Jones County Conservation award-winners are announced

Friends of Jones County Conservation and Nature Center received a Friends of Conservation Award. From left are Gay Fuhrmeister, Amanda Bieber, Derith Vogt, Larry Pisarik (JCCB), Joyce Finn Dirks and Brad Mormann (JCCB director). (Photo courtesy of Michele Olson)

Retired Anamosa High School teacher Mary Sue Vernon (with plaque, left) and Jones County Naturalist Michele Olson (with plaque, right) received Friends of Conservation Awards. Posing with them are JCCB members (from left) Dean Zimmerman, Rob Roman, Brad Mormann (director), Larry Pisarik and Dave Tabor. (Photo courtesy of Gay Fuhrmeister)

The Izaak Walton League – Anamosa Chapter received a Friends of Jones County Conservation Award from JCCB director Brad Mormann (center). Representing the league are Mike Deutmeyer (left) and Pat Deutmeyer. (Photo courtesy of Michele Olson)

     Award recipients for the 2017 Jones County Conservation Awards were announced during the Jones County Conservation Board meeting on Monday, Nov. 13 at Central Park.  Award recipients were:

     • Anamosa Chapter of the Izaak Walton League: Monetary donation toward the Central Park Lake Renovation Project and continued support of conservation activities and events in Jones County, including youth outdoor skills days, shooting sports events, river clean-ups, and hunter education classes, and for assistance with land acquisitions and conservation projects throughout the county.

     • Friends of Jones County Conservation and Nature Center: Exceptional support and fundraising efforts include a $25,000 Jones County Community Foundation grant and $1,000 fundraising auction for the new handicap accessible fishing pier access at Central Park.

     The group also received an Iowa Ornithologists Union grant and private donations to acquire “Nature Explorer Backpacks” on birding, geology, geocaching, and backyard insects.

     And, it began the “Keith Dirks Memorial Scholarship” fund to be awarded annually to several students continuing their education in natural resources fields. Assistance and support for Jones County Environmental Education programs and events including annual open house events at the Central Park Nature Center and sponsoring the new Jones County Youth Conservation Crew program.

     • Mary Sue Vernon:  Retired Anamosa High School Science Teacher. Mary Sue supported Jones County Conservation and the environmental education program through years of active participation in citizen science activities and programs with her students.

     Activities included annual IOWATER sampling at Wapsipinicon State Park and participation in the Great Backyard Bird Count at Wapsipinicon State Park and most recently at Central Park. Mary Sue continually strove to introduce her students to new educational opportunities involving natural resources in the local community in the hopes of sparking an appreciation and respect for the environment.

     • Michele Olson: Michele was recognized for serving 20 years as the Jones County Naturalist. Michele is an integral part of the Jones County Conservation Department serving as a public face to conservation through her columns in local newspapers, county conservation board newsletters, press releases, Facebook postings, public and school programs, and at the Central Park Nature Center.

     Reaching over 6,000 participants annually through her environmental education programs and events, Michele continually strives to make a difference in our community.     



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