Eco-Day for Families Is Aug. 27 at Nashua

Connecting Families to the Environment ConferenceAMES, Iowa -- Research shows that children and adults who have a connection with nature are more able to adjust to stress and are more likely to take care of the environment. The Connecting Families to the Environment Conference will help families learn how to improve their physical, mental and financial health by looking at the environment around them. The conference is Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Borlaug Learning Center located at the Iowa State University Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm near Nashua.

“Families have fewer financial resources today and are seeking ways to live more simply and sustainably,” said Brenda Schmitt, a family finance specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

“Sustainable living encompasses all aspects of our lives,” added Kristi Cooper, an ISU Extension family life specialist. “Human health and environmental health are closely tied.”

The conference will help people explore attitudes and behaviors that can improve the environment and personal health, the ISU Extension specialists noted. School-age youth are invited to bring their parents, grandparents and other adults to participate in interactive learning experiences focused on various aspects of the human/environment eco-system.

The daylong event will start at 9 a.m. with a keynote address by Brenda Ranum, an ISU Extension regional director serving Northeast Iowa who is highly involved in the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Environmental experts who will present at the conference include Wayne Peterson, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Andrea Geary and Pat Higby, University of Northern Iowa Center for Energy and Environmental Education; Sue Cook, ISU Extension and Outreach; and Mary Crooks, an ecological designer. Floyd and Chickasaw County Conservation naturalists Laura Elfers and Brian Moore will share hands-on activities for families. The agenda also includes Alan Powell, of Jendro in Charles City, and a chance for families to discover their current ecological footprint.

Participants will attend sessions addressing themes of nature, food, water and energy. They also will experience a local foods lunch, take home a Family Eco-living Starter Kit and harvest produce from the research farm.

Pre-register online at The cost is $8 per person, payable at the door, and includes lunch, materials and the Family Eco-living Starter Kit.

The Borlaug Learning Center is west of Nashua. From Highway 218 take Exit 220; then go west one mile on B60. Turn south on Windfall Avenue one mile. At the T intersection, turn east on 290th Street approximately 1/4 mile.

For more information, contact Brenda Schmitt at 641-512-0650 or at