New ISU Extension and Outreach Collaborative Provides Sustainability Resource for Iowans

Collaboration with Center on Sustainable Communities helps Iowans with green issues

July 13, 2016, 11:09 am | Sandra Oberbroeckling

AMES, Iowa - Question: What do you get when you combine the Center on Sustainable Communities and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach?

Answer: A trusted resource available to all Iowans for issues pertaining to green building, healthy living and all things sustainable.

In March 2016, COSC and ISU Extension and Outreach’s Community and Economic Development unit agreed to work together to provide resources and outreach on best practices in construction, planning and healthy living — and the Sustainability Collaborative was born.

Sustainability Presentation

“Iowa now has a partnership in place that will meet the needs of people who are looking for help in finding information and trainings on healthy, safe, energy-efficient and sustainable buildings and communities,” said Bill McAnally, home improvement expert and former carpentry instructor for Iowa Central Community College.

Founded in 2005, COSC has hosted more than 350 workshops, lectures, lunch seminars, open houses, community forums and hands-on sessions across Iowa on topics such as home water-management, home energy and reducing construction waste.

“We see so much potential in this partnership,” said Scott Timm, the CED field specialist who will spearhead the effort. "There are so many opportunities for collaboration with faculty and students, such fantastic expert experience with COSC and its partners, and so many communities that would benefit from workshops focused on the built environment.”

The ISU Extension and Outreach CED unit, consisting of on-campus faculty and statewide field specialists, empowers communities to shape their own futures through research, education, community engagement, economic development, and community planning and design. The CED program has a comprehensive background working with communities across the state, and often serves as a conduit for providing research and best practices from the university to Iowans.

“Partnering with ISU Extension and Outreach on the Sustainability Collaborative is an exciting new chapter for our organization,” said Lynnae Marty Hentzen, cofounder and former executive director of COSC. “We are thrilled about the expertise and direction that ISU Extension and Outreach can provide to deliver green-building and healthy-living programming to communities across Iowa.”

As a joint-institution board is formed to advise the new partnership, plans are already under way for four solar workshops with Pathfinders RC&D at the following locations: Fairfield (Aug. 20), Creston (Aug. 27), Perry (Sept. 10), and Tipton (Sept. 17). In addition, two bilingual building science and weatherization workshops in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity will be held in July and August.

“The ISU/COSC collaborative will have the expertise and delivery mechanism to go anywhere in Iowa and provide on-site, person-to-person workshops and trainings,” McAnally said. “The information provided comes from both research and extensive ‘in-the-field’ experience and aims at providing a positive, helpful experience for all.”

For more information about how to invite the Sustainability Collaborative to work in a community, contact Scott Timm at or 515-291-2560.

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