Clean water activities started at 4 p.m. and included several opportunites:
· a look at the importance of pollinators with Dickinson County Naturalist Charles Vigdal
· water quality information from the Iowa Environmental Council
· water samples holding invertebrates - environmental indicators of the degree of water quality
· interactive coloring station – both youngsters and adults enjoyed coloring and building their own “fish” hats.
During the annual Okoboji Protective Association’s (OPA) annual meeting, President Barry Sackett shared successes over the past year. Greg Drees announced the winner of the 10th annual Ace Cory Conservation Award, which honors an individual whose work in the Iowa Great Lakes area, voluntary or professional, and reflects the principles of the late Ace Cory, one of the region’s pioneer environmentalists. This year’s recipient was Steve Anderson District Supervisor of the Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District, who was recognized for his years of conservation leadership in the Iowa Great Lakes.
Keynote speaker, Joe McGovern, President of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF), reflected on the partners the INHF has worked with since its initial joint effort in 1979 and first completed project in 1985. Over the past 30 years, 62 projects have been realized right here in the Iowa Great Lakes area and Dickinson County.
He noted, “None of this would have happened without the efforts of so many individuals and groups in this area. These projects have all greatly benefited the Iowa Great Lakes.”
Big Blue Sky Band highlights day with Clean Water Concert
Led by Jon Stauvers, the Big Blue Sky Band took the stage and the audience listened to their message of love for life, nature and the great outdoors…on a mild August evening along the shores of West Lake Okoboji. Of course, the “special Iowa/Okoboji” song was well received. One of the highlights for OPA members was Jane Shuttleworth lending her musical talents by performing as a flutist with the Big Blue Sky Band.
Kicking off the evening, OPA President Barry Sackett and a group of youngsters with their OPA T-shirts took the stage to share the OPA mission to “improve and enhance the water quality and ecological health of Lake West Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes watershed.” Barry introduced Sawyer Miller, who was a third grader this past year at Okoboji Elementary School, and recognized him for his part in keeping Okoboji beaches clean: his personally constructed Beach Clean-up Box.
This was the first OPA event like this that my wife and I have attended. We enjoyed everything, especially experiencing the beauty of the afternoon/evening along the shores of West Lake Okoboji. We hope that more people in the community will come out for this event next year!