projects like stop the Bakken Pipeline, the 4″ Topsoil rule, sustainable agriculture and a lot more.

They have a lot more information on lobbying at a local and at a national level ( they are lobbying against Scott Pruitt to run the EPA which makes sense as he is a climate denier).

Environment Iowa and Environment Iowa Research and Policy Center

Environment Iowa is a citizen-based environmental advocacy organization and a project of Environment America. We believe there’s something special about Iowa — something worth protecting and preserving for future generations. Whether it’s the shimmering grassland prairies of the Loess Hills, or the majestic limestone formations of the Maquoketa Caves, Iowa’s natural wonders enrich our lives in countless ways.

Environment Iowa is connected to Environment America, which is new to me (sorry).

Issues locally are bees, clean water, clean energy, global warming, monarch butterflies and, less locally, saving the Grand Canyon from more uranium mining. With information, lobbying, and more,the two organizations provide resources and options for doing something.

Environmental Advocates

Based in Eastern Iowa (in Iowa City to be exact), their mission is to link and support efforts of individuals and environmental groups in Johnson County, Iowa. Issues include Sand Prairie Preservation, Bees, Bikes, Native plants, and more.

  • EA has helpled launch various non-profit organizations in the area including: IC Bike Library, Backyard Abundance, Think Bicycles, and Friends of Hickory Hill.
  • We are a regular sponsor for Project Aware.
  • EA consistently hosts speakers coming to Eastern Iowa and Johnson County.
  • We annually sponsor and participate in Prairie Preview, in addition to candidate forums in local elections.
  • Each year, EA provides small grants to local environmental projects.

Iowa Association of Naturalists

The Iowa Association of Naturalists (IAN) is a professional organization that promotes the development of skills and education within the art of interpreting the natural and cultural environments. This non-profit group was founded in 1978 and now sustains nearly 150 members across the state.

Most IAN members are actively involved as professionals and volunteers in interpreting the natural and cultural resources of Iowa.

Iowa Prairie Network

The Iowa Prairie Network is a grass-roots, volunteer, organization that is dedicated to the preservation of Iowa’s prairie heritage. IPN was formed in 1990 by Iowans concerned that our prairie heritage was disappearing. People needed an organization that would bring those who know about prairie together with those who wanted to learn, to form a network of advocacy for Iowa’s natural heritage.

Audubon Societies – plural!

Iowa Audubon – the statewide chapter
Loess Hills Audubon Society – a western Iowa chapter (and a remarkable place!)

Nature Conservancy of Iowa

Another national organization with a local chapter in Iowa giving them greater resources in at least information and name recognition.
Since 1963 The Nature Conservancy in Iowa has worked to preserve our state’s natural landscapes through the advancement of land and water conservation. We have project managers across the state who know and work within their own communities to protect and conserve private lands and work with agricultural producers and companies on best management practices. We value a scientific, systematic approach to conservation that incorporates long-term strategic planning.

Iowa Native Plant Society

The Iowa Native Plant Society is a forum for plant enthusiasts, gardeners, and professional botanists to exchange ideas and information, and to work together to:

  • encourage conservation and ethical use of Iowa’s plants
  • promote education about Iowa’s plants, their habitats and cultural habits, and the preservation of these plants and their environment
  • appreciate and enjoy Iowa’s native flora


Iowa Center of Sustainable Communities (iCOSC)

In their words: Iowa’s Trusted Educational Resource for Green Building and Healthy Living. With information resources, speakers and, for those of us with old houses, a break down by construction era on how to make our homes more efficient.

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